Picture the scene: you’re sitting with your loved ones and someone suddenly brings up the topic of money. How does this make you feel? According to recent Standard Life research, many people are uncomfortable opening up to friends and family about money. Here, we explore why talking about it could be helpful right now.
How are people feeling at the moment?
This year, our Retirement Voice 2023 study questioned more than 6,000 UK adults and found 54% of people are stressed or anxious about their finances due to cost-of-living issues. Over a quarter of people have had sleepless nights as a result of trying to manage their money. And 59% say current financial pressures are making them worry about what their future might look like.
But while financial pressures have clearly been weighing on people’s minds, we found that 42% of people don’t feel comfortable talking with friends and family about money. This is up from 40% last year.
Why it can be good to talk
Tempted to bottle up your money worries? There may be some good reasons not to – especially at a time when many are experiencing similar financial pressures.
The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) says talking about money can help people make better, less risky decisions about their finances. Think about it this way: you could gain knowledge and insight from other people or learn from their experiences.
MaPs also say conversations about money can help children form good lifetime money habits.
Discussing money could help strengthen your personal relationships. And it could have practical benefits. Speaking about money could help you budget with your loved ones. It might also help you understand their wishes for the future – for example, in the event of death or illness.
Finally, talking about money could potentially reduce your stress and anxiety. The people you talk to may be able to give you emotional support. And just talking through your concerns might let you make more sense of your financial situation.
Why do people avoid money talk?
Shame or embarrassment and being concerned about burdening others are some of the most common reasons for people keeping quiet about money, according to research from MaPS.
But others may have different reasons. For example, some may believe their situation can’t be changed. Or perhaps some people feel they weren’t raised to talk about money.
Ultimately, opening up about your concerns – with whoever you think is most suitable – may give you more confidence to take some practical actions for your finances.
When you’re ready, there are different steps you can take for your finances, depending on what your money worries actually are.
Worried about spending too much now?
If you’re worried about your spending while costs are still high, you could visit our support with everyday money worries page. This has tips on how you can reduce your outgoings and can also help you understand where to get help with debt.
You could also check to see you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to.
Worried about running out of money in retirement?
If you’re worried about running out of money during your retirement, why not try to track down any pension plans you may have misplaced? You can do this through government’s Pension Tracing Service. This could help make sure you won’t be missing out on any of your hard-earned retirement savings.
And check your personal details are up to date across your plans, as this could reduce your chances of misplacing them in future. If you're a Standard Life customer, you can usually update your details online.
Finally, you can look our pension calculator to see how much money you could have in your pension pot in the future. Don’t panic if you’re not quite where you want to be – you can use this information to help you make decisions about your money going forward.
Remember, a pension is an investment. Its value can go down as well as up and you may get back less than was paid in.
More help and support
If you don’t feel it’s safe for you to talk about money and you believe you’re experiencing financial abuse, you can find more information on MoneyHelper.
And if your money worries are making it hard for you to cope, helplines like Samaritans can help. They are there day or night, and you can call them for free on 116 123.
The information here is based on our understanding in November 2023 and should not be taken as financial advice.
Standard Life accepts no responsibility for information in external websites. These are provided for general information.
A pension is an investment. Its value can go down as well as up and you may get back less than was paid in.