Talking about money? Please do!

I ran across this post on SavingAdvice.com which argues that it’s almost always a bad idea to talk about money outside of the family. This topic of conversation often leads to jealousy, feelings of superiority, pity, and offense, according to writer Jennifer Derrick. So, she feels the less said about money outside of the family, the better; ideally, nothing should be said.

Taking such a strong stance about money talk does prevent news of your riches or lack thereof from spreading. That’s the upside.

The downside of this strong stance is that it precludes conversations with other like-minded individuals. Recently I enjoyed a conversation with a friend about real estate, retirement, debt, and business. We mentioned specific numbers and suggested some options that might be of benefit. It’s one of several conversations like this I’ve had with my friend.

I have a few friends with whom I talk candidly about finances. My wife calls it “talking cha-ching.”

Discretion and trust are the name of the game

Recently I enjoyed a conversation with a friend about real estate, retirement, debt, and business. We mentioned specific numbers and suggested some options that might be of benefit. Notice how vague that is? That was on purpose. It’s similar to statements in a number of other articles on this website. We talk about these kinds of things, but I’m not going to share this with just anyone, and certainly not on a public website.

If I did, my friend wouldn’t trust me anymore, because I lacked discretion. Those are the keys to having discussions about money with other people. Another friend made this point more directly: He was trusting me not to talk about this to anyone else — not even his spouse. If things slipped out, then he’d not speak to me about specifics anymore.

In most cases, the first person to turn to for financial advice should be in the family — typically your spouse if you have one. But sometimes that’s not enough, and you want to get someone else’s unbiased opinion; there’s nothing wrong with that.

Why not turn to someone else that you trust for financial advice?

John Wedding

Husband. Father. Web publisher. Musician. John has blogged at Mighty Bargain Hunter since 2005, helping people to recognize life's good deals.

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Comments

  1. Money touches on so many emotions that it generally is a bad idea to speak with other people about it. However, I think that there are circumstances where you can confide in a close friend about money. In fact, the opposite side of the spectrum, being completely open about your finances, is pretty refreshing.

  2. I recently faced this dilemma when deciding whether to share my thought processes on paying off my mortgage in one fell swoop with my small bible study group. I know some of the couples are struggling financially, and I didn’t want them to think I was some sort of jerk, bragging about having enough liquid assets to pay off the house. Yet, I wanted the honest opinion of the group members, as we’d been through some Dave Ramsay videos together.

  3. Beyond family, I can talk about finances with my best friend, and it’s nice to have a perspective from someone who grew up in a different lifestyle and family. Someone who can bring more differing opinions to the table.

  4. It’s hard to say on this one – I’ve both lost a close friend and gained another by talking “cha-ching.” It made the one friend feel like money was a competition (it wasn’t, just a passion of mine), but it helped the other friend realize we were in a similar boat financially and we bonded over that. I think talking about money TOTALLY depends on the other person!

  5. I always found that discussing money is not a problem as long as it is handled respectfully. Money is an integral part of our society, and by sharing ones knowledge of money, we can all benefit from our own, unique experiences.

    Of course, one can sound condescending which would be a negative aspect of discussing money. I suppose the key is to feel a person out for if they even have an interest in the subject. After all, money is a topic of interest, and not everyone likes to discuss all interests.

  6. Because I write about finances, a lot of my friends discuss their finances with me. It’s difficult for me to share, but I do occasionally. For example, I became debt free, I threw a good-sized/reasonably fancy party and discussed numbers. That was years ago, but people still recall both the numbers and the party, so I see what you mean. I’m so private that it is unlikely that I discuss numbers on a regular basis, yet I have no problem giving trusted friends a sense of where we’re at.

  7. Although I discuss finances on my blog, I am not really comfortable talking about specific amount with other people, except for my husband and really close friends with whom we share budgeting and savings tips.

  8. Looking at the problems many families have about money (especially between brothers and sisters and especially when there is some money in the family), I think it is often better to talk about money with a trusted friend. For me it is easy, because we do not have any money in the family ;).

  9. I find that if you have no money and commiserate together,it is okay. However, when large amounts of money enter the discussion,trouble can begin to brew. I do have a close friend I can bounce ideas off of though. Still, dangerous territory IMO.

  10. Talking about money is not a secret discussion for me and my wife. We always talk about how we can make a living with the money we have, how we can save without hurting our daily needs and how we can make our money grow in a safe environment.

  11. I agree with this MB – i think that less people would be in trouble financially speaking if they talked about money more. They’d be less afraid to ask for help when they need it.

  12. Thanks for your call for us to have discretion when we’re talking about our personal financial situations. They are personal – not public after all!

    I think it’s okay to answer people about money when they ask to a certain extent, but sharing actual number might be crossing the line.

  13. Talking about money is such a taboo generally but I can’t stress how important it is to chat it through with your children, partner, wife or family. Often your family know you best and as such they may be able to to immediately point out where you can make cut backs if you get into financial difficulty because they have a clearer idea of where you are spending money!

  14. All of us have something to learn about Money from each other. So, it actually does good for you if you talk about money, as long as you are conscious about what/whom you are talking about ;)

  15. Money talk has different levels. I visited http://www.savingadvice.com/ because I’m deeply intrigued with their argument that “it’s almost always a bad idea to talk about money.”

    I love discussing finances with my husband down to the minute details. But I don’t see myself discussing the same to any other person in the world!

    Now I’m not against money discussion with other people. In fact, I love talking about it. However, it would be of different level that will cover possible investments, managing business and the likes. I always look forward to talking to an expert in these areas.

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