How to Have Financial Conversations that Aren't Awkward

Money conversations can be awkward. I get it! As a financial planner, it can be even harder to talk to friends and family about money. People sometimes get intimidated by me because of my career. And, as a professional athlete, it could be rough too. Perspective gets in the way of the conversation. People think it's about how much they have and compare it to how much they think you have. 

Guess what? It's not about the numbers and it's not a competition. And, that's coming from a girl that loves competition!

At the end of the day, the numbers don't really matter. It's about the strategy. The right things for money work whether you're making $500 a month or $100,000 a month. 

Change your money mindset

The first thing you need to do is change the way you think about money. Most of the time when I hear people talking about money it's a complaint. The conversations are about dead beat dads that don't pay child support, not being able to budget because of being bad at math, or not mixing money because of trust issues with a partner.

And, when you enter the world of finances for entrepreneurs there can be even more complaints.  

It's important that we shift the conversation into something that's going to have more productive energy.

Here are a few tips to help you do that:

  1. Talk to people like you want to learn something new.
  2. This helps to change your tone of voice and ask financial questions that are more inquisitive and less interrogating. This makes people more likely to talk to you. Then, be genuinely interested in their answers. 
  3. Use the phrase "tell me more".
  4. This is a great way to get people talking. It also gives you a chance to figure out what questions are appropriate to ask.
  5. Look for ways to connect.
  6. If someone is telling you about how they screwed up with their student loans and you did the same thing, tell them. Be open and relatable so the conversation can continue. 
  7. Ignore the fear and refrain from judging.
  8. If you ask a question, you need to be willing to share your answer too. It's OK to tell the truth—the good, the bad, or the indifferent. And, always refrain from judging others. If you don't judge others will be less likely to as well. Remember
  9. No one is perfect and there are no financial unicorns. 

Questions to start money conversations

We need to focus on having a more open approach to money discussions so we can all have better financial outcomes. For example, how are we supposed to close the wage gap if we don't even know that it's happening? 

Remember, you can have discussions about money without discussing dollar amounts. I'll say it again— It's not about the dollar amount, it's about the strategy.

So, here are some questions to get you going:

  • What’s the best piece of financial advice you’ve received?
  • What are your long-term goals?
  • How do you measure your financial success? What tools are you using to measure? 
  • What is a question about money that you’ve always wanted to ask someone?
  • How do you deal with large unexpected expenses?
  • What percentage of your income do you spend on housing and how did you come up with this number?
  • Are you currently saving money for retirement? Follow up question - Are you happy with the amount that you’re saving?
  • Do you and your partner set a financial budget for your home? 
  • Have you ever successfully negotiated a pay raise? 
  • What’s one thing you wish your parents would have done differently financially?
  • What student loan plan are you on?

Get talking

The biggest thing I want to encourage you to do is to start talking. Find someone TODAY in your life and ask them one of these questions. Let's get these money discussions going!

Related: Adopting a Mindset of Financial Abundance