I grew up hearing many quirky sayings, “Children should be seen and not heard,” “Money doesn’t grow on trees,” and another one that sticks out is "God gave you two ears and one mouth, so you ought to listen twice as much as you speak." Well, maybe that last one is not so quirky. When you need to have the talk about money with your spouse and family, you need to do both, listen and speak, so that you are heard and understood.
I was privileged to be interviewed for an article published for Financial Planning Standards Council on this very topic. Talking about money with family members is not easy but “not talking” is by far worse. Without the important conversations, misunderstandings are bound to occur. Dropping subtle hints about your goals and dreams or expecting others to read your mind are only wishful strategies on your part. It’s okay to be afraid but don’t let fear stop you from starting the conversation. Take charge. I hope you can glean some valuable information from the following article.
Is it time for ‘the talk’ about money?
Money is the last taboo – or so seems. It’s a sticky subject we just don’t like to talk about. But there comes a time when there’s simply no option left but to jump in and hash it out.
It may be asking for a raise, reining in an overspending partner, estate planning with aging parents, or teaching children about debt. Delores Moskal, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional with Cornerstone Credit Union in Yorkton, Sask. cautions that no matter the situation, leaving ‘the talk’ for too long brings consequences:
- unrealized goals
- creditors at the door
- delayed retirement
- marital friction
When a couple has different spending and saving habits, it can jeopardize financial security, leave dreams unfulfilled, and cause marital tension. Failing to discuss estate plans with parents can cause sibling strife and mounting legal fees after their deaths. And, allowing children to run up credit card debt and cell phone bills starts them on a negative footing before they even begin to face the many other challenges of adulthood.
So just how do you start a conversation about money?
It’s not personal, it’s business
When it comes to asking for a raise or negotiating a contract, check your ego at the door and take emotion out of the equation. You may have done a great job and deserve a raise, but you have to be able to back it up. Outline accomplishments and how they’ve contributed to the bottom line by saving money or generating revenue. Taking a business approach is more likely to bring positive results.
It’s all in the family
For families, it’s about having a reality check and discussing what-ifs, says Ms. Moskal. Most people don’t plan for the unexpected like job loss, the arrival of twins or a serious illness. Others haven’t talked about buying a home or sending children to university. These are all issues that need to be discussed and planned for early.
“A neutral, non-judgmental third party can help start the conversation,” she says. “Having a referee in your corner can help prevent arguments from escalating and help uncover the path forward together.”
A financial planner, for example, can take a holistic look at the situation and help families gain a better understanding of income and expenditures, establish mutually agreed upon goals, and identify areas where actions can be taken to achieve those goals.
The upside of having ‘the talk’?
- Relationships are more harmonious.
- Dreams are achieved faster.
- A career is more rewarding.
- And, you’re setting a great example for your children.