How to openly and honestly talk about money with family and friends

If you’re like many people, you may have an aversion to discussing finances. Discussing one’s personal finances is taboo for lots of people. Even just thinking about it can be tiring, especially with inflation hitting gas prices, household and other costs.

We get it, but just know you’re not alone. It’s easier to talk about almost anything else — the weather, sports, our latest visit to the dentist — rather than money, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

discussing finances with family and children

What if you could be more financially savvy, less stressed and have more wealth if you could overcome that fear/aversion to speaking about finances? Would you be more open to talking about it then?

Let’s look at why we avoid discussing finances and what we can do to overcome the fear/aversion.

Why do we avoid discussing finances?

Emotions: Discussing finances is personal and can therefore be emotional. Rather than rock the boat, we avoid the topic altogether. However, with family and those we share expenses with, not talking about them can lead to problems and disagreements down the road.

discussing finances with loved ones

Relationships: If you’re in a relationship, you may fear that you’re letting your partner down if you’re not earning as much as them or putting away as much for retirement. Control and trust issues around money can also lead to disagreements in even the healthiest relationships. If you’ve been down that road before, it’s normal to not want to go there again.

Knowledge: Facing topics we don’t know much about is hard. Maybe you weren’t great at math in school and avoided the homework — and that avoidance had carried over into anything to do with numbers, including money. But when it comes to finances, it’s important to put in the work. Sometimes, you have to open a book to realize what you don’t know, and that can become your starting point.

Information overload: We’re bombarded with financial topics. Inflation is in every newscast and headline. Tips on finances are in your Insta reels and TikTok feeds. You can’t escape it no matter where you look, so no wonder you want to avoid discussing it further.

Family history: Many people were raised to not talk about finances with anyone other than their banker, because it makes people uncomfortable.

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Also read: Financial wellness: How to feel good about your finances

3 ways to get better at discussing finances

So do you want to be more financially savvy, less stressed and more financially sound? Who wouldn’t? One of the simplest ways to do that is by talking more openly with people you trust. Talk to family members, friends and colleagues about money matters. An open discussion will lead to a more well-rounded understanding of how to manage our money.

discussing finances with parents and children

If that sounds easier said than done, you’re not on your own. But you can do it.

Open discussions: The first thing you can do is to discuss with loved ones why it’s important to talk about money. Do you want a family with a tight personal bond or one that’s constantly arguing? Talking openly about money may lead to some arguing, but it may also lead to closer connections since you’re more likely to have a better understanding of what everyone is looking to achieve.

Share financial goals: By sharing your financial goals with those close to you, you may learn that you have more in common than you thought. For instance, if your partner also shares the goal of retiring early, you can work as a team to make that dream a reality.

Celebrate financial wins: Share your financial wins. Don’t do this to brag, of course, but rather to share your positive experiences and thereby inspire others. For example, maybe you found a nifty phone app that’s helped you do a better job of budgeting. Share it!

discussing finances with each other

Moving your conversation forward

It won’t happen overnight, but you’ll have less of an aversion to discussing finances once you’ve built that level of trust and everyone knows they’ll support one another.

Remember, too, that if you need a helping hand, you can always start by discussing your financial health with an ACU financial advisor. They can assess your current financial situation, life goals and investing strategies, and work with you to develop a financial plan to improve your overall wealth — and peace of mind.

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Arrange an appointment online to meet with an advisor who can help get you on the right track so you can feel good about discussing your finances.

About Sean Cooper

Sean Cooper is the bestselling author of the book, Burn Your Mortgage. He bought his first house when he was only 27 in Toronto and paid off his mortgage in just 3 years by age 30. An in-demand Personal Finance Journalist, Money Coach and Speaker, his articles and blogs have been featured in publications such as the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Financial Post and MoneySense. Connect with Sean on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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