The statistics concerning our personal use of money are not good:
- Nearly 70% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.
- 28% of Americans have no savings at all.
- 63% of us don’t have enough money to cover a $500 emergency.
- The average U.S. household owes $16,061 in credit card debt.
- The average U.S. household debt is 136% of household income.
- 10% of Americans’ disposable income is spent on debt service payments.
- Less than 1/3 of Americans use a budget.
No wonder money remains the most common conflict for American couples and a leading cause of stress.
The statistics concerning our personal financial habits are downright sad. And yet, nobody is talking about it… at least, not in personal terms.
Money remains one of the least-discussed topics of conversation in our society. We have been conditioned, it seems, from a young age to not talk about it. We fear looking foolish in our personal decision-making. We worry about stirring up envy or comparison among our friends and family. Or we are concerned about how we will be perceived.
So it seems easier to not talk about it, to just go at it alone hoping our own judgment will serve us well.
However, based on the numbers above, it is not.
Our silence is ruining us. It is clear that not having the conversation is negatively affecting us as persons, as families, and as a society. Personal finance is a conversation we need to be having with our closest and trusted friends. We have so much to learn from one another in all aspects of life—finances included.
While many people do not have financial advisers they meet with often, almost all of us have friends and relationships with people we look up to. Next time you are with somebody you admire, bring up the topic of personal finance with a spirit of curiosity and humility. Try asking some important questions.
Here are seven to get you started:
1. Can I ask you a money question? I’m looking for some advice. About what percentage of your income do you spend on housing? How did you decide on that amount?
2. Do you have a monthly payment on your car? When you bought the vehicle, how did you decide how much you were going to spend?
3. I have a personal question for you if you don’t mind. Are you currently saving money for retirement? Are you happy with how much you are saving?
4. Do you have health insurance? Can I ask how much you pay for it?
5. Did you have to take out a loan for school? If so, are you doing anything to pay it off early?
6. Do you and your spouse set a financial budget for your home? Do you have good tips on how to find something that works?
7. What is the best piece of financial advice you’ve ever received?
I’m not assuming your friend will have all the perfect answers to these questions. But sometimes, the first step to finding the correct answer is simply beginning the conversation. And our world clearly needs more people doing that.[“Source-forbes”]