Your parents might have taught you that it’s rude to ask about money. But times have changed. Everyone should make it a habit to talk to their friends about money. Money is an important part of our lives, and there’s no sense in making financial decisions on our own when we consult with friends about everything else. There are also concrete financial reasons to make sure you discuss finances with friends. Inspired by our recent #TomorrowTalk, here are tips about how to discuss money with friends in a healthy way!
Why Talk About Money?
Talking about money is an important part of reaching your financial goals. Here are some concrete ways it can help you (and your friends):
- Know what your friends earn. Finding out that a friend with a similar job earns far more than you will likely inspire you to either ask for a raise or look for a new employer—in the opposite scenario, you’ll help your friend take steps towards appropriate compensation
- Keep yourself on track financially. If you talk to your friends about your financial goals, they can be a powerful source of peer pressure and accountability to help you reach them
- Make better financial decisions. You might find that some of your friends really have it together—and they can be a source of valuable information about everything from how you should allocate your assets to how much to shave from your monthly expenses.
Most people find it easier to ask friends for a recommendation for a good bar than for the best investment strategy. So how should you actually talk about money? Here’s some tips.
It’s a two-way conversation.
You can broach the topic by sharing your financial goals and what you’re doing to reach them. Asking your friend for advice about your situation is a good way to invite him or her to talk about money.
Get the full picture.
If you’re friend mentions that he or she has a huge investment account, ask how he or she managed to build that level of wealth. Talking about money is about both understanding where your friends are now and how they got there—so you can follow positive examples and avoid friends’ mistakes. Did you friend save assiduously over 20 years to build up a $1 million investment account, or did he or she inherit $2 million and squander half of it?
Don’t judge, compare or succumb to envy.
We’ve all made not-so-great decisions in the past. Whether it’s you or your friend who’s embarrassed by their finances, it’s important to stay positive and supportive. Money discussions should happen in a safe space.
There’s no point in talking about money if you’re not prepared to talk hard numbers. Don’t use round-about ways to bring up the subject, and don’t be cagey about your own situation.
The best money conversations are the ones that are continually revisited. Keep your friends updated on your progress towards your financial goals, on changes in your salary and on new financial challenges you’re faced with. It will ultimately deepen your relationship with your friends—and the longer you talk about money, the better they’ll understand your situation and will be able to offer good advice.
Talking to friends about money might be uncomfortable at first, but once the initial awkwardness is over, you’ll realize how valuable these conversations can be. It’ll build your confidence, as you help friends with less financial know-how make better decisions and open your eyes to the potential mentors in your circle of friends.