Fear of talking about money can hinder financial planning

People don’t want to compare finances to family and friends

Staff writer

Financial advisers often run into people who are afraid to talk about their money. Some local advisers shared why they think that is.

Tom Kimbrel of Edward Jones in Marion said he doesn’t expect people to open up about money to just anyone, because it is such a personal topic, but he hopes that through trust he can assist people in making smart money decisions.

“Money is private and people don’t want others knowing about their business,” he said. “I do a lot of listening and it takes time for people to open up and to gain their trust.”

He urges clients and people he knows to do anything to save, especially young.

“Most of my clients are younger and they have saved,” he said. “But it seems like in school people learn that you get rich either by inheriting money or winning the lottery and actually few do.”

For those who don’t want to discuss their financial situation because they don’t feel they’re financially stable, Kimbrel urges to begin making saving a priority.

“Have a disciplined saving routine and save so much a week or month,” he said.

Kimbrel said those who want to save must make it a top priority, like paying monthly bills.

“You have to stick with it and keep from spending. Yeah, that TV might be on sale this month, but if you keep making excuses and spending what you want to save, then you won’t have anything in savings.”

Those trying to save should build up an emergency fund, Kimbrel said, then start putting money into a savings or other money market account.

“Once you’ve met your goal for that account, begin putting some money in a mutual fund or something with a good track record of return,” he said.

He recommends using mutual funds after savings accounts because money is less liquid in mutual funds and less easy to access in case of an emergency.

He said the sooner, and younger, people start saving, even if it’s only $5 a week, the easier it is for money to build upon itself through rates of return. Doing simple things each month to help save money and help people feel like they have financial security goes a long way to easing the fear around money, he said.

Andrea Unzicker of Everence Financial of Newton said she believes money is a taboo subject for discussion because people don’t want to place themselves above or below family and friends.

“Some people are afraid to talk to financial advisers because they feel like they will be judged,” she said. “They believe they haven’t done all the things they should to be financially secure and they may be embarrassed about prior bad decisions.”

She said talking to a adviser about their financial state could help bring people peace of mind.

Eric Litwiller of Everence said people often use money to gauge success, and that can hinder people from talking about their finances.

“I think it’s one of the biggest reason why people don’t want to talk about money, even with those closest to them,” he said. “If we have less than someone else, we’re embarrassed by our short-comings. And if we have more than someone else, we don’t want to be prideful or crass.”

One of the ways he helps ease people into talking about finances is to start without numbers.

“People generally have seemed more willing to talk about topics related to money if there is little risk of talking about specifics,” he said.

Litwiller asks questions like, “Do you have any interest in making your financial decisions in line with your personal faith values?” or “How would you like to be thought of by your children and grandchildren 50 years from now?”

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