10 constructive ways to talk money with your family
News that food prices fell month-on-month for the first time in two years will be welcomed by many households across the UK. According to Sky News, food inflation, which measures the average cost of food over time, was 9.9% in September 2023, down from 11.5% the month before.
While the trend is downward, the news broadcaster also revealed that rents outside of London reached a record high in the same month. That’s according to Rightmove, which says the average rent rose to £1,278 a month in September 2023, up 10% from the same time last year.
It seems the hope that the cost of living would drop significantly in 2023 has not materialised, which means many households’ finances could be under scrutiny. If you’re one of them, and as a result being even more diligent with your cash, it may be causing friction with other members of your household or family members.
Whether you’re talking to your partner or spouse, your children or wider family, there are steps you can take to ensure that discussions or meetings about money are more constructive and harmonious. Read on to discover 10.
1. Consider your timing
When it comes to discussing finance, or anything else for that matter, it’s best to ensure the others taking part in the conversation don’t feel ambushed. With that in mind, make sure everyone knows when the meeting is happening and is happy to take part, as this will help to ensure everyone’s in the right frame of mind when it takes place.
2. Create an informal agenda
Understand what you want to discuss and make a list, as this means you’ll be able to have a proper conversation without anything important being left unsaid. Additionally, make sure you have all the relevant documents and information on hand, as this will ensure that you can be factual and accurate if anything you say is challenged. This will help you to make your case more effectively.
3. Choose your location carefully
While it’s likely that the meeting will be held at a family member’s home, think about the emotional attachment that you or others you’ve invited may have to the property. If it evokes particularly strong memories or emotions, it might be wise to hold the conversation at another family member’s home, as it could result in a calmer, and more constructive, discussion.
4. Think about opening the conversation
How you start the meeting will set its tone, which means getting it wrong could result in confrontation. An effective way to start the discussion might be to refer to a topic that’s in the media and use that as a way to open the discussion.
For example, you might want to refer to rising interest rates or the high cost of living. As these are very broad subjects, others are more likely to engage in the conversation, which you can then use to lead into the issues you want to discuss.
5. Wait for others to finish talking
It’s important to remember that listening is equally as important as speaking, if not more so. Try to ensure you give everyone involved in the meeting the opportunity to fully explain their thoughts and try not to interrupt.
As a result, everyone will feel that their thoughts have been taken seriously, which in turn, will help avoid misunderstandings and resentment, and promote a constructive discussion.
6. Try to avoid making judgements
When talking about finance, always remember that others will have different views, feelings and aspirations around money, even when they share your views on everything else. Be careful not to be judgemental about someone’s spending habits and don’t offer advice that is likely to be unwanted. Doing so will make them defensive, which may result in confrontation and issues remaining unresolved.
7. Use ‘what if’ scenarios
Whenever you’re talking to those closest to you about money, be careful not to lecture them. A good way of achieving this is to come from a place of curiosity and ask questions using “what if…?”. This could allow you to ask searching questions without looking as if you are.
For example, you might want to ask: “what if you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?” Using the ‘what if’ scenario can provide an insight into the other person’s view on money, financial security and aspirations.
8. Find a mutual ‘goal’
A clever and more subtle way to bring finances into your conversation is to discuss a money goal you all have in common. For example, this might be a family holiday or an event to mark a special occasion, such as a diamond wedding anniversary for your parents.
Using money goals to start the meeting increases the chances of it being positive, and getting everyone pulling together to reach an agreement.
9. Limit the number of attendees
Having too many people involved might make the meeting overly long and unnecessarily complicated. With this in mind, you might want to limit the number of people in the discussion, and then take any agreed outcomes out to other family members.
While this may mean more than one conversation will be needed, it could result in agreement much more quickly than having too many people attend.
10. Find neutral help if needed.
Including a trusted individual who’s neutral could help keep the tone of the discussion more constructive, resulting in an agreement everyone’s happy with. One person you might want to consider is your financial adviser, as they can also explain the situation and options available to everyone in a clear and understandable way.
This could help to clear up any misunderstandings and help others in the conversation understand the actions they may need to take.
Get in touch
If you would like to discuss your wealth with family members and would like to understand how we could help, please call on 01527 577775 or speak to one of our advisers, as we’d be happy to help.
Monday 23 October 2023