Not-so-fun fact: 61% of women say they’d rather talk about their own death than have a conversation about money. That’s some societal money taboo BS, and we’re ready to change that. So this is The Money Talk, a series in which we’ll be answering example* questions about how to kick-start important money convos.
Lately, I’ve really started getting more involved in my own financial wellness. I made a budget, started an emergency fund, and put together a plan to get on track for my dream retirement. I’ve also started learning more about investing outside of retirement. (Self-five!)
It’s true, what they say — even though I still have work to do, diving into my finances already has me feeling more confident and excited about the future. And the better I feel, the more I want to talk about it!
The problem is, I’m on a financial wellness island in my friend group — they’re just not into it yet. How can I spread the wealth, so to speak? Is there a good way to encourage my friends to explore their own financial wellness so we can bask in this great feeling together, without accidentally making it sound like I’m judging or preaching?
One Is the Lonelie$t Number
We love *everything* about this. 👏 Congrats on doing the thing — there really is nothing quite like that feeling of taking financial control and putting you (and Future You) first.
It makes sense that you want to help your friends get there, too. After all, you love them and want them to be happy! And talking about money with our friends is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and each other. Keep in mind, though, that personal finance can be a deeply personal topic with the power to trigger a lot of emotions. While we can hold space for each other and offer to help (when it’s wanted), everyone has to make the choice to seek financial wellness for themselves. Above all, you want to respect their journey! You shouldn’t feel like it’s your responsibility, either.
With that said, here are a few ideas that might help:
Come out and say it
Sometimes, addressing the elephant in the room can make it disappear. By showing them you’re sensitive to how your words might come across, you can make your (good) intentions clearer.
“Hey! So lately I’ve been getting really into personal finance. It’s actually turned out to be great for my mental health. I’m learning a ton, and I’d love to tell you about the lightbulbs that went on in my head and some of the exciting goals I’m working on. But I don’t want it to come across like I’m being preachy! Would you be OK with me sharing those things with you?”
Ask for accountability
Another way you can bring financial wellness into your social circle is to ask a friend to help you stay accountable to a goal. This is kind of the backdoor approach — ideally they’ll a) start to get a bit more comfy talking about money, and b) maybe feel a bit inspired as they watch you rack up those money wins. (You could even offer to reciprocate if they have any goals they’ve been noodling on.)
“I’ve been thinking, and I really want to try to try to pay off my credit card debt by the end of the year. I need help staying strong and sticking to my budget so I can pay extra on them each month. Would you be my accountability buddy and check in with me on that from time to time?”
Lead with love
Your desire to help your friends is coming from the heart. If they can tell that you’re reaching out because you really want to help, they’ll be more likely to respond well. So build on what’s there: Maybe they’ve expressed frustration about something money-related in the past — the burden of student loans, perhaps, or the stress of stretching every paycheck. Try suggesting a resource to help with that specific problem.
“Hey! I saw this article about paying off debt in a newsletter this morning and found it super helpful. It reminded me of that time we were talking about our student loans, and I thought you might want to see it, too.”
(Shameless plug — this technique also works well if you want to encourage someone to join Ellevest, because there’s something in it for them. If you’re a member, you can send them an invite and they’ll get three months free.** 😉)
Use the “bathroom approach”
OK, we just made that up. But you remember how in middle school (or, more recently, at the club), we went to the bathroom in groups? It was all about having each other’s backs (and avoiding creeps). That feeling totally translates to financial wellness, especially if you find an event to attend together (like Ellevest’s workshops, for example).
“Hey, look at this budgeting workshop I just found! It sounds interesting, but I don’t want to go alone. Do you want to do it with me?”
(May we suggest our special Galentine’s Day event, Money & Friendship: How To Harness Your Financial Superpower?)
Let someone else do the teaching
The key to not coming across like you’re talking down to someone is to avoid positioning yourself as an expert counseling a rookie. Luckily, there are plenty of great resources out there to point your friends to, rather than trying to teach them about money yourself. You could even have everyone over for wine and apps and call in a coach to help you learn together.
Hope this helps! You (and your friends) have so totally got this.
The Ellevest Team