3 Reasons to Have an Honest Conversation About Your Money
January 8, 2019
I’ve never been good with saving money—and it feels really good to finally admit that.
To me, there’s a lot of freedom in saying that, especially since talking about money is weirdly hard to do in our society.
It's not like it's not an issue—when we surveyed the Shine community, money came in as the top 2018 stressor, beating out work and mental health.
One reason why we stress about it but have a hard time discussing: It's not just numbers on a bank statement. Money is a deeply emotional part of our lives.
“We feel so many emotions about money because it touches everything that we do—whether it's the home that we live in, what we wear, where we can go, and what we can do," Kathlyn Hart, financial empowerment coach and host of Shine's 7 Days To Better Money Moves Challenge, says. “Money touches everything. So when we don't have a lot of it or we're feeling stressed about it, it can lead to how we feel."
And those money feels can really take a toll on our overall wellbeing, especially when they’re just bottled up. After all, we use money almost every day. It dictates where we live, the resources we're able to access, and even our health and education.
For something that’s so omnipresent and has such a direct impact on our livelihood, we often shy away from discussing it, even if we would all be better off if it wasn't such a taboo topic.
Sure, it's easy to have those "Venmo me $10 for brunch" conversations. But starting a conversation about things like student debt, credit card debt, and Roth IRAs? It's easier said than done.
Finding supportive people you’re comfortable opening up to is the first step (after listening to “Money” by Cardi B, of course). And once you’ve found your money conversation partners, here are a few questions you can ask to help break the ice with them.
1. What about money intimidates you?
Often times, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea that you’re the only one feeling any sort of money woes. Asking this question not only breaks the ice with those you love, but may spark a conversation with others about why certain things about money can feel so scary.
For me, it was liberating to realize I was scared of ever having to ask for help with money—especially in case of a crisis outside of my control. My desire to save (I’m trying to get better!) is rooted in this fear of instability, and putting words around that has made it so much easier to focus on my goals.
Being vulnerable about my financial fears in a safe space is reassuring, especially because I know that I have a support system for whenever those anxieties decide to creep up.
2. What is the best piece of financial advice you’ve heard?
There’s a lot of power in sharing advice—and sharing anything about financial tips or tricks can make tackling your own finances feel a lot easier.
Talking about advice with people I trust, and folks older than me, led me to the realization that I can automate my account to save for me, or download various apps to help me achieve the goals I’m setting out to conquer. Wisdom from others can help broaden your knowledge and find different things that may work for you. Don't be afraid to seek it!
3. What does a fulfilling financial situation look like to you?
This answer is different for everyone, so discussing what financial success looks like with others can help break down what it means for you.
For me, a fulfilling financial situation means having enough to avoid instability and budgeting extra to help others. For someone else, it may mean being completely debt-free. Whatever the answer may be, don’t forget to give yourself room to let it change as you grow in all areas of your life. Having these conversations with friends repteadly over time can help your money moves evolve in new, exciting ways.