Money is an emotional and intimate topic to broach with close friends and family. From a young age most of us were taught it was impolite to ask or discuss money with people because it’s such a personal topic. Given household consumer debt is on track to top $4 trillion by the end of 2018 (yes, with a ‘t’), it’s clear we need to get comfortable talking about money. Take a step toward breaking the taboo with these tips:
- Start small
Right off the bat, start asking small questions that open the discussion in a respectful, organic way. An neutral place to start could be ‘I’m looking at starting a 401K, do you have one?’ or ‘how did you get started investing?’ The idea is not to put anyone on the spot or be accusatory, it’s to casually and respectfully open a dialogue for people to feel comfortable share financial details.
- Be mindful of who’s within earshot
We’ve all been in line at Starbucks and overheard intimate details of strangers personal lives. This is an example of a ‘wait until you’re in the car’ conversation, we can all understand. The same rule applies for money. Be respectful of who’s within earshot.
- Money is more than just spending
A discussion about money can too easily focus on spending, but there’s much more to financial literacy. Widen the scope of a money chat by including investments, 401K, savings, emergency funds, student loan debt – get exposure to the big world of money.
Getting a layup right took lots of practice on the basketball court, talking about money is the same. Working up the nerve to chat about money is like a muscle that when we use it, it gets stronger. Don’t be discouraged if someone reacted negatively, you’re learning. You’ll do better next time.
- Be money positive
Financial literacy is a topic that makes lots of people uncomfortable, so keep it positive. If your friend is saving up for a big purchase or to pay down debt, support them by suggesting cheaper lunch spots or staying in for movie night. They’ll appreciate it and showing support is the fastest way to get it. Team money goals!