Growing up, you might have been taught that it's impolite to talk about money at a dinner party or other social gathering.
But we're giving you permission to break that rule. The reason: Talking about money can help you make smarter financial decisions, feel more confident in your situation and, ultimately, build wealth. That's a mission most people can probably get behind.
Still, the majority of Americans (62%) say they don't regularly talk about money, according to a recent survey from financial planning company Empower, even though 66% of people believe money conversations can help more people achieve financial freedom.
And while some people may be starting those conversations, they could be going further.
When Americans do talk about money, they're most likely having those conversations with their spouse or partner. However, many couples still don't: Nearly half (46%) of respondents say they don't talk about money with their partners.
On top of that, 75% of people don't have financial conversations with their friends.
There are obvious benefits to discussing finances with your significant other. You might be living together and sharing costs, or planning for a family.
But there are benefits to being transparent and having honest conversations about money with your friends, too. For starters, it can help you feel less alone if you're struggling.
"We frequently read headlines stating that the average American of [some] age bracket isn't saving enough, or doesn't have enough for retirement or cannot stomach an emergency expense or medical bill," Amir Noor, a certified financial planner based in Hauppauge, New York, tells CNBC Make It. "The reality is that your peer group probably isn't doing that well either, and you can feel a lot better by discussing your finances."
While gaining peace of mind is a great first step, going deeper and collaborating with your peers can advance your financial wellness too, Noor adds.
Additionally, you might fare better during negotiations if you get a few peers on board to make the ask with you, whether it's pay with your employer, rent with your landlord or another scenario. But you have to talk about money with them if you want to do that.
"The reality is that talking about finances is the primary way to achieve a consensus on goals, values and dreams," Noor says. "Actually stating those goals is the first, and most important step, in achieving those goals."
Though the majority of Americans aren't comfortable talking about money, younger people are changing the status quo. Both millennials and Gen Zers are twice as likely as baby boomers to regularly talk about money. In fact, 56% of millennials and 49% of Gen Zers say they're having financial conversations on the regular, compared with just 38% of Gen Xers and 22% of baby boomers.
Talking about money can help young people increase their financial literacy as they learn from and teach their friends. But it's equally important for younger people to bring up financial topics with their elders — or at least their more experienced peers — especially when it comes to making big decisions.
"If we don't talk about [money], then we might read something, but really, we're gonna just take our best guess without getting the experience and perspective of others," Craig Birk, chief investment officer at Empower Personal Wealth, tells CNBC Make It.
"It's the same as if you're trying to apply to college — the best thing you can do is talk to other people who went through the process and learn how they did it and what worked for them."
Being transparent about your salary, how much you're paying in rent or the interest rate on your auto loan can help you put things in perspective and understand if you're getting a good deal. That said, your money decisions are yours to make, and so is the information you choose to share with your peers and loved ones.
If you're hesitant to share, try thinking beyond dollar amounts and percentages.
"There are a lot of topics that you can talk about without having to go into dollar figures that still are worth sharing your views on," Birk says. "How to approach [certain tasks], things that have worked for people or not worked for people — you don't always need the specific dollar amounts."
You can learn a lot about how someone thinks about money just by asking them related questions. Here are a few to start with:
From there, you can go deeper and find out how they're accomplishing their goals, what tools they use and any challenges they've faced.
Birk emphasizes that you shouldn't take advice from just anyone. Talk to a variety of people to figure out whose insight is most applicable to your situation.
And remember, there are professionals who can help you navigate all of life's financial decisions. Just like you'd go to a mechanic with car problems or a doctor with health concerns, a financial advisor can be an excellent resource to learn how you can accomplish your money goals.
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