Do you remember ever bringing your finances up with your friends? It’s likely you haven’t, unfortunately talking about money is still taboo. As we are navigating life after the pandemic, financial wellbeing is just as important as physical and mental wellbeing. That is why each November we encourage the nation to come together for Talk Money Week, to start money conversations in any walk of life. In this blog post, we want to give you some tips on how to talk about money with your friends.
Everyone’s financial journey is different, just as everyone’s goals in life are different. Your friends should like you for who you are and support your endeavours, so the same goes for your financial situation. Keep your money chats safe, after all, there are enough other influences in society that tell us where we should be in life. Just think of all the online articles telling us what you must accomplish by age 30 or that one family member reminding us to settle down asap.
You probably have a similar age to some of your friends, so it’s very likely they’ve gone through or will experience the same financial struggles as you. These can range anywhere from how to do your taxes to setting up a retirement plan. Ask questions to find out how they handled certain obstacles, they’ll be happy to share their experiences with you and give advice on what to avoid. If it turns out they don’t have a clue either, you know it’s a common issue that you can look into together.
Always remember everyone in life starts from different financial footings and heads in different directions. It’s easy to feel ‘ahead’ or ‘behind’ hearing more about your friends’ finances, but so many factors influence your financial stability so you really shouldn’t compare. Some people were blessed with family funds, others started working full time at a young age. You might have friends whose main goal is to settle and have kids, while others are spending their savings on travelling the world. Just enjoy spending time together and be open to different perspectives on life!
No matter what side you are on, it is a tough decision whether you borrow or lend money to a friend. If you don’t feel comfortable lending money and you are scared it might harm your relationship, it’s probably better to say no. Always make sure you can afford to lend it and you know your friend can get you the money back. There’s no guilt in saying no, but if you do decide to lend it, make sure to have it in writing. There are other ways to support your friend too, by helping them navigate loans from the bank or direct them to a budget planner.
The majority of people have been in a situation where they just couldn’t afford a certain activity that was planned amongst friends. Friends are friends for reasons outside of how much money you make or have to spend. They will not stop spending time with you because you simply can’t afford it, or you are saving for something important. Talk to them about your struggles and come up with other solutions on how to spend your time together. Research cheap restaurants, go for walks, cook together, … There are plenty of fun activities that don’t break the bank.
If you need to talk to someone about money but aren’t sure how it will go, Talk Money Week released several guides to help you out.