Photo by Niels Steeman on Unsplash

Have you ever noticed that for something that we interact with and is necessary in our every day lives, money is still very much a taboo subject? Between friends and even family, money conversations can be awkward and strained. Money can symbolize comfort and luxury, but for many money is a token of insecurity, discomfort, survival and panic.

In many cultures, talking about money is considered vulgar; too boastful if it is something you possess in excess, and can evoke volatile emotions when there is too little of it. We have learned to avoid the topic altogether except when absolutely necessary, but no matter how much we avoid it, we cannot deny that money dictates many aspects of our lives especially how and where we fit into society. The measure of whether we are leading successful lives is often tied to how much wealth we have amassed.

The irony of this is that the lack of freedom with discussing money has led to many people becoming financially crippled. In order to achieve financial freedom, we must develop critical skills by educating ourselves about money; and to do this we must start to have healthy conversations about our finances.

Keep track of your spending: The first person you must be honest with is yourself. It is surprising how many people avoid checking their account balance! Decide on a time frame, and within that, track your money. Keep tabs on how much money is coming in, and how much money is going out. You will start to notice trends in your spending, and be able to isolate and cut out financially irresponsible decisions. You will also be able to make well informed decisions about how you are living, and this will also help you create and commit to a budget.

Have open and honest financial conversations with friends: We often are not comfortable with our friends knowing where we stand financially. Sometimes, we do not want to admit we are too broke to attend certain events such as birthdays or nights out. Many of us have had the experience of a bill coming to a group at a table and being too ashamed to admit we would rather not split the bill. You certainly do not have to share your account balance, but there is nothing to be ashamed of in being responsible with your money and knowing when you have hit your social limits, and when you need to cut back.

Have open and honest financial conversations with family: Do you know that one of the biggest causes of divorce is financial strain in marriages? Many couples are not transparent with each other about their financial standing, neither do they sit and create a financial plan for the family. Husbands and wives often hide how much they earn from each other. This can make all the difference with knowing how to create your family budget and where to allocate funds. Couples must also have difficult conversations about succession; if one were to die, especially if there is a major breadwinner, what plans are in place so the family can be cared for financially? How can assets be protected so they are inherited by the correct persons? Couples must know how to access each others’ legal and financial documents including their will, and healthcare directives.

There must also be a financial plan for aging parents especially in cases where they eventually become financially dependent on their children, which is something many people often don’t think about. Also, one must not shy away from starting to teaching children early about the value of money, and explaining to them why they cannot have certain things, or why there must be some planning towards certain things. While we may desire to give our children the world, but we must also live within our means and not put ourselves in debt which ultimately creates more problems.

The irony of this is that the lack of freedom with discussing money has led to many people becoming financially crippled, In order to achieve financial freedom, we must develop critical skills by educating ourselves about money; and to do this we must start to have healthy conversations about our finances.

We have learned that talking about our finances is cringe worthy, uncomfortable, and generally difficult, but we must overcome those feelings to start having the difficult conversations. Getting comfortable with talking about money can greatly improve our lives and relationships. It may highlight where we need to make improvements and make for better planning. We must also learn about money; how to save, how to invest, how to create and live within budgets and how to tap into opportunities to actually make more of it.

Making Life Possible is our ethos at paga, and it is what keeps us committed to our mission of providing inclusive financial services for all Nigerians. With over 15,000 agent outlets and 8 million+ customers, we are inspired by the stories of the community we are building and the people we are empowering by making life possible every single day.

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