Money is the “it” factor of our lives. We earn it, spend it, save it, squander it, donate it, manage it, share it, sometimes even stress about it. But despite its prominence in our lives, we often don’t discuss it. In fact, according to a recent consumer research study by Experian Simmons, 52% of American women believe they are good at managing money, but only 12 percent say their friends ask them for financial advice. Do women have lots of financial wisdom that they just aren’t sharing? We at Women & Co. and Working Mother think it’s finally time that the money conversation makes its way to the top of our to-do lists and all that financial wisdom starts getting passed around.
Here are five healthy money conversations you can kick start today:
1. The money talk with yourself.
It may sound obvious, but one of the most important financial conversations to have this year may be the one you have with yourself. Take some time to think about your financial life and don’t let it fall to the bottom of your to-do list. Assess what you are doing well and where you can improve your financial management skills, and commit to spending time every week or every day to think and talk about money. WomenAndCo.com is a great place to start.
2. The money talk with your partner or spouse.
Talking about money can be an emotionally charged subject for couples, but it’s important to do it regularly, whether you are just starting out or have been together for many years. Discuss your individual financial styles, how you will manage household vs. personal money, your short and long-term goals, your roles and responsibilities for daily and long-term financial decisions (such as who will pay for what bills) and how you plan to keep the conversation going in order to really establish financial harmony.
3. The money talk with young children.
Talking to kids about money early on can be a great way to establish good financial habits for life. You can use everyday activities to get them thinking about financial topics such as savings, emergency funds and credit.
4. The money talk with aging parents.
People are living longer these days, and while we are happy for those extra years, they inevitably mean that we need to put away more money. To help your parents maintain their financial independence, it’s important to make sure they are prepared. What’s more, as women are more likely to take time out of the workforce to care for aging parents, this conversation is also important for your own financial health. You’ll want to discuss topics such as where your parents keep important documents, what kinds of plans they have in place and what their financial situation looks like today. The more you know about your parents’ financial situation, the better positioned you are to help them.
5. The money talk with friends.
One of the easiest ways to keep on top of finances is to simply talk money with your friends. Make it a habit to talk to or pass along any finance or savings tips you pick up, and check out the Women & Co. blog to see what other women are saying. Communicating in today’s digital world isn’t confined to verbal conversations—we can tweet what we ate for breakfast, post photos of our kids on Facebook or share great articles with friends in just a click. Getting conversations about money started can be as easy as clicking on a “share” button or tweeting about a great new finance article you just read. However you choose to do it, the important thing is that more women start making money and finance a part of the regular discourse.