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February 20, 2024

Finances are a delicate topic to discuss, especially among loved ones near and dear to your heart. Still, engaging in important money talks is sometimes necessary to foster healthy relationships. If you’ve struggled with money discussions, here are some tips for productive conversations.

Shift your mindset

Speaking confidently about money starts with having a positive attitude. When you're optimistic, it's easier to express your thoughts with clarity and confidence. Remember that everyone has different financial experiences. So, seeking guidance or discussing topics you might be uncertain about is okay.

Being positive also means focusing on solutions rather than problems. To illustrate, assume you're discussing a significant issue. In this case, try to brainstorm constructive options to address those concerns. This approach fosters a more productive conversation.

Be proactive

If a circumstance could lead to challenges, arrange a discussion beforehand. For example, if you plan to borrow from a relative or co-sign a loan, you’ll want to clarify the details before taking action. The same applies if you move in with a friend or partner or merge finances with your spouse.

You can communicate your expectations to ensure everyone is on the same page. Being proactive can also reveal issues you haven’t yet thought of. Perhaps you need to modify the terms of the agreement or back out altogether to protect yourself.

Plan ahead

Create a plan outlining how you’ll approach the conversation before it happens. Set realistic goals for the discussion and identify what you hope to accomplish. Consider practicing the conversation and mapping it out to reduce anxiety. 

Also, schedule the time in advance for your money-related conversations. Setting a date will help you feel more at ease and make the conversation more productive. Be sure to choose a calm, relaxing environment that doesn’t create added stress. For instance, choosing a coffee shop with a mellow vibe is better than the corner of your living room while your toddler runs wild. 

Be respectful

You’re entitled to your opinion regarding money. However, it’s equally vital that you have an open mind and consider the views of others. Doing so helps foster a positive environment and encourages honest communication. Respecting their perspective goes a long way, even if your opinions differ.

Try to use language that is inclusive and non-judgmental. Avoid making assumptions about someone's financial situation. It's equally important to avoid using language that could be perceived as condescending. Instead, focus on creating a safe and supportive environment. The other party should feel comfortable discussing their financial goals and challenges. 

Also, remember there’s always more to learn. Financial matters can be complex, and no one has all the answers. But when you enter into conversations with an open mind, you’ll be more receptive to new ideas.

Take notes

Before any money-related conversation, jot down the main points you want to address to ensure you cover everything and provide a structure to the discussion.

Be specific in your notes to help you articulate your thoughts more precisely. Highlight key points to remember or emphasize during the conversation. Use bullet points or bold text to help you quickly find the information you need.

Use positive language

Incorporate positive language when discussing finances. For example, use words like "opportunity," "progress," and "success" during money conversations. This subtle shift in language can significantly impact your confidence.

Also, avoid using negative language or phrases that foster feelings of shame. Refrain from saying, "I'm broke," or "I can't afford that.'' Try saying, "I'm working towards my financial goals," or "I'm prioritizing my spending right now."

Doing so reframes the conversation in a positive light. It also reinforces the idea that you are in control of your finances.

The Bottom Line

Speaking confidently about money is a skill that can be practiced and improved over time. Keep a positive attitude and stay open-minded when having those important money conversations. Most importantly, commit to having productive discussions that help foster healthy relationships. 

Need guidance from a HawaiiUSA expert? Get in touch with a Certified Financial Coach