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  • 4 women Talk Money – breaking down the last taboo

    In a Talk Money Week special, some of our team share their stories about the importance of talking about money and the best way to approach it.

    Important notes

    This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

    This article is more than 6 months old

    It was correct at the time of publishing. Our views and any references to tax, investment and pension rules may have changed since then.

    Half of UK adults, surveyed by YouGov in 2019, think money is too taboo to talk about in everyday conversation.

    And it's no surprise. We're told it's bad taste to talk about our salaries, spending and even our pensions. But by keeping tight lipped about money, we end up building financial barriers, instead of knocking them down.

    What's more, recent research showed that women would rather talk about pretty much anything, other than money.

    It's time to change that.

    'Talk Money Week' this year is between 8-12 November. In preparation for it, I spoke to four colleagues wanting to share their experiences and to help break the ice when it comes to some of the most important conversations about money.

    We're exploring some common money topics and why it's important to talk about it.

    Although this article can give you helpful tips when it comes to money and planning finances, it's not personal advice. Everyone's experience with money is different, so if you're not sure if something is right for you, ask for financial advice.

    Why you should start talking about money

    We want to encourage more women to open up about money. But that can be difficult when it can feel like we're either boasting, or we've not got enough to contribute to the conversation.

    But Pensions and Retirement Writer Isabel McDougall thinks it's more important to encourage those conversations.

    "There are so many emotions and anxieties involved with money.

    It's hard not to compare yourself to others and their financial situation. In fact, it's human nature.

    But speaking openly can break down some of the barriers.

    You might even find that it's a weight lifted if you're worried about money. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved".

    Sophie Thomas, Events Manager says:

    "We don't get taught about money at school. And we're told to be private about our finances.

    Even years later when I moved 300 miles from home for university and was given a student loan, that I needed to spend wisely, I still had no idea what to do with money and nobody ever told me.

    If you're just starting out on your financial journey, soak up the wealth of information available. I found that reading articles, listening to podcasts, and attending webinars helped me open my first Stocks and Shares ISA.

    And it gave me some ideas on topics to talk to my friends about. I could share what I learnt with them and we empowered each other when it came to our money".


    Opening up about getting onto the property ladder

    There's a strange unspoken agreement that we shouldn't talk about how much we're saving for house deposits or ask where we got the money from. But we're more than happy to talk about how much a surveyor costs, or even solicitors' fees.

    We need to shift those conversations.

    Recent research has even shown that women need to save for, on average, around two years more than men in order to buy their first home. And the proportion of renters expecting to buy their first home has declined significantly.

    We think that having conversations about how you're saving to buy a property – for example with a standard savings account, or perhaps with a Lifetime ISA (LISA) – can help readjust those statistics. And empower more of us to get onto the property ladder.


    Pensions and Retirement Writer Alana Fairfax is embarking on buying her first home. She's shared what she's learnt by talking to her friends about buying for the first time.

    "My friend is buying a flat in central Bristol by herself, and my friends and I are all very happy for her. I think women often don't shout about their financial wins because they worry they'll look like they're showing off and make others feel deflated.

    But actually, we're all so proud and dying to know more.

    My dream is to buy a property by myself, and until now I've had no clue whether it was even remotely attainable. Most of the people my age who've bought a house have done so with a partner. I'm not in that position.

    But listening to my friends talking openly about the costs involved means I know now it's not a pipe dream.

    If you want to share your financial wins with your friends, I'd definitely recommend it.

    You might actually empower them.

    Be upfront about the costs and process involved in reaching your goal. By breaking it down for them, you're giving them a platform for them to reach their goals too".

    Talking about money with your partner

    It's somewhat obvious, but talking about money with your partner is important if you feel comfortable. Particularly if you have joint finances or your career plans and salary change over time.

    We found that 1 in 5 women aren't telling their partners everything about their money. And of those, almost half said it was debt and spending that they were keeping hidden.

    When it comes to starting a family, opening up can have a positive impact on your finances both as an individual and as a couple.

    Lucie Apampa, HL's Social Media Manager, shared how she planned for parenthood and tackled finance by talking to her partner.

    "I've never been 'naturally' good at money (as in I spend it quicker than I get it), but I try really hard to be on the ball, especially since combining income with my partner several years ago.

    Having a child brought its own host of challenges, particularly with me only bringing in statutory maternity pay for nine months and then the unbelievably high costs of childcare.

    Putting everything into spreadsheets helped me understand what I needed to earn to make childcare pay and luckily it does.

    But good communication with my partner has been key to all of this.

    Although money can often be a cause of stress, being generally on the same page can help you to feel that you're both making a fair contribution".

    How I prepared my finances for maternity leave

    Keep the conversation going

    Starting to have conversations about money can sometimes feel uncomfortable. But they can also be freeing and empowering.

    If you're not sure where to begin, you can use our Financially Fearless articles as icebreakers.

    Or you might want to share your own money story and be part of our mission to make conversations about money positive and raise the voices of women around us. If we think your story could help others, we'll get in touch and ask about sharing it.

    Be #FinanciallyFearless

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    Important notes

    This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

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