We recently discussed the idea of when it’s ok to talk about money. Often, we find ourselves holding back from the conversation around money, afraid that when someone has knowledge of our financial situation they will make a judgement of our success.
We’ve already discussed the fact that we have nothing to lose by talking about our financial situation. So how do we start the right conversation?
Check your motives – are you doing it to be nosey/judgemental or are you trying to learn something about your own situation or genuinely help someone to learn from your experience
Pick your audience – for some it is just a no-go zone. For others, they get that sharing info is helpful to everyone.
Position yourself – let people know why you are asking. For example, “I am wondering what you spend on electricity so I can gauge if I am getting a good deal.”
Pick the place and time – your interrogation may go down just fine in a private setting but be deflected if you are out and about where the chat could be overheard.
Use tact – when a range or ballpark will give you what you need to know, set your questions up that way. If you are thinking about moving to an area and want some advice from a local, ask them “what does the average 4-bedroom family home go for there?” vs. what did your house cost?
Respect the knowledge – if you do have the details of someone else’s ‘private affairs’, treat the knowledge with respect.
Here are few ways to approach the subject in a way that opens the conversation up, rather than provoke a clamp down on secrecy:
- Talk about your financial goals and why they are important to you
- Share lessons you have learned that you wish you didn’t have to go through the hard way
- If you know a great way to save money, share it
- If someone or something has made you feel more confident with your financial situation, share that
Talking with a professional
We all have a team of professionals we work within our lives – doctors, dentists, electricians, accountants, etc. Having a financial adviser is really no different. Someone who has ‘seen it all’, who can help you understand your own priorities and situation more clearly, and who has the context of experience and professional training to guide you efficiently towards your goals will make a difference. As with anything, acknowledging what you don’t know is the first step towards informing yourself and growing. We learn by sharing information, asking questions and engaging with those around us.
If you’re ready for a conversation starter, get in touch
The Cons of being open
If you misstep in this area, you can do harm. Chatting up a mate who appears to be doing well and taking their investment advice, for example, can lead to hardship. In our experience, this is an area we see real risk. For a start, if you are seeking advice, consider the experience and qualification of the source – professional or not. Secondly, what is a perfect choice for one may be a horrible idea for another. Take investing in property as an example, in our county ‘real assets’ and ‘bricks and mortar’ are a common investing goal. And it can be a great asset for someone who, for example, has a long investment horizon, has researched and chosen an area and specific asset well, has the cash flow required to service the debt and respond to any repairs and maintenance or vacancies. If alternatively, you are someone who wants to see some short-term growth so you have cash available to do a renovation or put the kids in private school, there are likely better choices available.
The Benefits of breaching ‘taboo’
When you pick your audience and timing, you can provide yourself and those near you with a great deal of relief. We all carry a mixed bag of emotion when it comes to money. Getting insight from someone you trust or providing it to them can alleviate fears, doubts or financial concerns. With the increased knowledge you may learn:
- How much of a raise to ask for
- What you should be paying for particular expenses
- What the average selling prices for houses are, or what a typical renovation costs
- How to negotiate a better rate for something you perceived as a ‘fixed cost’
- That there is more than one way to spend your dollars, and that someone else’s choices can help you understand your own preferences.
The old adage that ‘knowledge is power’ couldn’t be truer in this sense. Find the right knowledge for you, and share yours. Don’t let taboo get in the way of your best life.
tell us what you think about money-talk
As Financial Advisers we talk about money all day. Just like a doctor who sees many patients of all shapes and sizes at their best and worse; we have seen all types of money situations. There really isn’t a lot that ‘scares’ us. Far from feeling embarrassed about where things are at, we want our new clients to recognise that by taking the step towards opening up and sharing their information, learning from what we can provide, that they should be proud of the proactive steps they are taking towards their future. We asked Steve Fort, Financial Adviser on the Central Coast to share his perspective:
“To me, and particularly as an adviser, I feel that conversations that provide an honest assessment how someone may have done well with financial decisions in the past are important, but even more critical are the discussions around where they have struggled or made poor decisions. Then relating these conversations to what is important to them in their life and what they want to achieve in the future will provide the best opportunity for someone to make the right financial choices.
What a Financial Adviser can do for a client is to provide the appropriate information so that a client (or friend) can make a fully informed decision that is right for them and their families future.
When you visit your doctor you openly discuss your health and medical circumstances so that you can receive the right advice to improve your wellbeing. The same applies with your financial circumstances, and your adviser is armed with all the tools to assist you in the best possible way, if only you let them.”
When you are ready to start talking, get in touch.
Tell us what you think
At Invest Blue we are interested to learn more about how we can help the conversation around money. If you have 5 minutes we would love to hear your perspective. Tell us your views on the money conversation here.
What you need to know
This information is provided by Invest Blue Pty Ltd (ABN 91 100 874 744). The information contained in this article is of general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regards to those matters and seek personal financial, tax and/or legal advice prior to acting on this information. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relations to products and services provided to you.