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Talking openly about money is vitally important for our health, wealth and relationships

Talk Money Week 2018

The goal of this very first Talk Money Week is to turn talking about money from one of the UK’s least favourite topics of conversation into something that becomes as natural and familiar as talking about the weather.

If all of us take a little time to talk and follow up on our conversations by changing our habits or getting advice, think of the millions of pounds we’ll save, the bad money decisions we’ll avoid and how much better we’ll feel - in just a few days.

And if that conversation becomes a regular catch up, those benefits will just grow and grow.

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Why should I talk money?

Talking openly about money is vitally important for our health, wealth and relationships.

Research shows that people who do:

  • make better and less risky financial decisions
  • have stronger personal relationships
  • help their children form good lifetime money habits
  • feel less stressed or anxious and more in control.

Building money conversations into our everyday lives also helps us build financial confidence and resilience to face whatever the future throws at us.

If we’re not prepared, we can struggle to cope when an income shock happens or a life event changes everything, which will happen to seven in ten of us before this time next year.

What can I talk about?

Your conversation can be as big or small as you like. It could be as easy as a chat about starting to give your child pocket money or sharing money saving ideas with your friends on social media.

Or it could be the Really Important Conversation you’ve been meaning to have about life changing issues, such as retirement, long-term care or problem debt.

What if I can’t talk about money right now?

OK. We know this might be a big ask. Sometimes, it’s not simply that we can’t be bothered to talk about our finances. For some people, money is an extremely emotional topic that can make us feel upset, stressed, anxious, fearful or angry.

Once these emotions get in the way, they can become a barrier to really opening up because we don’t want to feel bad, stupid or judged.

The same is true when things going on in our lives are taking up all our mental energy. We know we need to talk money but our thoughts are filled up with our immediate problems.

For now, it may be OK to put the conversation to one side for when you feel able to deal with it. But if you’re avoiding talking about some money topics, such as debt, a problem could quickly turn into a crisis.

It may be difficult, but talking about a money worry now can really help to take some of the stress away, giving you more strength to deal with other things you need to.

But even if it still doesn’t feel right to talk to someone else, there is one person you can start with, and that’s you.

Having a money conversation with yourself can be the first step to working out what you think and feel about money and what you might need to do to work things out. You can use this guide to get you started.

Guide: Talking about money with yourself

How to get the conversation started

If starting a money conversation isn’t easy, either for you or the person you want to talk to, The Money Advice Service guide on how to have a conversation about money can help you prepare.

It also depends who we are talking to and we may need to change the way we approach a conversation with our parents, partner, friends or children.

Guide: How to talk about money

Talking about money with your partner

Differences over money can be one of the biggest causes of friction in a relationship and so many issues can crop up as our lives change, making it all the more important to keep talking about money regularly.

You can use the guide to talking to your partner about money to get tips for dealing with lots of different scenarios that might need a money conversation: including what happens when children come along, or you discover your partner is hiding a money issue, like debt, gambling or addiction.

Guide: Talking to your partner about money

Talking about money with children

Children’s money habits are formed younger than you think. As young as the age of seven, children have developed attitudes and habits around money. Talking with children about money from an early age helps them to form good habits that will last a lifetime. The sooner you start the better, but you can make a difference at any age. From toddlers to teens, The Money Advice Service has lots of fun, easy ways to start.

Guide: Talking to your children about money

Talking about money with older people

According to Independent Age, while eight in ten people think it’s important to talk to an older relative about where they would like to live if they could no longer live at home, just under one in four of people have actually discussed this with their loved one. Meanwhile dementia is a very real problem facing thousands of families every day.

Having an open money conversation is best done when someone is feeling fit and well and able to make decisions for themselves. The Money Advice Service guide to talking about money with older people helps you start the conversations around long term care and dealing with finances if your loved one should lose the ability to make decisions for themselves.

Guide: Talking about money with older people

Talking about money with friends

No-one wants to ruin a friendship by falling out over money but it can cause issues if your mates want to spend more than you can afford or you lend them money that’s not paid back.

If you want to talk money and keep your friends this guide will help you get it right first time.

Guide: Talking with friends about money

Talking about money and mental health

Eight in ten adults with experience of mental health problems say money worries have made their health worse.

Opening up about your money worries can reduce stress and help you focus more of your energy on getting better. Eight in ten people who get advice about their debts say they feel less stressed, less anxious and more in control of their lives.

The Money Advice Service guide to money problems and poor mental wellbeing gives some great tips on how to deal with money when you’re feeling low, including practical things you can ask friends and family to do to help.

You can also use the guide if you’re worried about someone and not sure how to start the conversation.

Check out the Mental health and money advice website too. It’s really helpful if you or someone you know has a diagnosed mental health problem.

Guide: Money problems and poor mental wellbeing

Financial abuse

Everyone has the right to financial independence, so if your partner is controlling your money or running up debts in your name, it’s financial abuse.

If you’re in this situation, talking about money might cause your partner to do or say things that put you at risk of mental or physical harm.

It’s important to know you don’t have to struggle on alone. Use The Money Advice Service guide on protecting against financial abuse for things you can do and where to get help and support.

Guide: Protecting against financial abuse

Get involved

Organisations including banks, employers, charities and even the government are showing why it’s good to talk in a range of events around the UK.

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