Financially literate and understanding your financial life is critical if you want to be confident about your money. However, oftentimes we’re too embarrassed or uncomfortable to talk about money openly.
According to a 2013 Wells Fargo survey of over 1,000 adults, 44 percent of respondents said “personal finances” is the hardest topic to discuss with others, followed by “death” at 38 percent and “politics” at 35 percent.
Money topics such as debt, student loans, salary, credit scores and even saving for the future can cause paralyzing anxiety.
A 2014 National Foundation for Credit Counseling study on financial literacy showed that only 2 in 5 adults believe that,
if their money could talk, it would say. “We’ve been a successful team.”
So to help improve your relationship with your money, we’ve raised 10 potentially embarrassing money topics and offered some suggestions to tackle them with confidence.
1. Spending well above your means.
Though keeping up with the Joneses feels like a problem we should have grown out of in high school, we are all guilty of this from time to time. Insisting on paying for dinner out with that friend who makes twice what you do so that you can impress her is just not worth the strain on your finances. It’s OK to be honest with yourself and others when making plans, and push for activities that will fit your budget instead of racking up debt or running through your whole food budget in one meal.
2. Debt because of overspending.
3. Debt because of bad advice.
If you’re seeking financial advice, start with trusted and reliable sources. While friends and family are great and can hold you accountable to your money goals, organizations such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and Consumer Credit Counseling Service can give you that extra professional support you need.
4. Loaning money to friends and family.
5. Credit card(ssss).
6. A weak credit score.
7. The burden of student loans.
8. Managing a 401(k).
9. Not knowing how to save.
10. Money and my significant other.
Though you’d probably prefer to talk about anything else, talking about money is key to any successful relationship. Start by sharing how you each feel about money such as wants and needs. Slowly ease into the stickier topics such as who pays for what, long-term saving versus short-term spending and your comfort level with investing together. Schedule recurring money “dates” where you can comfortably have ongoing money conversations together.
Now that you’ve made it through the list (perhaps with a bit of squirming), don’t feel like you have to tackle all of this. Start small and commit to improving one aspect of your financial life at a time. Before you know it, the taboo money topics will be a little easier to discuss and manage.
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