Talking About Money with Family and Friends

Talking About Money with Family and FriendsWhat topics do you avoid discussing with family and friends?

Typically if we want to have a peaceful family gathering or a nice evening with friends, we tend to stay away from the topics of politics and religion for sure.

And if we are honest, we also avoid talking about money.

The discussion of finances can get very, very personal and very, very uncomfortable, very, very quickly.

But is there a time when we can discuss the subject of money with friends and family?

And if so, how do we go about it?

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In my opinion, there are 2 scenarios where it is ok to discuss money with friends and family:

  1. When someone asks for our advice.
  2. When someone asks to borrow money from us.

So let’s see how we can talk about money with family and friends in these situations.

1. When someone asks for our advice.

If someone is asking your opinion about money, they probably feel that you can be trusted and you have something to offer.

So start by building on that trust by showing the person grace. We all have made mistakes with money.

We all have made purchases we would like to take back. We all have wasted opportunities with money. This is not the time to offer criticism or judgment.

Second, stay on the topic. No need to spend time covering everything you want to say on the topic of personal finances.

This is not about you. This is about helping your family member or friend in their time of need.

Finally, talk about how you have personally handled that particular financial issue.

Share what has worked well for you and what did not work so well. Be transparent and real.

If you have good trusted resources, share them with your relative or friend.

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2. When someone asks to borrow money from us.

If you are doing well with your financial situation, you will find yourself in this position sooner or later.

As I have written before, I think it is a mistake to loan money to a family member or friend. It changes the relationship into one of slave and master (Prov 22:7).

When this situation comes, you need to carefully evaluate how you define help. Of course, we want to show love and compassion.

But you have to be careful that you do not enable harmful behaviors. You want your relative or family member to get to the point where they can walk on their own strength financially.

So if you have the ability and you think the money will help them and not harm them, give them the money.

Buy the groceries for that week. Pay for the electric bill. Cover the medical prescription.

And since they have asked you for money, they have opened the door for you to give them help in some other way.

You can be part of their recovery by sharing your lessons learned. Talk to them about your own journey.

If there is a book or class that you think will help them, share it with them. If they are receptive, offer to pay for it.

Remember, your ultimate goal is to help your family member or friend never have to be in that position again.

If they are willing to receive your help, take the opportunity to walk alongside with them.

“So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
Galatians 6:10 (NASB)

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2 thoughts on “Talking About Money with Family and Friends”

  1. I assume that when this article said to “give them the money,” it literally meant “give” and not loan. A loan between close friends or family can be the cause of a very strained relationship. A debt looms over the heads of both parties for as long as it exists, and no matter how close or understanding the relationship, it will cause tension, and potentially, strife.

    I you can afford to give, then give. If it is an amount that is within one’s budget to give, it is not worth a threat to a cherished relationship. If your benefactor chooses to treat it as a loan and pays it back, all the better.

    Rob Drury
    Executive Director,
    Association of Christian Financial Advisors

  2. Rob, totally agree. I did mean “give them the money” as in a gift and definitely not a loan.

    I think it is a mistake to loan money to a family member or friend. It changes the relationship into one of slave and master (Prov 22:7).

    Thanks for commenting!

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