Money is an emotive topic and it’s not difficult to understand why. As much as we might try to deny it, money kind of makes the world go round and many people often face times during their life where they simply do not have enough money to do all the things they would like to do or even just to meet their regular financial commitments. It’s important to talk about money now more than ever, as we face inflation rises and energy price increases beyond levels seen in recent years. Unfortunately, managing money is only going to get harder for a lot of people.

How talking about money can help

Your personal financial affairs are an area where even just a simple conversation with a trusted family member or friend every now and then could do wonders. While you do have to practise budgeting and build savings habits – all things that require actions – improving your financial wellbeing can be done simply through talking, reading, and learning about the different ways to improve your financial circumstances. Sometimes, finding out you’re not alone in your anxiety about money is enough to make you feel a little more in control.

If you have someone you regularly discuss personal matters with, then consider bringing up the subject of money. It’s important to have these conversations with someone you trust and feel comfortable with. You don’t need to go into specifics – especially if this is the first time you’re mentioning money with them, but having a casual conversation, perhaps about how much your energy bills have risen or the price of your food shop going up, for example, can get the ball rolling. You’ll probably find that they have similar experiences to you and may even have found some tips or ways to save money on their typical day-to-day spending that you could also implement.

Knowledge is often about sharing, which is why talking about money is so important. It also helps to break down the stigma around financial affairs, because money shouldn’t be a negative and stress-inducing topic when it’s so vital to your quality of life.

If you’re not yet comfortable discussing your own financial matters with someone else, then you can still have conversations on a more general basis. There is a lot of media coverage at the moment about the rising costs of living, so most people are aware of the need to have open conversations on the matter. However, it is a personal and difficult thing for some people to discuss, so you can also try reading online forums or money advice pages to help improve your financial literacy without disclosing any personal information. There are also free and impartial debt advice services that can offer guidance at no charge if you think you’re struggling with money or facing potential problem debt.

It doesn’t matter how you approach the topic of money – whether silently online or over coffee with a friend, by starting these conversations, you will be helping to improve your financial wellbeing.

Why is financial wellbeing important?

A lot of work is being done to raise awareness of the importance of mental health, and you probably remember the wave of campaigns a few years ago which aimed to emphasise the necessity of exercise for a healthy lifestyle. Financial wellbeing, on the other hand, is less widely promoted, likely due to the privacy we’ve come to associate with our finances. But financial wellbeing is important for managing money effectively and reducing stress and anxiety. It involves creating and practising habits that make your day to day living easier and prepare you better for financial shocks like a sudden loss of earnings or expensive car repair; and means you might spend less time looking for where to borrow money now and more time focusing on how you can reduce your dependency on credit.

Financial resilience, stability and wellbeing are all intwined, and often it takes a little work to start seeing results. One of the ways you can do this is by talking to your friends and family about the different economic struggles you and they face so that money doesn’t become a scary topic of conversation, but rather one you feel confident and comfortable handling. Talking about money is not something we love to do – even if you’re not struggling in any way, most people view their financial affairs as a private matter and so they shy away from money-related conversations. However, we’ve all heard the phrase “a problem shared is a problem halved” and while you might not have a problem as such, discussing things like your finances and upcoming financial decisions could release some of that economic stress and make you feel more confident about handling money.