Shifting the dial – having the confidence to kōrero about money

October 18, 2022

Hayley, a Financial Wellbeing Coach with six years’ experience in financial services, shares her favourite tips and tricks to have money conversations.

Did you know – according to research, many New Zealanders would rather talk about politics, sex and drugs than money?

Crazy right? We use it every day to do the things we love, plus it drives our day-to-day lives. But yet, most of us feel uncomfortable talking about it.

Despite what we may feel, talking about money can be a positive thing and isn’t something we should be swept under the carpet.

To help you get the ball rolling with your conversations about money and feel more confident approaching the subject, I’m going to share a few of my favourite tips, tricks and tools to make these conversations feel easier and more natural.

Let’s start by all asking ourselves an easy question:

When was the last time you had a kōrero with someone about money?

If you can’t remember, or don’t think you ever have, why do you think that might be?

Let’s break down the importance of these conversations and how to have them into some simple and easy-to-remember steps using the acronym M.O.N.E.Y.

Cheerful woman in the park with her friends

M - my relationship with money

Before you can start the kōrero, it’s important to understand your own relationship with money.

Often we are unaware of our deep emotional connections with money that develop right from childhood and will continue developing as we grow.

Add in your culture, gender, beliefs and life experiences – you will start to get a picture of your own relationship with money.

To help you get started on understanding your own relationship with money, try answering these questions:

Portrait of a confident mature woman working in a coffee shop

O - own relationship with money

Before launching into a conversation, it can be useful to understand how you feel about your own financial situation.

Understanding our finances can help us feel more equipped and confident to have this kōrero with others.

To understand your own financial situation, you could try answering the following questions:

  • How would I describe my financial situation – am I happy with it?
  • Do I know how much money and how much debt I have?
  • Do I have access to my own money?

Once you’ve answered these questions, try asking other people the same questions – if you’re feeling confident.

Two men spending time with their little baby boy. They're all together at home standing in an embrace

N - now? later? When should I have this kōrero?

Everyone moves at their own pace and everyone’s journey is different.

It’s usually easier to start money conversations sooner rather than later. It helps set up a foundation and system of money communication.

Starting with simple topics and preparing a few talking points also helps.

You could bring money up when you’re going out. 

Examples of this could be:

  • I’d prefer it if we paid for our own dinners tonight.
  • Can we do something at home that doesn’t cost, I’ve had an expensive week.

On the flip of this, it might be the time to have a more in-depth conversation if you feel it’s appropriate. 

Examples could be:

  • I would rather go travelling than purchase a house.
  • I think it’s really important for you to know that I have a lot of debt.

If you’re wanting to start kōrero about money with your partner, specific changes in your relationship such as moving in together, having children, retiring or changing circumstances can be easier times to raise the topic because it usually means money structures are changing.

While money conversations are not the sexiest conversations in a relationship, they are necessary.

Close up of a senior couple having breakfast

E – expectations and perspectives

Remember those things we had to think about earlier… culture, gender, the way money was managed growing up? This will come into play when shaping the way you plan and manage your money.

It is particularly important to be aware of your expectations and perspective when it comes to integrating this into your relationship.

When you start discussing your mutual expectations, it’s important that you have your own voice, but that you also listen and understand your partner’s point of view as well.

A good starting point could be to approach this kōrero bringing each of your expectations and goals mapped out.

You could do this by simply writing it down with a pen and paper. Or maybe you’d prefer spoken word poetry? Perhaps you’re better at an interpretive dance?

The important point here is that before you can come to that mutual expectation, you both need to be open with your own expectations and respect the fact they might not be the same. It’s okay to disagree.

Talking openly about your financial expectations and respecting each other will help you to set the stage for a healthy relationship.

Natural authentic portrait of young woman walking in Auckland City.

Y – you’re not finished yet

Now that you have some of my favourite tips, tricks and tools; I hope that you feel more comfortable and prepared to have kōrero about money.

Talking about money shouldn’t be an uncomfortable topic, and the more we can normalise conversations about money, the easier we can make it for friends and whānau to talk about it.

If you want to find more tools and tips to have conversations about money, I highly recommend Good Shepherd NZ and AUT’s free Healthy Financial Relationships Toolkit.

It features quizzes, activities, real-life examples and tips to help break down barriers that might be preventing you from having effective conversations. It’s made for anyone and provides different entry points to start conversations about money, improves understanding of your own relationship with money and what healthy financial relationships look like.

Talking about money can seem scary, but it doesn’t need to be.

Start small and keep going – and remember, there’s no such thing as too many conversations about money!

Healthy Financial Relationships toolkit

Picture of Hayley Tinning

Hayley Tinning

Financial Wellbeing Coach at Good Shepherd NZ

Picture of By Hayley Tinning

By Hayley Tinning