Have better money conversations.
Yes, I know easier said than done. And many people, myself included, are or can be, a little reserved about our personal financial sheet. Like, the people who know exactly how much money I have right down to the penny, is myself and Chase bank. I don’t even want Uncle Sam to know how I have.
But if we don’t learn to share some of the lessons we’ve learned from our money decisions – good, bad or different – with those we love and care about, they could be doomed to repeat avoidable, costly mistakes. Or miss out on a great financial opportunity.
We need to learn to have better money conversations (yes, I’m going to keep saying that). And we don’t have to divulge everything. Now, if someone asks you point blank how much you make a year, I could understand you’d be put off by that. And having answered this question a few times a few different ways, the best answer I’ve given, to my recollection:
I make enough money to allow myself to build an emergency fund, save for a long term goal, save for retirement, pay all my bills, invest in the stock market, pay down my student loans, and have a little left to hang out and treat myself, if I choose to.
Now, I never disclosed the exact dollar amount I earn, but I shared how that dollar amount is broken down in categories that are important to me. So, I’ve opened the conversation to discuss savings, investing, paying off debt, thinking about the future and living in the moment. All of which are tied to my finances and overall well-being. And these conversations get better when I someone follows up their question asking how much am I saving. Again, I don’t have to say how that figure is, but I can share where and what I’ve learned about saving, what my savings journey has been like and what milestones I’ve reached.
The conversation needs to happen because that’s where we find our support and courage to make the changes we know we need to.
A former friend of mine, Elissa, use to tell me it was me talking in her ear about having an emergency fund that encouraged her to get through a month where she wasn’t working because she had saved and prepared ahead of time by building an emergency fund. I’m no financial advisor, but I was willing to have that conversation with her. Do the same. Both parties can benefit from it.
Have better financial conversations with your siblings, your parents, your friends, your significant others, your colleagues, your fellow hustlers. And always, with yourself.