Talking About Money

A piggy bank

Talking about money can be a sensitive topic for many people, and there are many reasons why people might not be comfortable talking about money. It could be due to cultural or societal norms, personal insecurities, or fear of judgement. Additionally, money is a sensitive topic right now due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn of the cost-of-living crisis. Many people have lost their jobs or experienced financial hardship, which can make discussing money even more uncomfortable.

We wanted to explore how uncomfortable people in the UK are when it comes to discussing their finances, so we surveyed the nation and asked questions about buying things for friends and family, attending social events, and having difficult conversations about money. Explore the findings of our survey and delve into some of the reasons why money is such a sensitive topic for many people, as well as our top tips for finding ways to feel comfortable talking to your family and friends about money.

How Brits talk about money

We asked our survey respondents a series of questions and asked them to select any of the statements that they felt were true to them about talking about money:

  • 32.5% of respondents admitted that they sometimes don't ask for the money back after buying an item for a friend or family member as part of their order. This situation also happens to nearly 20% of our respondents at least once a month.
  • Over a quarter (26.9%) of respondents sometimes buy things or attend social events with friends and family, even when they can't afford it, because they feel too embarrassed to say no. This shows how social pressure can sometimes make people feel like they must spend money, even if they can't afford it. Over 80% of our survey respondents have this happen to them between one and ten times a month!
  • The survey also found that 18.9% of respondents feel uncomfortable talking to their family about money - talking about finances with family can be a tricky and awkward topic, especially when you factor in emotions, history, and differing perspectives. But having open and honest conversations about money with your family can be empowering and helpful in the long run.
  • 8.4% of respondents feel awkward talking to their partners about money - the good news is that talking about money can also be an opportunity to get on the same page, set goals together, and strengthen your relationship. So, if you're finding it a bit uncomfortable to bring up money matters with your partner, take it slow, be honest, and remember that you're in this together.
  • 13.5% of respondents admitted that they find talking about money uncomfortable, even though they don't think it should be.
  • A whopping 38.5% of respondents said they would be totally fine with saying no to a social event if they couldn't afford it. Kudos to you guys! We know it can be tough to decline an invite or admit that you're not in a financial position to join in on the fun, but being honest and transparent about your financial situation is a sign of strength and self-awareness.
  • Only 10.6% of respondents always ask their friends for money back if they've lent them some or paid for something on their behalf.

What money conversations do Brits find most difficult?

From the stats we gathered, we found that a large percentage of people found it difficult to talk to their friends, family and partners about money – but what specific conversations are people finding it tough to go into detail on with their loved ones?

According to our survey, almost 38% of respondents feel awkward asking friends or family for their money back after lending it to them. Additionally, almost 30% of people find it uncomfortable to ask for their money back after footing the whole bill for a group meal. Around a quarter of respondents (24.8%) feel uneasy asking to split the food bill according to what each person had. Almost a quarter (24.6%) of respondents feel uncomfortable telling people they can't afford something. Lastly, about 18% of people find it awkward to discuss their bank account balance or savings with others.

Top tips for talking about money

Let's face it, money talk can be tricky, and it's easy to feel uncomfortable when discussing personal finances with those closest to us. This can sometimes lead to misunderstandings, frustration, and even resentment when expectations aren't clear.

However, it's important to remember that talking about money can also be an opportunity to learn from each other, share experiences, and grow together financially. So, don't be afraid to break the ice and start an honest conversation about money with your friends. Who knows, it might even bring you closer together! Here are some tips you can use to talk to your loved ones about money when you need to:

  1. Be honest and direct: Avoid beating around the bush or dropping hints. Instead, communicate your thoughts, feelings, and expectations regarding money.
  2. Choose the right time and place: Don't try to have a deep conversation about finances in the middle of a loud party or when your friend is already stressed out. Pick a time and place where you can both be relaxed, focused, and attentive.
  3. Listen actively: When your friend or family member is sharing their financial situation or concerns with you, give them your full attention, and avoid interrupting or judging them. Try to understand their perspective and needs.
  4. Be empathetic: Money is a sensitive topic, and many people feel embarrassed or ashamed about their financial situation. Show your friend or family member that you care about them and that you're there to support them, not judge them.
  5. Set clear boundaries and expectations: If you're lending or borrowing money, make sure you both agree on the terms and conditions upfront, such as the amount, the repayment schedule, and any interest or fees involved.
  6. Seek professional help if needed: If you or your friend are struggling with debt, budgeting, or other financial issues, don't be afraid to reach out to a financial advisor, debt counsellor, or another qualified professional who can provide guidance and support.

Of course, we all have different comfort levels when it comes to talking about finances, and that's okay. Whether you're a casual borrower or a stickler for repayment, the important thing is to set boundaries that work for you and your relationships. And if you're ever in doubt, don't be afraid to ask for advice from a trusted friend, family member, or financial expert. Together, we can break the taboo around money and build stronger, healthier connections.

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