Some of the most awkward and unpleasant conversations to have are about money, because financial issues can crop up within many different relationships. Whether it’s a spouse who is spending more than your budget allows, a relative who has borrowed money and hasn’t paid it back, a child who wants a raise in their allowance, or a friend who keeps asking for a loan -discussing money-related issues can sometimes be incredibly uncomfortable.
But those conversations, as hard as they may be, are also very necessary. If you’re struggling to find the right words or the right approach, these suggestions may help you get the ball rolling and put those issues behind you.
Just do it. The longer you wait, the more your resentment and frustration will build. Putting off hard conversations isn’t going to make the need for them disappear – it just makes you more annoyed as you continue to witness the behavior that sparked the need for the conversation in the first place. There’s never going to be a “perfect time” so just get it over with so you can start to move forward with a mutual understanding about how you’re going to resolve your issues.
Remain calm. You may be riled up about the situation, but showing your anger or being aggressive is not a productive way to convince someone to see things your way. Try to be as calm as possible as you state your case, and make an effort to truly listen to the other person’s side of the story. Remember that this person is important to you and you don’t want money to come between you.
Be flexible. Yes, you want the situation resolved, but be open to the possibility that it might not happen exactly the way you want it to. Maybe it’ll take longer than expected for your Aunt Mildred to pay back that $1500, or maybe your spouse really does need that extra $50 a month for miscellaneous expenses. It’s about being open and honest, and working together to find a solution that works for both of you
Come prepared. Bring bank statements, or a suggested repayment schedule, or a revised family budget, or whatever else you think will help you make your point and move the conversation towards actionable next steps. Make sure you end the conversation knowing exactly what is expected of all parties so you don’t have to revisit old ground in the future.
It’s never a nice feeling when money becomes an issue between friends or family members, but it does happen every now and then. Remember that the relationship was there before the money problem, and if you approach it in a respectful and productive way, you’ll have a much better chance of quickly resolving the issue and getting back to enjoying the bond you’ve always had.
If you need a little extra advice, don’t forget that as a Foresters member you have access to Everyday Money, our toll-free financial helpline that connects you to an accredited counselor who can help answer your questions about your personal financial matters such as debt management and budgeting. Visit MyForesters.com for more information.
414627B CAN/US (02/17)