Money: It’s a family affair
It’s amazing to me that when I’m waiting in line or at an event, I hear people talking openly about their dating escapades, very personal health issues or even private family matters. But have you ever noticed that in these situations you rarely catch people talking about their finances? Maybe if it’s about a recent purchase, perhaps a new outfit, something for their home or maybe a new car? Why do you suppose this is?
In fact, studies show we don’t even talk about money in the privacy of our own homes with the people most affected by our money decisions: our partners, children and parents. And we certainly avoid money conversations with our peers and coworkers at all costs.
In a world where money touches our lives in multiple ways every day, I believe we’re doing a disservice to our families when we avoid money discussions. I believe it’s time we started talking about money – and why not start this conversation at home? After all, money is a family affair.
At nearly every stage of our lives we have big money decisions to make.
- Do I have enough for groceries this week and to cover this month’s bills?
- I’d like to get a puppy – how much do they cost, and how about the vet bills and food? What happens if my new dog gets seriously ill or hurt?
- Do I need a car? What kind? What can I afford?
- I’m considering post-secondary schooling – how much does a degree cost, and what does it cost to live out of province?
- I’m engaged to be married – We’re welcoming a child what will this all cost?
- Do I need life insurance?
- How about a vacation, a house and retirement?
These are only a few of the big questions, and they don’t even touch on all the small day-to-day money decisions we make, starting with finding bus fare and deciding how much you’re willing to spend on your morning coffee.
In an earlier blog post, I talked about getting your young children involved in learning about money. The process isn’t that much different when it comes to discussing more complex financial concepts with older children and adults – just start with something small and work from there.
Talk about a major purchase you’re planning for as a segue into a bigger conversation about making informed decisions. Want to talk to your parents about their retirement? Broach the subject by explaining how you’re in the process of filling out the My Personal Affairs Record Keeper. Not sure how to discuss money matters with your partner? Make a pot of tea or open a bottle of wine and spend a hour or two discussing your long term goals and how you can plan for them.
A good conversation about money doesn’t need to be awkward or embarrassing – trust and transparency on your part goes a long way to getting the dialogue going.
– Ainsley Cunningham
Founder and Project Coordinator, MoneySmart Manitoba
Manager, Education & Communications, Manitoba Financial Services Agency