As a writer, I don't really talk as much as my other friends, but one thing I do like talking about is my favorite TV shows.
The reality is that people talk a lot. These days, even discussing taboo topics happens all the time online, and in person too. Politics, religion and sex, it seems like nothing is off limits anymore. All except the last one: finances.
Most people spend their days working for money. It's something that people never seem to have enough of, so people are always trying to find ways to make more.
But what if I were to tell that you there is one simple thing you can do to make more money?
And what if that thing was as simple as talking about money more often?
When was the last time you had an open conversation about your finances? I'm guessing it's been a while, or maybe it's something you never discussed before.
The reality is that conversations about our finances are still viewed as off-limits for many people, even with our closest business confidants and family members.
Is there fear of judgment? Are people embarrassed? Do you want to keep pretending that you are in better shape than you are? Is it tradition? Were you taught to not talk about it?
Actor Rainn Wilson (Dwight from NBC"s long running hit The Office)'s YouTube channel SoulPancake, is trying to tacking the taboo nature of talking about money.
Rainn's SoulPancake teamed up with finance industry powerhouse Northwestern Mutual to encourage real people to bravely open up and have real conversations about money. Using his YouTube channel, boasting over 1.5 million subscribers, he is getting people to talk about the forbidden topic of money.
I had a chance to talk to wealth management advisor Chantel Bonneau from Northwestern Mutual. They are using SoulPancake as a soapbox to set a new example when it comes to talking about money.
They are sparking conversations among family members for all to see. By sharing these real conversations of others talking about their finances, they believe that people won't be so scared or embarrassed to talk about it anymore. And they hope that they might just break the tradition of keeping quiet about money.
As they have encouraged people to talk about money, they realized that many people are not sure how to initiate the talk.
Here are the top 8 tips to start discussions about your finances:
1. A Family Finance Talk About Goals.
Conversations start with questions. The best way to spark the money talk with your family is to ask questions. But instead of asking questions about money, ask about goals. What are your goals for retirement? What is your dream car? What is your dream college? Framing the conversation about goals is a great way to discuss how to make the money to attain your goals. What are the financial components of the goal and how can you achieve them?
2. Student Loans.
According to a recent study, 70 percent of students graduate college with an average of $30,000 in student debt and the average US household has approximately $7,000 in credit card debt - and that's including those families who have no debt! It is important to have a conversation about how to get out of student debt before you get into it. This includes having honest conversations about the cost of college when shopping for schools. When you look at the numbers, they don't lie. Know how long it will take to pay off student loans and put together a pretend budget to see what the monthly payment will really look like.
3. Credit Conversation.
Do you know what your credit score is? Many people have no idea what their credit score is, and they find out too late when they get denied for a credit card or don't get approved for the apartment they want. Many credit reports have mistakes due to identity, incorrect account details, or fraudulent activity. It is a good idea to pull your credit and review for accuracy.
4. Ask for More Money.
Asking your boss for a raise can be one of the most intimidating money talks. But if it works, it can be well worth it. Here are some quick tips for starting the talk with your boss. Before you meet, determine a firm number based on your role, responsibilities and tenure with the company. Have examples that support your position. Set a meeting with your boss when he or she won't be too busy or overwhelmed. Finally, have a backup plan to negotiate vacation or other benefits if money isn't on the table.
5. Talk Money Before Doing Business.
It should come as no surprise that money is a common source of disagreements among partners. That's why it's important to discuss how you'll handle finances before tackling any large business deals. Not sure where to start?
6. Understand How You View Money.
Riann suggests to take a financial compatibility quiz with your partner and share the results. This can help you openly discuss your money management approach and how you'll blend your financial styles together.
7. Talk About The Check Before it Comes.
Often times, the co-workers at the office are your friends. As officemates, they become your happy hour buddies and the people you choose to order takeout with, so discussing money can get awkward. Use tools like Venmo, PayPal, or cash to settle who who is paying for who before you order.
8. Talk With Yourself.
Okay, so this isn't actually a talk, but it's incredibly important to be honest with yourself about your financial situation and goals. Start by outlining your budget, including monthly expenses, debt and savings. Then, make a list of short-term and long-term financial goals. If your current budget doesn't align with your financial plan and lifestyle, determine where you can spend less or save more to get on track.
Are you inspired to talk about your finances yet? What are other money related conversations that should take place. Please share in the comments.