Money Week 2019: Now We're Talking

New research shows that most New Zealanders would rather talk about drugs, alcohol and politics than money, and many don’t talk about money at all with their family, friends and colleagues.

A survey by the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC) for its annual Sorted Money Week, running from September 9-15, showed that money topics such as debt, saving and mortgages came a poor second to alcohol, politics and drugs as conversation starters.

Among friends, 35% would rather talk about alchol, 31% about politics and 25% about drugs compared to KiwiSaver (26%), saving (24%) or debt (21%).

Parents would rather cover drugs (26%) and alcohol (27%) than tell their children how much they earned (14%) or talk about the risks of personal loans (12%).

Between partners, planning for retirement was one of the least discussed topics (38%). Even adult children would rather talk to their parents about politics (23%) than planning for retirement (16%).

Out of a list of 10 money topics that also included KiwiSaver, credit cards, budgeting and bills, 31% of parents ticked ‘none of the above’ as topics they discussed with their children. Among friends, 34% said they never discussed those issues, 42% of adult children never discussed money with their parents, and 56% of workers said money was off limits among colleagues. Perhaps suprisingly, 58% of respondents said they did not discuss with their partner how much they earned.

Sorted’s Managing Editor, Tom Hartmann, says the theme of this year’s Money Week, Now We’re Talking, aims to encourage New Zealanders to open up and start those tricky conversations.

“Not talking about money can be a source of stress, anxiety and unnecessary problems for many people,” says Hartmann. “Personal finances are intertwined with our relationships – how we handle money affects those around us, and vice versa.”

When asked why people didn’t like talking about money, the most common answer was that it wasn’t an accepted topic of conversation. Other reasons were fear of judgement, worrying that people might ask for money, partners having different views of money, and wanting to protect children from money worries.

Hartmann says the first step in dealing with money problems is to share them, and talking about money helps us to set goals and plan how to reach them.

“Children start to form their attitudes and habits around money from the age of seven, so the sooner we start to talk to our kids about money the better,” says Hartmann.

For couples, getting on the same page about money can help lift the weight of trying to deal with problems alone, and empower them to plan their future in a constructive way.

Sorted’s website has tips for how to start money conversations with children, partners, friends and colleagues, plus links to all of Sorted’s guides and tools.