It can be quite a complex situation that you face when your relatives ask you about your financial situation. If your finances aren’t in the best of shape, you may be embarrassed to answer their questions. Financial discussions of any type can put us—or even the people we’re talking too—in an embarrassing situation. You can find ways to channel the discussion into something that can save some embarrassment to all parties involved. It’s an open question: should you tell your friends and family about your finances?
Much of our willingness to discuss finances with the people who are closest to us may depend on the state of our financial affairs—whether we’re struggling with money, or if we’re doing well.
Should you tell your friends and family about your finances if you’re doing poorly
Sharing financial problems with your friends and relatives can depend on the type of people they are. If your family and friends are the caring type who can give you advice on your problems without judging you, then sharing your financial problems with them can be a real blessing.
However if your family and friends are the other type—the kind who might even pour salt onto already open wounds—the discussion can be worse than just embarrassing. In a different direction, if your friends are more prosperous than you, you might want to avoid the topic at all—especially if they’re the kind of people who tend to flaunt their wealth. In such cases, it might help to keep all discussions in an entirely different direction and away from money matters all together.
Debt can also be an embarrassing topic, as people often become judgmental and blame you for your troubles. (Sometimes that’s true, but sometimes debt stems from circumstances beyond our control.)
But what do you do if others initiate discussions of your finances, discussions you’re not comfortable entering into?
Friends and relatives may be well-intentioned by offering you advice, but if that advice comes with a sharp edge on it, it may not be the type that will be of any benefit to you. It can even make you feel worse than you already do and weaken any ambition you have for dealing with your circumstances.
If money discussions are embarrassing, it can help to control the flow of the conversation. You can initiate a discussion on the latest happenings in the world or in the media, for instance. That can keep your relatives and friends glued to other topics and away from your financial problems.
It can also help to emphasize those areas of your life that are going well, or on those things that you’re good at. For example, if you’re a good cook, preparing a delicious meal can make them completely forget about your financial problems. Being good at something can make others see the good in us.
But you can even feel reluctant if you are rich!
This is another kind of reluctance but in an entirely different direction. If you’re financially better off than your friends and relatives, discussing money can also be embarrassing. Many prosperous people don’t like to talk about money around their friends and relatives out of fear that they may be asked for money. Still others feel that money matters need to be completely private for one reason or another.
But money conversations may also be embarrassing for the people we’re talking to. If you aren’t careful how you handle it, you can make them very uncomfortable. Often people feel that those with money might be lording it over them, or even bragging. If you have a tendency to do that—and you really need to evaluate your conversations and use of words—you could scare them away.
If you’re better off than the people closest to you, make a special effort to make them comfortable in your presence. Try to be very modest in front of your friends especially those who you know are struggling. If they have any financial problems, try to sort that out instead of telling about your finances. Never judge them—there might be root problems they can’t or won’t admit to—try to offer constructive advice, and for goodness sake, don’t try to show off!
Be humble as everyone loves a modest person rather than a proud one. You can even try to reach your relatives and friends to help them in some way; advice and companionship can be every bit as important as money! If you’re blessed to be well off, do your best to be a help to others, not to be another one of their problems.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing well, or doing poorly, talking about finances can be uncomfortable or downright embarrassing.
How do you handle discussing your finances with family and friends—yours or theirs? Are you completely open about your finances with people close to you? Or do you prefer to keep things quiet where money is concerned?
This is a guest post by RP who is a regular writer for various finance related communities. She holds a degree in Marketing and Finance and is currently working in a reputed bank as a relationship manager. She writes articles on debt consolidation, debt settlement, frugality, savings, economies of states etc.