It’s not easy to talk about money, especially when you’re not managing it well. In a society where appearances are sometimes more important than the truth, it’s easier to put on a good face — and maybe buy a shiny new car — than to admit that you’ve got money issues.
It doesn’t help that money is a taboo topic. According to a 2014 survey by the American Psychological Association, 32% of Americans feel uncomfortable talking about money with family. But even if you grew up thinking that talking about money is a no-no, here are 5 reasons why discussing your struggles is crucial to your financial future.
1. Vulnerability is empowering
The main reason it’s hard to talk about money problems is the fear of judgment. In some families or circles of friends, that fear is more than a mere possibility. But if you continue to act like nothing’s wrong, nothing will change.
Even if you don’t expect your family or friends to be super helpful, talk about it anyway. The act of sharing something you’re grappling with can give you the emotional strength to face it.
This process also forces you to be honest with yourself about your situation. Once you reach this point of self-honesty, it’s easier to take the next step and address it.
2. They might have some good advice
There may not be a financial advisor or money coach in your family or circle of friends, but that doesn’t mean your friends and family can’t offer guidance. Since they all deal with their personal finances on a daily basis just like you, they may have experiential knowledge that may be useful.
And, since money can be a tough topic to talk about, it’s likely that you don’t know what their experiences are until you ask. For example, if you’re considering bankruptcy, a family member or friend may be able to talk about a similar experience and how they got through it financially and emotionally.
Even if they don’t have experiences that they can draw upon, your family and friends may still know about some options that you haven’t considered yet. But again, you won’t know until you ask.
Along these lines, your inner circle may know of some good resources you can tap into. They may know a financial advisor or money coach that can help you out. Or perhaps they recently read a great book on managing finances, or know about some good websites that offer helpful advice on various personal finance topics.
3. They’re not perfect either
We’ve all made money mistakes.
Even if your family members or friends are in a good place financially, they may still be able to empathize with your situation based on past experiences. In some cases, that empathy can help you feel as if you’re not alone. It may also give you the confidence to get back on the right track.
4. They can keep you accountable
By reaching out for help, you may get more than you expect. For example, maybe someone in your inner circle will even volunteer to be your sounding board, aka accountability partner.
As you’re working toward improving your financial situation, having this partner can help you stay on track. For example, you can set up a time to chat with this person once a week to talk about how you’re doing. Or, if she has experience managing money, you can even ask her to take a look at your budget and help you see your blind spots.
5. They care about you
Above all, it’s important to understand that your family and friends care about you and want you to succeed.
This doesn’t mean that discussing money will be an easy conversation. It also doesn’t mean that your family and friends will have all the right answers. But it does mean that your loved ones will do anything they can to help you figure things out.
Some of the best financial advice you can get comes from the people closest to you.
As you consider your situation, think about family members or friends that you feel most comfortable approaching to talk about your finances. And, if you don’t feel comfortable at all, push yourself a little. Once you get over that first conversation, your path forward will become a lot easier.