A new study has revealed that people in the UK find it easier to discuss mental health and infertility than they do money.
The survey of 2,000 UK adults revealed what is and isn’t considered socially acceptable to talk about – with 25% of respondents believing conversation about personal finances to be a no go as it makes them feel “anxious” and “nervous”.
As reported by The Independent, one in five people in the Lowell commissioned study also don’t think it’s suitable to disclose their salary in social settings, while the majority would not talk about the subject of money at work.
Despite wider societal breakthroughs in more openly discussing personal subjects such as mental health and sexuality, it appears that money is still seen as off-limits as a conversation topic in the UK.
A separate study also found that a quarter of British adults have lied about their personal financial situation to family or friends – with 11% revealing they have lied to their partner about how much debt they have.
Another 23% said they have misled their partner about finances, while 37% have had arguments about money with their other half.
This study, commissioned by Lloyds Bank, found that 60% of the 2,806 adults surveyed also believe it is important to know the financial status of your partner before fully committing to them.
Why do we find it so difficult to talk about money?
To many people, money is considered a taboo subject.
In the Lowell survey, more than half of the people feared they would be judged if they were to open up to someone about personal issues, financial or otherwise.
This is a common theme, as many people worry about the consequences of revealing they are struggling financially and how it would make others see them.
Fears that talking about money will break up relationships or affect employment are common concerns.
Bev Budsworth MD of The Debt Advisor comments: “If the prospect of speaking to anyone you know about your money or debt issues is beyond contemplation, there are organisations including The Debt Advisor who are appropriately regulated who are willing to chat and provide advice.
“The process will help you build a comprehensive picture of your finances; identify the problem(s) and also possible solutions. Matching a problem with a solution will make you feel better and more empowered to then tackle the problem.”
Why should we talk about money?
Avoiding discussions about money can have a detrimental effect on your mental health.
Many people who avoid talking about finances with those close to them have experienced loss of sleep and the majority of those polled in the survey expressed the wish that society made it easier and more acceptable to discuss these issues openly.
It is estimated that around 7.4 million Brits struggle sleeping due to money worries, with over 1.7 million worrying about debt issues on a regular basis.
Not communicating about money can also hurt those around you. If you have joint accounts with your partner or both of your names are on household bills, not discussing any money issues can affect the other person’s credit rating or financial future.
It is increasingly vital then to open up the conversation around money and to talk more openly about your personal finances, as it can have a significant, positive impact on your life and mental health.
Talking about your finances with people will also make you realise that you are not alone and that others have similar worries and stresses when it comes to finances.
How to have a conversation about money
The majority of those polled in the surveys expressed the wish that society made it easier and more acceptable to discuss these issues openly.
Many people feel stressed about the idea of having a conversation about money but ideally you should try to have regular, open discussions about money with those close to you so that the anxiety doesn’t build up and you have to wait for a serious situation which needs urgent action to talk.
You might find it best to prepare before having a serious conversation about money with your partner, family or friends, picking a best time and place to talk so you don’t get disturbed and knowing the main talking points you want to discuss so you don’t lose track.
If you’re worried, it may help to start the conversation in a less direct way rather than asking someone to sit down and bringing up the subject immediately.
When you do have the conversation about money, you should also be mindful of both your emotions and the emotions of the person you are speaking to, especially if it is a difficult discussion.
You should also try not to interrupt the other person and avoid being judgmental, as well as being prepared to deal with any negative reactions.
Want to talk but don’t know where to turn?
The Debt Advisor may be able to help.
If you are struggling with debt, The Debt Advisor can help advise you on how to better manage your finances or help you to deal with debts.
The Debt Advisor Ltd is authorised and regulated by The Financial Conduct Authority, number 659920.
This means we are able to offer debt advice and deliver both formal and informal debt solutions. We hope that the information and debt advice on this site including Frequently Asked Questions, will help inform you.
There are sources of free debt advice and services. You can find out more by contacting the Money Advice Service on 0800 138 7777 or by visiting their website.