How to talk money with your family
Posted on 10 November 2021
By having more open conversations about money, particularly the connection between financial wellbeing and mental health, we can bring these discussions into the mainstream and get rid of shame and awkwardness about talking money.
Talk to your partner
The time to know about your partner’s finances is when they begin to mix with yours.
This will often be when you start living together and paying bills jointly. It’s at this point that your partner’s finances can begin to have a more significant effect on yours, and vice versa.
Money issues can come up at any point in a relationship, and it’s important that issues are discussed and resolved. Sharing decisions about spending and saving – and discussing money openly – will help avoid arguments and tension.
In reality, couples are never going to agree on everything. But it’s working out what your differences of opinion are that can lead to a compromise. Take time to understand you and your partner’s attitudes to money and to talk about your goals.
Are you a saver or a spender? Some people are happy to live with credit cards or a maxed-out overdraft. Some want to pay for everything – leaving the other person feeling in their debt.
There can also be issues to resolve when one partner has a much higher income than the other, or when one person’s income stops suddenly, for instance due to redundancy.
If you have debt that you’re hiding from your partner, tell them about it as soon as you can. The sooner you have the conversation, the easier it will be. Think about what your partner is going to want to know when you tell them. Get all your paperwork ready so they can see the whole situation – and that you’re taking it seriously.
Talk to your kids
How can we help our children form good lifetime money habits? A good start is removing any sense of secrecy and shame around money. Talking to kids about your experiences will give them a head start in learning about money management.
Be honest – we’ve all made mistakes in the past and being upfront about potential pitfalls will help your kids avoid getting into debt or making poor choices.
You don’t have to sit down and give them a five-hour lecture. Just introduce the subject from time to time when the moment feels right. Once they realize you’re open to these discussions, they may be more comfortable coming to you with money questions.
They may even ask questions you can’t answer – that’s fine! Admit you don’t have all the answers and do the research together.