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Why I believe it is important to talk about money

Money has weaved through our everyday lives for generations and yet we have not been able to normalise talking about it.

Piggy bank with coins on an old wooden table
TsiTsi image

by
Tsitsi Mutiti

in Features

18.11.2019

Money has weaved through our everyday lives for generations and yet we have not been able to normalise talking about it.  As a result, discussing money has become an extremely emotive topic.  Just the thought of having to deal with money; whether it is about managing large amounts of money for our long-term requirements or discussing debt; induces various emotions from extreme joy and confidence to fear and shame.

It is estimated that around 7.4 million people in the UK experience loss of sleep due to money worries. These are not just worrying about debt but also concerns about how to manage and maintain the money that has been accumulated over time.  For those who have the fortune of inheriting large sums of money, it is not uncommon that they tend to worry about how to continue the legacy of the person (in most cases a parent) who has built the wealth that they have received.

A recent article by my colleague Glenn Baker entitled ‘Taboo of discussing inheritance costs families £80,000 in unnecessary tax and destroys relationships’, highlights the results of research undertaken by Censuswide on behalf of Charles.  Censuswide contacted 2,000 parents of children aged 18 or older, as well as millennial-aged adults aged 18-30, and found that:

  • 24% of parents with adult children have talked openly to them about the issue of inheritance
  • 30% of parents have talked to their family about their will and only 36% have made their children executors of their estate
  • Although 36% of parents have made their children executors of their estate, only 11% of young people are aware that they are an executor.       
  • Children assume that their parents have made provisions, with only 19% saying their parents don’t have a will; in reality, 44% of parents don’t have a will.

In addition to the very practical reasons for why it is so important to talk about money with family members, it is essential that we acknowledge the effect that money has on our mental and physical health and the implications this can have on the wider family. 

I have had firsthand experience of the negative impact that not talking about money can have on a family member after my sister suffered a minor stroke at the age of 37.  After setting aside some time to have a deep and meaningful conversation with her about what she thought triggered the stroke, it turned out that one of the underlying causes was the fact that she had been constantly worrying that she would never have enough money.

A great time to start the money conversation with a family member is during Talk Money Talk Pensions Week, 18 - 22 November 2019. During this week the Money & Pensions Service will be encouraging everyone in the UK to have a conversation about money with the aim of making talking about money as natural and familiar as talking about the weather.

Below are a few top tips that I hope will enable you to start the money conversation with a loved one:

  1. Set aside some time to have the conversation with no distractions and interruptions.
  2. Be prepared to talk openly but also be prepared to listen.
  3. Be mindful of the emotions of everyone taking part in the conversation.
  4. Acknowledge that you cannot cover everything in one discussion and that this will be an ongoing process.
  5. Use this article as a starting point for the conversation.
  6. If you are finding it difficult to start the money conversation with a loved one, then contact your financial adviser who will have experience in facilitating such discussions.

Join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #TalkMoney #TalkPensions

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