By Financial Planning Standards Council
Money is the last taboo – or so seems. It’s a sticky subject we just don’t like to talk about. But there comes a time when there’s simply no option left but to address it openly.
It may be asking for a raise, reining in an overspending partner, estate planning with aging parents, or teaching children about debt. Delores Moskal, a Certified Financial Planner® professional with Cornerstone Credit Union in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, cautions that no matter the situation, leaving “the talk” for too long can bring consequences:
- Unrealized goals
- Creditors at the door
- Delayed retirement
- Marital friction
For a couple, different spending and saving habits can jeopardize financial security, leave dreams unfulfilled and cause marital tension. Failing to discuss estate plans with parents can cause sibling strife and mounting legal fees after their death. And allowing children to run up credit card debt and cell phone bills can start them on a negative footing before they even begin to face the many other challenges of adulthood.
So how do you start an open conversation about money?
It’s not personal – it’s business
When it comes to asking for a raise or negotiating a contract, check your ego at the door and take emotion out of the equation. You many have done a great job and deserve a raise, but you have to be able to back it up. Outline accomplishments and how they’ve contributed to the bottom line by saving money or generating revenue. Taking a business approach is more likely to bring positive results.
It’s all in the family
For families, it’s about having a reality check and discussing what-ifs, says Ms. Moskal. Most people don’t plan for the unexpected, like job loss, the arrival of twins or a serious illness. Others haven’t talked about buying a home or sending children to university. These are all issues that need to be discussed and planned for early.
“A neutral, non-judgmental third party can help start the conversation,” she says. “Having an impartial referee present can help prevent arguments from escalating and help uncover the path forward together.”
A financial planner, for example, can take a holistic look at the situation and help families gain a better understanding of income and expenditures, establish mutually agreed upon goals, and identify areas where actions can be taken to achieve those goals.
The upside of having “the talk”:
- Relationships are more harmonious.
- Dreams are achieved faster.
- A career is more rewarding.
- And you’re setting a great example for your children.
If you need a qualified professional to help open a conversation about money, FPSC’s Find a Planner or Certificant tool can help put you in touch with someone in your area. Access additional resources here.