6 November 2023

Talk Money Week 2023 – it’s more important than ever to talk about your finances

At a glance

  • Many of us are reluctant to talk about our financial affairs, even with our closest family members.
  • Conversations about money can become emotional but talking to a financial adviser and using our articles as conversation-starters can help get the family talking.
  • We are supporting Talk Money Week to encourage everyone to talk openly about their finances.

Money isn’t a dirty word. But it’s probably responsible for more arguments around the dinner table than almost anything else – from who’s spending too much, to how to pay the heating bill, or whether the family can afford a summer holiday.

6th – 13th November is Talk Money Week, hosted by the Money & Pensions Service (MaPS). MaPS believes that we don’t talk about money enough, whether it’s pocket money, passing our money on, or our pension pots. Sometimes, we don’t talk about money at all.

Reading an article can get you talking

We have hundreds of conversations each year about money, so we feel comfortable talking about some of those financial issues that are hotly debated over dinner.

As part of Talk Money Week, we’re sharing some of our top articles from 2023. They might be the ‘icebreakers’ you need to help start that conversation about money that you’ve been meaning to have.

Why is it harder to talk about money in difficult circumstances?

When we’re worried about our money, many of us are even more reluctant to start talking about it. If temperatures rise at the mention of money, it can seem easier to avoid talking about the overdraft, or an unexpected and unwelcome bill.

Staying on track with your financial goals is more difficult with the high cost of living we’re all experiencing, but there are strategies to help.

Experienced a big life change?

There are several life events that can make you financially vulnerable including a change in your health, a sudden drop in income, a bereavement or the end of a relationship.

Any one of us can experience one of these events. Sometimes more than one at the same time. We can offer sensitive, practical, and confidential support, at the times you need it most.

Do you worry your debts are out of control?

The cost-of-living crisis has caused many of us to rely on credit even more. If that coincides with another major life change, such as losing a job, or being hit with an unexpected medical bill, normal debt can become problem debt in a matter of weeks.

Finding yourself in financial difficulties and feeling you’ve nowhere to turn is a known suicide risk.

Worrying about money can affect your general health, your sleep and your relationships, as well as your bank balance. People can feel guilty or ashamed of their rising debts and unpaid bills – and shut down completely.

But mental health charities and suicide prevention organisations are clear that talking about debt can save a life.

Whether you’re worried for yourself, or for somebody close to you, our article makes important reading.

Why talking tax can get you saving money

Many of us don’t really give tax a thought until close to tax year-end on 5 April, when we often get timely reminders to top up our ISAs or pensions or make a family gift. But tax planning is a cornerstone of financial planning.

Every time you make a decision that affects your finances, it’ll probably impact your tax situation too. Sometimes in a good way!

Whether you had a significant windfall, a pay rise, or you’re starting to thinking about giving money to the family, keep talking tax.

How can I start talking tax if I don’t understand the terminology?

One of the biggest barriers to talking about tax is simply understanding the terminology. If tax sounds like a foreign language to you, take a quick look at our tax jargon buster.

Understanding the various tax terms and acronyms, such as ISAs, IHT, CGT and the different pension allowances increases your financial wellbeing – and it could save you some tax, too.

What have you done about your pension?

If you’re starting out on your career, talking about your pension is not top of your to do list, but as you near retirement, it’s very much part of the conversation.

Knowing how much you need, or how you can draw your pension becomes much more of a hot topic.

The biggest talking point around pensions is ‘how much money do I actually need to put away?

Talking to friends and colleagues often muddies the water. No two retirements look alike. A financial adviser will always start by talking to you about the life you imagine for yourself and your family when you retire, and work back from there.

But this article on the cost of a comfortable retirement will give you some concrete numbers, and realistic advice.

And how do I get my money when I retire?

There’s more choice and flexibility than ever before when it comes to accessing your retirement savings, but the options can feel overwhelming. If you want some straightforward practical advice on when and how to start drawing your pension, read our article on accessing your pension.

Keeping more of your money in the family

Nowadays, we expect to help our children out financially, during our lifetime, not just when we pass on an inheritance. So how do you make sure you’ll have enough money to be able to help without compromising your own future or current standard of living?

Starting to invest for your children and family shares some practical advice about starting early and starting small. A relatively modest regular amount can make a big difference and it won’t break your bank.

You can make tax-efficient gifting part of your family financial planning too. Talk to us, if you’d like a hand starting the conversation.

Leaving behind an inheritance, not a large Inheritance Tax bill

Lump sum inheritances can be life-changing events for family members. Inheritances can send a child to college, pay off the mortgage or even fund a second home. So, the last thing you want to leave your family with is a large Inheritance Tax bill.

Making gifts in your lifetime or taking financial advice on setting up trusts can mean more of your money passes to those you love.

We know it can be hard to have a conversation about money, particularly in challenging times or circumstances.

We’re here to help you start the conversations, and make the right decisions at the right time. Speak to us today.

The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and may fall as well as rise. You may get back less than the amount invested.

The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time and are generally dependent on individual circumstances.

SJP Approved 31/10/2023

By Matthew Forbes