Bold conversations can help you grow your money — and your relationships, too
Let’s face it. Talking about money is not one of those conversations most people look forward to. Everyone has different opinions about money: how it is used, how much you need, how much you should save, and how much you should spend. The list is really endless.
Knowing that money is a hot topic, it is one that many avoid. This is a fatal error. There are many benefits to having bold conversations about money. At our company, we prioritize discussing these difficult and potentially sensitive questions with our clients. We want to get to what really matters to them and gain a clear idea of their financial situation. This helps ensure that their money better aligns with their goals.
These types of conversations can benefit anyone. I will focus on many of the biggest gains.
start with yourself
We have all heard the saying that “knowledge is power”. Begin gaining knowledge by having a brave conversation with yourself by delving into and exploring your personal relationship with money.
We all learned things about money when we were kids. You may have picked up bad habits from adults in your life who spent more than their means, didn’t save, and piled on credit card debt. On the contrary, “good habits” – such as saving aggressively and not spending – sound good in theory, but not if there is only work and no pleasure. A strong balance of savings and spending is the healthy way to go.
It is important that you understand what the “money story” is. You carry that into your life and your relationships with others almost every day. Whether you’re talking to a financial therapist or addressing your habits by journaling regularly and introspection, try to understand what your financial habits are and where they may come from. Once you have this personal understanding, it becomes easier to take on the challenge of seeking answers and new knowledge from the financial industry. As you tackle challenging topics and gain an understanding of markets and investments, your net worth should eventually see gains as well.
And with this bold introspective conversation, it’s important to remember to pass on your knowledge to your children to help build a fortune for generations. While it may not be easy at first, finding ways to regularly discuss healthy money habits with your children will help them thrive later. Your money story affects not only you, but your children as well, so don’t be afraid of how you want to write your next chapter.
Ask for – and get – that increase
One fearless conversation that many people find daunting — and who doesn’t? – He’s asking for a raise. In a recent survey by payscale.com, only 37% of workers reported ordering one. Since most companies do not conduct regular compensation reviews, this number is staggering.
If you don’t regularly discuss compensation with your employer once a year, that should change. This doesn’t mean you should necessarily get an annual raise, but you should understand your situation, where employers get their data, and what it takes to see an increase in your salary.
The search for your own personal success is imperative to living your best financial life. If you don’t have this conversation, chances are, it won’t. According to payscale.com, only 30% reported receiving a raise without asking for it.
Create a solid foundation for great relationships
We all know that financial problems are often involved when marriages fail. For prospective couples, not sharing their views on money early on in their relationships can be a huge contributing factor.
Marriage or starting a relationship is one of the most important arguments – in my humble opinion – for having those bold conversations. Understanding your partner’s perspective on financial security and success is imperative to a successful relationship. Both partners must understand how the other thinks about debt, spending, budget, credit… It can be an exhaustive list.
If you don’t agree on any major issue, you need to plan – yes, fearlessly – about how to tackle this together before you get too far down the road for good. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. But frank conversations with your spouse or significant other about all the money matters will help reveal any skeletons before they turn into a crisis.
These types of conversations can also clear the air with friends who spend a lot more than you do on trips and restaurants. It can be embarrassing and uncomfortable to say when the price is too high for you to join in. But what are true friendships anyway?
Make life’s big transitions easier – with fewer unwanted surprises
Bold conversations about money can happen with your parents, too. I know this may sound strange, but if you haven’t already, talk to your parents now about their plans for the future and as they get older.
Gaining a solid understanding of how they would like their life transitions to occur while they are healthy, you can partner with them to ensure that these goals are achieved as they hoped and planned. Most importantly, this may include working with them to sort out their estate plan.
If you’d like to explore these ideas further, see my previous article on Kiplinger: Yes, Our Parents Are In Old Age, But We Can Help.
Enjoy more meaningful relationships with the people you care about
In the end, having fearless conversations with the ones you love can deepen your sense of connection. You may also find that this ability to discuss what was previously a taboo can open up all kinds of avenues. Whether it’s money, obligations, or chores, clearing the air and developing understandings with friends and family can make all the difference.
Life throws us a curve, forcing us to constantly re-evaluate our goals. If you are willing to put in effort, energy and time, you will reap the rewards. Bold conversations are never easy, but they get easier as you gain more experience with them.
Managing Director of Growth and Customer Experience, Halbert Hargrove
Kelly Kimley is the Managing Director of Growth and Customer Experience at Halbert Hargrove and has been with the company since 2007. Kelly received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration – Business Communication/Marketing from the Marshall School of Business at USC in 2006.