​Finance talk: How to have a money conversation

Planning money conversations with loved ones can sometimes feel intimidating. Finance talk can seem taboo, but the good news is that things are changing. Knowing how to talk about money is an important life skill to learn. Once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be on your way to feeling more confident, building deeper connections, and enjoying a happier, healthier relationship with money. 

At Loqbox, we believe that open, honest finance talk is key to unlocking all sorts of positive change. If the thought of talking about money makes you feel a bit uncomfortable, stressed, or even anxious, we’re here to let you know that you’re not alone. Learning to talk about money might be easier than you think, and we’re here to guide you through the process. 

Working out exactly what you want to say and how to say it, before you start talking about money, can help you approach finance conversations with ease. It’s important to think about what you, personally, want to get out of the conversation and to make space to listen to the other person, too.  

Working towards your financial goals as a team can be a great way to strengthen your personal relationships. So whether you’re wondering how to talk to your husband, wife or partner about money — or looking for tips on talking about money with friends and family — this guide is here to help you get the most out of your finance talks.

Why talking about money is so important

As early as 2012, a UK survey found that 57% of British people no longer believe in the “stiff upper lip”.  And more recently, in 2022, a whopping 86% of people surveyed said that they felt it was “time to move on” from hiding our emotions. 

It’s encouraging that we’re getting better at talking to each other about the things that matter. But talking about money still feels difficult for many of us. 

Money affects all sorts of things in life — from where we live, to the experiences we have — so talking about it is important. It can help us learn more about ourselves, and our loved ones, and ultimately opens the door to new opportunities. 

If that doesn’t already have you convinced that it’s time to have money conversations with the people in your life, here are four more reasons to give it a go: 

1. Your finances can impact one another

Being in a relationship with somebody, or even just living with a friend or flatmate, can bring your finances together. Your credit score can be positively and negatively affected by financial connections like this. That means that your actions, and the actions of the other person (or people), can have a long-term impact on your financial wellbeing. You can find out more about your credit score and what affects it here.

If your friend or loved one is struggling with money, that could affect your ability to go after your own financial goals. It’s also important to remember that the same is true the other way around. When you’re in a relationship, or cohabiting, you have a responsibility to the other person. Knowing how to talk about money can help you build a plan to move forward together. 

2. Sharing goals boosts motivation

Staying motivated is key to achieving your financial goals. And sharing your goals with others is a great way to boost your willpower!

When you’re working on a goal, you’ll often have to reevaluate how you manage your money. Making those sorts of decisions can feel easier when the people around you know what you’re aiming to achieve.

For example, if you’re dreaming of owning your first home, you might decide to cut back on your non-essential spending to save for a deposit. Your loved ones could help you to stay accountable, and help you stick to new money-saving habits. You might find that they ask you to return the favour and help them achieve their goals, too. 

3. You could save money

Being able to break the ice, and have meaningful money conversations, can lead to real savings. 

When you’re honest with your friends and loved ones about your financial situation, the mental load of managing your finances is shared. As a group, you might decide to find fun new things to do together that don’t cost the earth. Maybe even take money-saving challenges together. It all starts with a money conversation.

4. Reduce stress and anxiety

While finance talks can seem a little intimidating at first, once you’ve learned to feel comfortable talking about money, you might feel like these conversations actually help to relieve stress and anxiety. 

We spoke to wellness experts who said that talking about money is one of the best ways to deal with financial overwhelm. Money is an emotional thing, so it’s often easier to approach the facts of your financial situation when you talk things through.  Being able to tackle financial issues that are causing you worry, and make an action plan,  can boost your financial wellbeing.

The benefits of learning how to talk about money in a relationship

1. Talking about money with your partner can help you build a stronger bond

Talking about money with your partner can be a great way to build a stronger bond in your relationship. You can learn more about each other’s hopes and dreams, and understand more about what makes your partner tick. Money affects all sorts of things in life, so learning how to talk about money when dating can set a great foundation for the future.  

2. Being on the same page can help you achieve your goals, together

If you’re living together, you probably share rent and bills, so conversations about your finances are undoubtedly going to come up.  Knowing how to talk to your spouse about money without fighting is essential for maintaining a happy and healthy relationship. 

3. Talking about finances in a relationship could save you money

As a couple, the load of an individual paying rent and bills is shared. That can leave you with more in your pocket or give you more saving and purchasing power. This can be a huge bonus, so use it.

You could talk about saving money. Shine a light on what you’re paying at the moment and lay out your income and expenses, bills and bank statements. Then build a quick and easy budget. Are you both paying for something you could be sharing, are there any couple’s benefits you could be using? Budgets are a great way to spring clean your finances.

You can find out more about creating simple budgets here.

But talking about finances in a relationship can be awkward and embarrassing, especially if one person feels like they are doing more of the heavy lifting than the other. Not only that but finance talk can easily get tangled up with other arguments and issues. So, we tend to avoid these money chats. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t:

4. Planning ahead could help you navigate financial pressures later on

Learning how to talk to your spouse about money without fighting can smooth issues later in life. Buying a house or saving for retirement might not be your focus at the moment. But starting with smaller money conversations, and making budgets and plans, can help you to grow your confidence in your joint finances and build towards those bigger chats in the future.

How to get ready for a money conversation

Knowing how best to approach your finance talk will depend a little bit on both you and the person that you are chatting to. Some people are direct, others need a softer touch. Are you both compatible on how you approach these things? You don’t have to be, but it’s important to prepare realistically for these kinds of conversations.

Maybe the first chat to have is an open one about your personalities and goals? This can help you both to prepare for conversations further down the road. What are your goals, where do you see yourselves in the future, are you the sort to save or the type to spend, where do you both stand financially at the moment and is anything set to change?

Once you have a handle on the sort of person they are and what approach they’re most likely to respond to, here are some tips on how to prepare for a money conversation:

Choose when to chat

Instead of waiting for  the right moment to start a money chat,  you could suggest the idea and decide on a time together. Then you’re both invested and will have time to prepare beforehand. It can help to choose a time when you’re both relaxed. Maybe at the weekend instead of when you’re both running out the door to your commute.

Choose where to chat

This depends on you and your partner, but finding a good place for a money conversation can help it go smoothly. Some people like to be at home, where you can surround yourself with bills and bank statements, whereas others will be more successful in a neutral space like a cafe or on a walk. What’s the most relaxing environment for you both?

Practice your point

You don’t need to over-prepare or learn a script, but taking some time to be really clear of exactly what you want to say will help you to communicate it better. Saying what you want to say clearly, calmly and with clarity will help the other person understand your point and help them to get on board with what you’re trying to say.

Finance talk: tips on how to talk about money

Once you’ve got the time and place, and your points are clear in your head, it’s time to have the chat. If you’ve been thinking about and planning this for longer than the other person, remember to make space for them to speak.That can help you both get what you need from this conversation. 

Here are some tips on how to keep the conversation flowing in the right way:

You’re a team, talk about ‘us’

Try to make your money conversations about working together and sharing goals. A great way to unite everybody in the conversation is to talk about ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘our’, instead of saying ‘you’ or ‘me’. Words like ‘you’ can seem accusatory when you’re talking about what somebody is or isn’t doing. That might make them feel anxious, or even defensive. 

When people feel backed into a corner, they are more likely to defend themselves.  That makes conversations combative. At that point, people try to score points instead of listening to each other. Make finance talks about what actionable things you can do as a team: “we should look at how much we’re spending”, “can we start adding more to our savings?”

This is particularly true when you start your conversation. Your opener has the power to shape how the rest of the discussion will go. Think about different ways you can say something. There’s a big difference between: “Your credit score is damaging our chances of getting a mortgage”” and “Shall we take a look at our credit reports and see if we can find a way to boost our credit scores?”

Be direct and honest

While you do want to be careful about how you word your points when you start a money conversation, you don’t want to beat around the bush too much. That can just confuse the issue. It’s important to be as direct as possible. Consider the problems and potential solutions outside of an emotional space. What direct, practical steps can be taken?

Generally it is a good idea to avoid these conversations when you’re feeling emotional about them. Instead, try to find a time when your mind is a bit clearer and you’re considering what can be done rather than how you feel about it. That being said, honesty is still important. But a calmness and clarity will often make conversations flow much better.

Listen to the other person

If you’re bringing up the conversation, and if you’ve spent time preparing, it’s likely you feel strongly about it. That’s good, it means you’ve taken the time to consider it. But the other person might have their own opinion that’s just as valid. Listening is a crucial part of any chat. Otherwise, it’s not a two-way conversation, it’s a lecture.

Make room for your differences. It’s okay not to see eye-to-eye on everything. There could be financial hurdles that you feel differently about. But maybe there are other ways around them? Try to focus on solutions rather than problems. Keep the conversation about what you can do together in the future, not what either of you have done in the past.

Give the other person space to make their points, don’t interrupt. Genuinely listen to what they say. If you find listening difficult, you could make some rules like allotted times when you each speak uninterrupted. Remember, success often comes out of compromise. If both parties feel like they have a stake in the resolution, they’re more likely to stick to it. 

Agree on your next steps

Great, so you’ve had your first money conversation. You’ve lifted the weight off your shoulders with all the stuff you wanted to say out in the open. But what is the outcome and what are you both doing next, as a team? Having the conversation is one thing, but you still might need to move things forward.

Agreeing on your next steps will help to give you a roadmap. Depending on the scale of your plan, you may need to break these steps down into more manageable chunks so that they don’t feel too daunting. Top tip: Making sure that there are things for you both to do on the list can make it feel more like teamwork.

End on a high

Try to end on the positives. Acknowledge that you’ve had what might have been a tough conversation for everybody involved. Focus on what was good about it at the end, including your next steps. Why not change up the atmosphere by heading for a drink or a meal (or something free if your next steps are about spending less on going out)?

Talking finances with your partner, friend or loved-one isn’t always easy. Be sure to take stock of the fact that you have solved a problem as a team and that you’re proud of that. And you’ve started practising an important life skill together! Remember to position the financial problem or issue as the thing that you need to work together to overcome. It’s you and them against the world, not each other.

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Sign up for our monthly emails and we’ll do our best to help you find your way on your journey with money
Give your credit score a boost
For just £2.50 a week, you could see your credit score rise by up to 300 points in the first three months
Get started
Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed