South Africa

Why you should be having difficult money conversations with your loved ones

talking about money

We all love talking to our loved ones, but not when the conversation turns to money. Our upbringing focused on not saying too much about money because if you have a lot, people will want to borrow from you and when you do not have any, people will talk about you.

“Be honest with yourself. How often do you find yourself thinking about money? For most of us, it is every hour of every day. This seemingly unquenchable force has a silent, yet relentless grip on our lives, often dictating our ability to be happy and move forward,” says Cebile Zibi, chief marketing officer at Momentum Money.

Why is money such an emotional topic for most of us? Why are we not having more open discussions about money with our families, ourselves and with those we love? Instead, we choose to put up barriers that block us on our journey to financial independence, she says.

ALSO READ: Why your partner’s financial habits matter

Difficult money conversations

Momentum Money is now on a mission to identify, unpack and resolve the difficult money conversations holding so many South Africans back. A meeting with marriage counsellors, a behavioural scientist, a psychologist and a few media personalities about these difficult money conversations identified these key conversations:

  • Impact of your upbringing on money attitudes and behaviours: How your upbringing shapes your view on money and influences your financial dynamics and behaviours in relationships and within your family.
  • Saying no to family: overcoming financial guilt and obligations: Learning to prioritise your financial well-being by saying no to family members’ financial requests and overcoming the guilt often associated with putting yourself first.
  • Sharing savings goals: to tell or not to tell? Exploring the pros and cons of sharing your savings goals with partners and families, discussing important approaches to savings like aligning savings goals, or revealing your own “secret” savings fund.
  • Trust vs. dependence: Financial independence in relationships. It often happens that one member of a family becomes the controller of the finances. How do we navigate the balance between trust and financial independence within a family unit?
  • Rebuilding your financial footing when your partner is gone: Whether it is due to divorce, death or the end of a long-term relationship, separating from your partner can be one of the most traumatic and emotional financial challenges. We can become so dependent on each other that we forget what they do for us, leaving us financially stranded when they are gone. Couples must have the right conversations with the right financial knowledge in place to ensure they are prepared for the most unfortunate and tragic realities and this is especially critical when a partner passes away. When it comes to your finances, death must be part of the discussion.
  • Importance of discussing death and finances: Nobody wants to talk about it, but everyone knows that we all share the same fate. It should not be difficult to have a conversation about death and finances to ensure our loved ones continue to live the life you want for them when you are gone. Having crucial financial discussions that protect us and our families in the event of an unexpected death is vital.
  • Understanding the psychology behind our relationship with money: We must all explore the psychological factors that influence our spending habits and financial decisions. More importantly, we need to understand how we process and talk about this to build a stronger relationship with money and our loved ones.

In the end, Zibi says money does not have to be a mystery or a source of stress in your life.

“These conversations can help transform our relationships with money, leading to stronger connections with the people in our lives. This is also the best way to start your savings journey, because it can and should be an individual journey,” she says.