In its 2017 Money Matters report, which surveyed 3,000 Americans ages 18 to 44, investing app Acorns found that 72 percent of respondents would rather talk about their weight than how much they had in savings.
This sheds light on a pervasive problem in the U.S. — many of us avoid discussing important money issues because it makes us uncomfortable. Diane Bourdo, president of The Humphreys Group, spoke with Larry Light of Forbes about difficult money conversations — such as discussing long-term care with an aging parent or dealing with credit card bills with your partner.
Diane Bourdo provided four tips on navigating these conversations:
- Think ahead about what you are going to say. “Pause for a moment, be calm and think about the effects of what you’ll be presenting to the other party, including potential assumptions or perceptions. Being thoughtful about the preparation process will allow you to have more meaningful, productive dialogue,” Bourdo said.
- Don’t blindside the other party. Set a date and location for your conversation, and choose a time when you both will be more relaxed and comfortable. “For instance, choosing to discuss finances with your spouse after a long day of work may fuel existing stress or exhaustion, which will likely derail your discussion. It also may be helpful to agree on the length of your conversation — some people are tired by long conversations, while others prefer to walk while talking about tough topics,” Bourdo said.
- Show you are honest about your intentions. State your intentions and explain why the conversation is important to you.
- Prepare and practice. It may help you to write down what you want to say and practice the conversation aloud to yourself or with a friend.
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