I have always been curious about money. How people earn it, save and spend it fascinates me. And yet, from an early age, I was told “we don’t talk about those things”. Like religion, past boyfriends and political orientation, money is a taboo for many people. And like any taboo, not talking about it may damage your attitude towards it. Imagine having received no information whatsoever about romantic relationships, and not knowing how to behave around a boyfriend. That is terrifying and could even be dangerous.
Not knowing how to handle your first paycheque is just that dangerous. You can make mistake after mistake and end up in a really bad financial situation. Legal & General research revealed that 41% of people find money to be their biggest source of stress, but 46% consider it a taboo topic to talk about. Imagine having all that stress and no one to talk to about it? Pretty scary indeed. As a result, people are anxious, in a bad mood, and close up around their loved ones, the study reports.
The Legal & General team has put together a video featuring money expert Annie Shaw who set up a Taboo Tent in shopping centres and invited people to come in and talk about sensitive money topics like their salaries, their debt, or their plans to make sure their children are covered in the event of death.
Those are uneasy topics at first, but they should be discussed with your family and your partner as early as possible in the relationship, so they become natural. You are not here to judge the other person, just to be aware of what their situation is, and to make your best to help them improve, and reach together the financial goals that you set for yourselves.
Legal & General has a few tips on how to start those awkward financial conversations. From funding a wedding or planning a holiday to tougher topics like planning for major life events, the site covers everything in detail so you can make money work for you and your family. For couples, their study shows that talking about money is taboo for 36% of people, the fourth top taboo after past relationships, annoying habits and weight (didn’t see that last one coming).
I can’t stress enough the importance of talking about money before you make any important life decisions with your partner, like moving in together, co-signing a loan or welcoming a child. If you are unaware of the level of debt your partner has and commit to big mortgage repayments for example, the money related stress can have a negative impact on your relationship. If you feel like it is really hard to talk about money, you may want to look for counsel. The Taboo Tent will be all around the country with money expert Annie Shaw as a host, or you can reach out to your Citizen Advice Bureau, or even a therapist, to learn how to talk openly about money. As a couple, you are a team, and there is nothing more fulfilling than walking together towards a same goal. Talking about money will only strengthen the bonds you share.