Talking money with your family

Quick answer: Families can de-stress their lives and feel much more empowered if they regularly discuss household finances and financial planning.

Money can be harder to talk about than politics or religion

Money concerns are a big worry for many Americans, putting a strain on their relationships. Yet few Americans are having frank conversations with their families about money and saving, according to a 2014 Wells Fargo Financial Health study. In fact, people are more comfortable talking about politics, religion, and taxes than they are about personal finance.

It’s time for Americans to open up about finances, and to engage their families in conversations about responsible saving, spending, and planning.

33% of married or partnered adults say they have difficulty discussing money with their spouse or partner, and 25% have “heated discussions” with their partners about finances. And only 36% of American parents say they discuss the importance of saving with their kids.

So America: It’s time to talk about finances

Families can de-stress their lives and feel much more empowered if they regularly discuss household finances and financial planning. Couples may want to consider talking about:

  • Financial priorities and goals
  • Creating a spending plan
  • Goals for shopping and spending
  • Where they want to live
  • Using credit
  • Planning for the future

And parents may want to talk with their children about the value of a dollar, how to tell the difference between “want” and “need,” and ways to start saving and earning more, even at a young age.

“Only a third of adults have some type of financial plan or a simple household budget in place, which means most Americans don’t have the roadmap needed to improve their financial health” says Karen Wimbish, director of Retail Retirement at Wells Fargo. “…there’s a lack of understanding about the importance of designing a plan.

According to the survey, 71% of American adults learned the importance of saving from their own parents, yet only one third of today’s parents say they talk about saving money with their children regularly; 64% say they discuss savings with their kids less than once a week — or not at all.

The bottom line? Americans need to talk with their families about their finances. “Not spending time today to think about the future can be costly in the long-run,” says Wimbish. “I think of personal finance in the same vein as my health — I wouldn’t keep concerns about my physical health private. I’d consult a doctor or talk to a friend or family member about it.”