There’s a very British saying: “There are two things you never talk about in life: money and politics.” Politics – well that can make sense. But money? Why can talking about it be so difficult: is it our legendary reserve? Or our ‘stiff upper lip’ when times are hard – in other words our savings aren’t as healthy as we’d like?
It’s Talk Money Talk Pensions Week from 18-22 November 2019 and this year it’s about getting people to talk about money and their pension. The goal is “to turn talking about money from one of the UK’s least favourite topics of conversation into something that becomes as natural and familiar as talking about the weather.”
Because the fact is, being able to talk about money can be a huge benefit to our health, wealth and relationships.
Conversations around finances mean that you will be more open to new information, ideas, resources – all of which could make saving for the future easier.
Making better connections with money
“One of the reasons why a lot of us fail to pursue some of our life goals, is usually because of a missing conversation. Money is the one subject that pretty much everyone can relate to, yet it can be the least talked about,” explains Ken Okoroafor, founder of thehumblepenny.com.
“Talking about it will help us ask the difficult questions, such as: why do most of us spend more money than we earn? Why do some of us casually shop on credit when we don’t necessarily need to? Talking helps us question our status quo and better connects us to each other.”
Money is the one subject that pretty much everyone can relate to, yet it can be the least talked about,” explains Ken Okoroafor, founder of thehumblepenny.com.
Why you should make time to talk
It’s time to get talking, so here are our five tips to make talking about money and your pension that bit easier.
1. Talk to yourself!
We’re not suggesting a conversation out loud on public transport. Talking to yourself about money is really about being realistic, and taking the first step in your own head.
Take inspiration from Talk Money Talk Pensions Week by following the #TalkMoney hashtag on social media, or downloading one of the free guides on their website.
Or read a book to get your internal conversation started, like Laura Whateley’s Sunday Times bestseller, Money: A User’s Guide. Then you’ll be more ready to talk about your finances to other people.
2. Discuss with your partner
Your significant other, if you have one, should be your first port of call when you’re talking money – after all, you’re most likely to be sharing some financial responsibilities with them already, and common financial goals can be part of a successful relationship.
Make plans together (short and longer term) and why not set time aside every month or so to talk about how things are going on the finance front? You could do it in a relaxed setting such as over a meal out. That way, finances and your pension plans aren’t seen by either of you as boring or as a negative part of your life together.
And if you’re honest, it makes it easier to tackle things if your finances do hit a rocky patch.
3. Go pro with guidance or advice
Whether you’re starting out in your 20s or 30s, sorting your finances, or getting ready to retire, a good financial adviser will always take the time to talk to you and really understand your circumstances, so that they can give you a personal recommendation for what you should do.
If you’re considering taking advice and don’t have an adviser, you can find one in your area on unbiased.co.uk. Or visit our website for more information about financial advice and 1825, Financial Planning from Standard Life*.
4. Speak up if you need some help
Money is a lot less easy to talk about when there’s not enough to go round. Things happen in life and it can be easy to build up some debt, or struggle with extra financial pressures, especially as Christmas approaches.
According to The Money Charity the average total debt per household in 2019, including mortgages, was £59,441, so many of us could be struggling to have a conversation about debt.
It’s important to speak up: Citizens Advice has a whole host of information to help you get on top of it.
Take a look at their Debt and Money page, then consider making an appointment to talk to someone who can help.
5. Take control
“Simply put, talking about money is empowering. Whether you have lots or a little, being open with the people around you about money, including the successes you have had and the barriers you face, is vital,” says The Money Charity.
So empower yourself by being informed and get talking, whether that’s with your family, partner, adviser or yourself.
Follow social media hashtags like #personalfinance, #savingstips and #moneysaving, listen to podcasts or radio shows like Money Box on BBC Radio 4 or subscribe to email newsletters like Money Savings Expert’s newsletter which is packed with information, guidance and good deals to make your money go further.
And, of course, our own MoneyPlus website is packed with tips and guidance for your life savings.
Elle Tucker is a freelance journalist working on behalf of Standard Life.
* 1825 is a trading name for the Standard Life Aberdeen group’s advice business.
The information here is based on our understanding in November 2019 and should not be taken as financial advice. Standard Life accepts no responsibility for the information contained in the websites referred to in this article. These are provided for general information only.