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 death. 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 many 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.

If you need a qualified professional to help open a conversation about money, FPSC’s Find Your Planner tool can help put you in touch with someone in your area. 

For more on family finances, read 5 tips for loaning money to family and Modern families have one thing in common