Talking to your friends about money is a big deal. It’s not just something to discuss with your partner; it’s also important with your friends. Treat it like any other topic, such as work or dating, because it matters too.
I would say talking about money is one of the most important topics, as it is often a taboo subject that gets ignored. A lot of people don’t have confidence, knowledge, or interest in the topic. This often goes hand in hand. Once you lift up your confidence, knowledge, or interest, it will lead to an upward spiral of personal finance goodness. Personal finance really can be an empowering part of life, if you work with it and are not against it.
More and more, I notice that personal finance gets avoided in conversations. It doesn’t get to the top of people’s priority list, even when finances are an undeniable part of life.
Getting good with finances requires practice, like getting good at anything in life requires practice. It’s about learning how to declutter your home and sell the things you no longer need, thinking about what is important to you, making a budget (and sticking to it), spending less on groceries, and learning how to invest. These are all part of a much larger picture: reaching your financial goals. Whether it’s financial independence, early retirement, becoming debt-free, or anything in between.
We work out to achieve health, we work hard to get a good career, we spend time with our loved ones to get great relationships, why isn’t money on that list? It can be uncomfortable at first, but believe me: budgeting and saving money is fun too!
As with everything, it gets easier when you’re not doing it alone. Talk to your friends about money and reaching your financial goals will become easier! Let’s dive into the dos and don’ts of talking with friends about money.
Dos And Don’ts Of Talking With Friends About Money
You should be aware of the fact that talking about money can be uncomfortable for some people. You don’t want to offend anyone that is making other decisions than you are. Treat your friends – and everyone for that matter – how you want to be treated.
Showing empathy and respect are the basics of a good talk. Once you have that covered, I would say simply go for it! Ask the things you want to ask and talk about the things you’re currently dealing with, it’s great to have some money talk with your friends!
Dos Of Talking To Friends About Money
- Go first – something very important that I found, go first! People are often not comfortable with sharing their exact finances when you’re asking the questions but not talking about your specific numbers.
- Ask open-ended questions – if there are some things that you want to know more about, ask an open-ended question. That way they can talk about it if they feel comfortable, but they can give a general answer or skip the topic when they don’t want to talk about it.
- Start with a general topic – Start with some you’ve read online, a way that really worked for you, a specific app that you’ve read about. In that way, everyone can chip into the conversation if they want to.
- Be supportive – it’s amazing when people celebrate with you! I’ve negotiated a 20% raise this year and I was so proud, so I love my friends to celebrate that with me. You really show your support to people by cheering for them when they’ve accomplished something awesome.
- Stay true to yourself – some of your friends are spending money on things you don’t value, or are having some spending habits you don’t feel comfortable with? Just do you. You don’t need to keep up with them and you don’t need to impress them.
- Give suggestions – share some suggestions with your friends when they are for example not sure what do to on the weekend, or how to save some money. You can give them your tips and tricks, to help them.
- Be open-minded – everyone’s situation is going to be different. Keep an open mind and realize that everyone comes from different backgrounds. All your friends will have different upbringings, goals, lifestyles, incomes, and careers. That’s all okay. Don’t worry about where you fall – you shouldn’t compare yourself to your friends anyways. If you’re keeping an open mind and realize that everyone is different, most of the (financial) differences can be overcome.
- Offer your help – if you have some advice for your friends, in any form, share them! You can help them by actually offering advice, by replacing the fancy dinners every week with home cooked meals, or by recommending a book to them.
- Be honest – in order to grow in the area of money and finances, you should be honest. Avoid pretending someone you’re not, your friends should accept you either way. Being honest with yourself and others really show where you are in terms of finances. You don’t need to know everything – being a lifelong learner is the most important thing. The most honest and open you are – the better you will become financially.
Don’ts Of Talking With Friends About Money
- Don’t make assumptions – when you’re talking with friends about money, be aware that you never know someone’s full financial story. Even if you do, don’t make any assumptions about others and their financial decisions. There is always a story behind it.
- Don’t judge – like mentioned before, you don’t know someone’s story. If you’re having a great financial talk and someone is feeling judged, you’re 99% sure that the financial talk will stop there. Try to keep an open mind and be empathic towards someone’s situation.
- Don’t be financially awkward – if you have that friends that are always drinking cocktails while you’re sitting over there sipping your water, their bill might be higher than yours. That friend who’s always asking you to go on all inclusive holidays in the high season. Be open towards them and tell them what’s on your heart. Tell them ‘thanks for inviting me, I’m really trying to save and I would love to be there – can we plan something that doesn’t involve spending money next time?’
- Don’t compare yourself – talking with friends about money should be about lifting each other up.
- Don’t be jealous – often jealousy is coming from comparing yourself to others. It is holding you back, whether you want it to or not.
You want to be the supporting type of friend that people love to surround themselves with. However, protect your energy and make sure that your friends also are the types of people you love to surround yourself with!
Do you talk with your friends about money?
Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.