Finances can be tough to talk about, but keeping your money issues a secret can be bad for your personal and financial health.
Many of us don’t like chatting about our finances. A 2014 study asked people what their most difficult conversation would be and 44 percent said personal finances.
But this silence around money encourages people to remain uninformed about financial options and strategies and to hide resulting financial errors. Plus, we seldom know what our loved ones think about money, and misunderstandings fester when we don’t communicate. Studies have also shown that keeping secrets, whether financial or not, can result in stress, anxiety and even depression.
Yet, despite plenty of good reasons to open up, people find that money is a difficult topic to discuss because it often comes with an emotional attachment. Take financial planning. Yes, the technical details can be complex but it also requires people to think about aging and their own mortality and the risk of financial loss or a family’s financial stability when poor investment choices are made.
As with other hard-to-discuss topics, it’s often easier to stay quiet than to admit that you’re deep in debt or have another money-related problem. But studies show that talking about money can reduce feelings of financial stress and help you make better money decisions.
Of course, talking is easier said than done. When you’re ready to open up, accept that the discussion will inevitably not just be about money, but also what it symbolizes. Start by acknowledging your own emotional relationship with money and understand that finances trigger different feelings in others.
It helps to have a goal in mind about what you want the talk to accomplish, and to start conversations about money with professionals that you have no emotional connection with before sharing financial feelings with loved ones.
A great way to start your “money” conversation is by talking to your professional advisor who can provide the financial knowledge and planning that will reduce stress and emotion and make it easier to communicate your financial goals, dreams and concerns with others.
This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc.(in Québec - a Financial Services Firm), presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments. Contact your own advisor for specific advice about your circumstances. For more information on this topic please contact your Investors Group Consultant. Insurance products and services are distributed by I.G. Insurance Services Inc. (in Québec - a Financial Services Firm). Insurance licence sponsored by The Great-West Life Assurance Company outside of Québec.