Do you feel stressed about even the idea of having a conversation about money? That's normal. These conversations can be packed full of emotion, and you may forget the important things you wanted to bring up.
Preparing yourself with a few talking points might help. That said, this isn’t an exam at school after all, so there’s no need to go overboard with the preparation.
Tips to prep for a money conversation
Thinking about these things beforehand can help a lot:
- When to talk – there’s never going to be a perfect time. Bring up that you would like to chat about something later, which allows them to make space in their day.
- Where to talk – it’s best to find an area where you won’t be disturbed. It might be helpful to stay at home where you may have useful paperwork, but then again, going for a walk, away from the home may be easier for others. Choose what works best for you.
- Who should be there – it very much depends on the situation, but basically, everyone who has a stake in the discussion.
- Rehearse the conversation – now this isn’t a theatre performance, so you don’t need to know your lines by heart. But you could think about the things you want to say and have a go saying them out loud. Or take it a step further and think about what the other person may say, then come up with answers to that. Try to think of different types of scenarios, not just what you want them to say! If you have a family member or friend who isn’t involved, you may want to try out a bit of role play with the conversation.
Once you’ve managed to get the preparation all done and dusted, you’re in a great position to work out how to start the conversation.
Tips on how to start a conversation
Sometimes it helps to start the conversation in a less direct way rather than asking them to sit down and bringing up the subject. Some ideas:
- If a friend of yours is experiencing something similar, maybe discuss what’s happening to them to get the ball rolling.
- Maybe your situation or something similar has come up in a programme you’re watching, book you’re reading or is in the news. Mention how this is similar to what you’re experiencing.
- Use whatever is around you to spark the conversation – bills, a new item of furniture you are still paying off, or something you’re watching on TV.
There are times, however, that you will need to discuss the topic more directly, especially if it is urgent and you can’t wait for the perfect opportunity to bring up the conversation.
Sometimes, knowing what your first sentence is going to be can make you feel more confident. Potential openers could be:
- "I have something I’d like to talk to you about that I think would help us reach our goals more effectively."
- "I’d like to talk to you about our money situation, but first I’d like to get your point of view."
- "I need your help with what just happened. Do you have a few minutes to talk?"
- "I think we have different ideas about our money situation, I’d like to hear your thinking on this."
Remember, a conversation needs to be two-way, so make sure the other person is involved and not simply a listener.