Categorised | Family, Money

The Ultimate Guide to a Great Family Finance Discussion

They say you should never talk about money, don’t they?  But we do have to sometimes – it makes the world go round, after all… Now, we’re not suggesting you discuss it with everyone – don’t worry!  Just that’s it’s important between close family and loved ones.

How open is your family about money?

Perhaps your family talks really openly about it already – and it’s not an issue anyone feels shy about.  But it seems then you’d be very much in the minority, because research shows most would even prefer to discuss death.

Which is scary…

Why are we so reluctant to discuss our finances?

Well, for many people money is a source of real stress. And it can even lead to mental health crises if you leave the situation unchecked.  The mortgage, bills, rent and those essential house repairs, the list just goes on doesn’t it?  Not to mention the shock of any sudden pressures – it can feel almost impossible to get on top of your finances.

You’d think people would immediately turn to their family in these situations – but it seems that too often silence prevails. 

And when it comes to savings, the situation’s not much better.  Wells Fargo found 71% of adults surveyed learned the importance of saving from their own parents. But only a third (36%) of today’s parents discuss the importance of saving money with their children frequently.  And 64% say they do this less than weekly or never.

So how do you start the ‘m word’ discussion – if it’s not something that’s natural for you or your family?

Make it an everyday conversation

Too many people only raise the conversation when there’s a crisis – so try to start incorporating it into everyday conversations. In that way, the minute money comes up everyone won’t descend into panic.  Or start to clam up – and feel attacked or defensive.

After all, when a person says “we need to talk…” the odds are it won’t be a pleasant experience for at least one of you. 

You don’t have to go into details or suddenly produce your bank statement at breakfast – just bring up a few tips, or experiences to begin with.

If the first time your family talks about money is when an estate needs to be divided – you’re doing it wrong. Start small: savings, investments, monthly budgets, advice you got from your parents or trusted advisors — and work up to bigger conversations once everyone’s on board.

Find the right place

When it’s time for a bigger discussion about money and estate planning, where you meet can dictate how well it will go.  So why not try to find a neutral location – which will make everyone comfortable to begin with.

Keep calm and carry on

And body language is very important around your family because they often know you the best (and worst).  So take some deep breaths, stay cool, keep calm – and try to make the discussion relaxed and friendly.

Finally, be as open as you can. If there’s something you really don’t want to discuss, of course say so – but as much as possible try to be honest and clear.  In that way you’ll be sure you’re all on the same page, there are no nasty surprises and money’s no longer taboo.

And that’s the key to a great family finance discussion.

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