How to start a conversation about money

Talking about money can be a difficult conversation to bring up. Here are some tips on how to get started (especially with your partner/loved ones).

1. Make a financially-focussed date night

Schedule some time in advance so that you and your partner can be prepared. Do everything you would like it was a date night such as going for a meal/making a meal at home and dessert. Review how you are doing living within your budget and any issues that you are having. Set goals of what you want to accomplish or resolve.

After the date, schedule regular meet-ups whether it’s weekly or monthly to check on your progress and iron out any arising issues.

2. Keep an open mind

As money is an extra-sensitive subject for most people, approach with caution. Empathise with your loved one when they are speaking of their money issues. Don’t jump to conclusions or interrupt when they are speaking. Help come with possible solutions where possible.

3. Be assertive

Sometimes financial issues are related to traumatic experiences from the past. Try to stay in the present. Ask for what you need to hear, say “no” to what you don’t feel comfortable sharing yet, and be open to negotiation and compromise.

Assertive communication demonstrates respect for yourself and your partner. Communicate and agree upon financial boundaries or limits with others, including your children or extended family.

4. Take baby steps when bringing up money

It can be quite overwhelming to say everything in one conversation from talking about spending habits to planning for retirement.

Therefore, break down each subject into manageable chunks by working your way up. Get a financial advisor if needed to set a financial plan in place.

5. Share a money goal

A subtle way to bring up finances is by bringing up a money goal you’re working on. For example ‘Saving for a holiday’; ‘Starting a new job’ or ‘Buying a new house’.

This way you can both open up a conversation about money and work on it together.

6. Make it a learning journey

Starting courageous conversations about finances can be intimidating as many don’t know financial jargon.

If one person is financially literate while the other is not, this can lead to resentment, poor communication and lack of feeling like a team. Therefore by committing to learning and growing together, you will be able to build a better relationship and communication channels.

Use some resources available for financial literacy such as banks, your credit union, MoneyHelper, Debt Advisory Services, financial books, financial podcasts or take financial digital courses together.