Whether it’s with family, friends, or coworkers, talking about money is often perceived as taboo, like talking about politics or religion at the dinner table. And on top of that, there may be a degree of shame associated with money that typically stems from money messages you grew up hearing and believing.
Messages such as, “money doesn’t grow on trees” or “credit cards are nothing but trouble” have created a scarcity mindset within many of us and planted fear about dealing with the world of money management. When we think of money we start to feel powerless, embarrassed, afraid or confused and we usually move on without addressing those feelings at all.
Even if you’re comfortable with how much money you have, or how much money you make, you likely still have some sort of insecurity about money. Maybe you your credit score is too low, or perhaps you feel guilty when you buy things for yourself. Or maybe you’re dealing with one or more of these common money struggles:
- Building up a savings account
- Having enough money to retire
- Feeling guilty when making purchases
- Paying down credit card debt
- Paying for college
- Being upside down on an auto loan
- Setting and sticking to a budget
- Keeping money secrets from a partner
- Paying debt collectors
Talking about these topics shouldn’t bring up feelings of fear and shame. It’s time for us to normalize conversations about money challenges. Life throws many curve balls and we are all learning as we go. Here at Oregonians Credit Union we’re here to help you get rid of those old money mentalities and build a healthy relationship with money. Here are a few ways to get started.
Understand That You’re Not Alone
Everyone has some sort of insecurity around money and finance, we just don’t realize it because no one talks about it. Did your parents hire someone to do their taxes? Do you have a friend that always says they don’t understand stocks? Do you know someone that seems to have a few too many credit cards? It’s highly possible these individuals have the same money insecurities that you do. Even intelligent and well-educated people have money insecurities. Starting an open conversation about money can educate everyone. Hope is found in addressing the problem, learning from the past, and planning for the future. We won’t make you do it alone!
Take Advantage of Financial Coaching
Even healthy marriages can benefit from marriage counseling. Just like you can benefit from financial coaching. Financial guidance should be normalized. It’s not just for those in money trouble but instead for those that are open to financial growth. It is our job as your financial institution to help you live your best financial life. We want to have real money conversations to help you reach your short and long-term financial goals. When you vocalize your money concerns your stress will begin to decrease – it’s not your secret anymore! And just like that, you’re one step closer to reaching your goals. No matter what stage of your financial journey, guidance is always helpful.
Ask Friends Simple Financial Questions
Sometimes the only way to get financial conversations started is to start with a simple icebreaker. Try just asking your friends if they have a favorite budgeting app, how they negotiated a raise or a higher salary at their job, or if they’ve read any good books about finance lately. These simple questions are easy enough to talk about and can open the floodgates to more money conversations.
Be More Open with Your Partner
Money issues are incredibly common in marriages. You should strive to be honest and open about money with your partner, whether you’re married or not. You should start by making sure you’re both on the same page about major financial decisions like buying a house and eventual retirement. You may also want to talk to a financial advisor together to discuss how you can best allocate both of your salaries and work toward your mutual goals. Financial infidelity is also a big deal – this is when someone feels the need to hide a big purchase from their partner. This is an unhealthy way to go about finances in any partnership. If this is a concern, consider having a crucial conversation with your partner to come up with a budget you can both agree upon. Then set aside time once a month to check-in and adjust if needed as you go.
Don’t Spend Money to Keep Up an Image
“Keeping up with the Joneses” is never going to be a good money move. You don’t need to take on more debt just because everyone around you is buying new things. Instead, resist the urge and operate within your means. When there is something you’d really like to buy, try using the 72-hour rule. After waiting 3 days, you may find you don’t need the item after all!
The secrets out – money challenges are normal. We’re here to help! If you’re ready to start a conversation, connect with one of our experienced financial guides.
Are you comfortable with having money conversations or do you still view it as a taboo? Let us know in the comments below about how you’re breaking down the barriers of money conversation.