Having enough cash on hand can be a stressful thing, especially when there’s not enough of it to go around. This, combined with a longstanding cultural stigma against talking about finances, can make money conversations incredibly difficult.
In a recent survey of Americans aged 18-44, over two-thirds of the respondents said they would rather talk about their weight than how much money they have in savings. This shows just how deep our discomfort of financial conversations runs. However, just like any other difficult topic, having open and transparent conversations about money is the first step to improving your financial situation.
Not sure how to bring up money conversations, or how to make them easier for everyone involved? We’re here to offer some helpful tips that can make financial discussions a normal part of everyday life.
Make It Comfortable
Money conversations can be tough, so there’s no need to make them any tougher by being in an uncomfortable setting. Choose a time and place where everyone involved can relax, whether it’s your living room, around the dinner table, or on a park bench. If you have the discussion in a place and setting where everyone is most at ease, you’ll all be able to open up and talk freely about anything.
If you’re going through a particularly tough time financially, tensions can be high and make open dialogue difficult. This brings us to another important aspect of creating a comfortable environment: making sure that the setting is emotionally safe.
This means no one is allowed to put down anyone else’s ideas, and everyone can speak freely without fear of belittlement or criticism. Foster an environment of emotional safety by supportively listening, letting others express their feelings and concerns, and responding with logic and sensitivity rather than arguing. This will put everyone in a better mind frame to listen and have a conversation – even about something as touchy as money.
Get Everyone Involved
Remember that this should be a conversation, not a lecture. If you have specific documents or accounts to discuss, you can certainly prepare for your conversation and what you need to express. But be sure to ask questions and involve every family member in the conversation – even kids, when appropriate.
By making your money chats more of a dialogue than a TED Talk, you encourage everyone to be thinking about finances and how to solve problems, rather than letting one person shoulder all the weight. Plus, this allows younger family members to feel like part of the team and teaches them to think about money rationally and responsibly.
Here’s an example of some questions you can ask to get the household involved in the financial conversation:
- What are some long-term goals we have?
- How do we achieve those long-term goals?
- Are there any upcoming purchases that we need to add to our current budget (i.e., school supplies, household items, etc.), and if so, how should we fit those into our budget?
- How much do we currently have in savings?
- How much are we adding to our savings every month?
- What are some other uses we should be considering for our money (i.e., charitable donations, home improvements, etc.)?
- What is our outstanding debt and what is our current plan to eliminate it?
- Do we have extra money this month, and if so, how should we use it?
These talking points can help get everyone on the same page and enlighten those who aren’t as involved with the budgeting.
Establish a Routine
Every budget needs occasional retooling to accommodate for unexpected expenses or to revise line items that are no longer relevant. Instead of leaving the budgetary revisions to one person, have a regular, established household meeting to discuss finances and bring up issues before they become a problem.
When money issues are not discussed regularly, what can start out as a small budget slip-up can easily snowball into a huge financial disaster. By having a set routine and time to talk about money, you can head off those slip-ups and prevent them from escalating. Plus, it then opens the budget to new ideas and solutions that the primary budgeter may not have thought of.
Lean on LendNation
Money talks don’t have to be difficult. Like anything else, they take practice and consistency. However, even the most financially responsible households occasionally need extra help that can’t be solved with mere conversation.
When you need to get cash today for an emergency or unexpected financial issue, LendNation is here to provide a safety net. With convenient online payday loans and additional in-store loan options, LendNation can provide you with the money you need to get out of a financial pickle and back into a solid budget plan. Apply online today and you could be approved in minutes!