Why it’s time to embrace the difficult conversations

7 min read 8 Aug 22

Over our lifetimes, the support we offer our family and friends goes far beyond just the financial. But our investments and what they can do for others are an important pillar of that support. So why do we tend to shy away from these conversations?

Our ideas about how to protect and nurture the ones we love will all be as different as we are. The strength of our relationships and their importance to us can often make some of the most important financial conversations we’ll have, the ones we put off for another day. Or we might even avoid them completely. 

And it’s no surprise. For many of us they’re conversations we might have towards the later stages of life, brought about by circumstances beyond our control or prompted by the loss of a friend or family member. But why should they be? Why do we feel uncomfortable when we discuss our finances with those closest to us? 

Maybe it’s because we’ve always believed such conversations are only one way, about our legacy and what will happen to our estate when we’re gone. But what if we think about these conversations a little differently?

Why not make the conversation positive?

Welcome financial support can come in many forms and at different stages of life. It could be a one-off financial boost, a regular gift or a lasting leg-up. It could be a means of offering peace of mind to one generation by providing financial security for the next. It could even take a more philanthropic form, using your assets to help support the causes closest to your heart. The reality is that these are powerful, personal and positive choices, to be considered at any stage of our lives. But few of us might think of them that way.

The importance of a two-way conversation  

Having regular conversations about our finances can offer clarity and comfort to those we care about. After all they’re ultimately a means of making ourselves and our loved ones feel secure. But financial conversations needn’t always have to be about legacy. They might be a safeguarding exercise, educating others on the dangers of too much debt or over-spending, or the importance of planning for retirement in time to achieve your savings goals. But could there be more to be gained from making it a regular, two-way conversation?

Importantly, conversations allow the sharing of knowledge, particularly between the generations where there are often different priorities, financial or otherwise, or maybe a lack of experience in long-term wealth management and financial planning. But two-way conversations can offer an alternative view, key pieces of information or helpful insight that you might otherwise miss out on. 

Discussing your finances can help you to understand the concerns and even fears of others, enabling you to address any issues that may come to light. 

Let’s get the conversation started

While there’ll always be generations more comfortable talking about money than others, there’s no doubt that as a society we’re embracing the need to be more open with each other, sharing more personal opinions and information than perhaps we’ve done in the past. 

The truth is many of us are comfortable sharing glimpses into our lives on social media, or willing to discuss our political views and affiliations with others when we want to be heard. And thankfully, we’re all more aware of the need for open and honest conversations around important issues like mental health, perhaps more so than ever before. The point is that there are some personal conversations we’re more comfortable having than others. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

In our view, there’s no right or wrong time to start talking about our finances with our loved ones. Communicating our experiences, ideas and our wishes for the future through clear and honest conversations can bring many benefits. It can offer comfort to us, security and help to protect those we care about the most.

Whatever your situation, your personal insight is something others can learn from. And there’s much you can learn from them too. Let’s get the conversation started.

  1. Keep it positive – this is a conversation about all aspects of you and your family’s finances
  2. Make it a two way conversation – remove the secrecy and learn from each other, there are new and interesting things happening in the world of savings and investments all the time
  3. Most importantly, be sure to have the conversation sooner rather than later – we share so much about our lives generally and this is one area where help and support is truly valued by those closest to you. 

The value and income from the fund's assets will go down as well as up. This will cause the value of your investment to fall as well as rise. There is no guarantee that the fund will achieve its objective and you may get back less than you originally invested.

Investing involves risk, including the loss of principal. Where any performance is mentioned, please note that past performance is not a guide to future performance.

The views expressed in this document should not be taken as a recommendation, advice or forecast.

For Investment Professionals only and Institutional Investors. Not for onward distribution. No other persons should rely on any information contained within. The views expressed represent the opinions of M&G Investments which are subject to change and are not intended as investment advice or a forecast or guarantee of future results. Stated information is provided for informational purposes only. It is derived from proprietary and non-proprietary sources which have not been independently verified for accuracy or completeness. While M&G Investments believes the information to be accurate and reliable, we do not claim or have responsibility for its completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Statements of future expectations, estimates, projections, and other forward-looking statements are based on available information and management’s view as of the time of these statements. Accordingly, such statements are inherently speculative as they are based on assumptions which may involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results, performance or events may differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. This financial promotion is issued by M&G Luxembourg S.A. The registered office is 16, boulevard Royal, L-2449, Luxembourg.

By M&G Investments

The value of investments will fluctuate, which will cause prices to fall as well as rise and you may not get back the original amount you invested. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

Related insights