Today is National Stress Awareness Day and one of the main themes this year is raising awareness around the stigma of ‘money’. In particular, asking the question of why conversations around money are so difficult.
Did you know that ‘57% of those who have experienced a recent mental health problem say thinking about their financial situation makes them anxious’ [Money and Pensions Service] That is a staggeringly high statistic when ‘1 in 6 people, or approximately 45.8 million adults report experiencing symptoms for common mental health problems, like anxiety and depression, in any given week in England.’ [Priory Group]
The stigma must be broken, and as industry professionals, it’s our job to do that. We spoke with a few members of our team and asked them to answer: why are conversations around money so difficult? We had a range of answers such as:
- “Money has such emotional connotations and there are often complex feelings associated with having money or the lack of it. People are often not comfortable talking about things that affect them on a deep level.”
- “Conversations about money are so difficult because humans naturally compare themselves to one another, whereas in reality everyone (and their finances) are so inherently different and can’t be compared.”
- “Because there’s such a feeling of shame attached to it (and there absolutely shouldn’t be!).”
- “I think it can spill over from older generations as well. Money wasn’t talked about and generally was handled by the man, no questions asked. I think current generations question a lot more and push the boundaries on this, but it’s not always well received if you’re still used to the ‘old’ way of doing things.”
The final point is something we really want to explore, as we like to think of The Verve Group as forward-thinking and constantly pushing boundaries in our industry, how do we find the balance of encouraging older clients to ‘spill the beans’ on their finances? Especially as it’s such a taboo subject for so many people (regardless of age/class/gender etc.) – we looked at three ways you can restructure your approach with clients to get the information you need for the best outcome…
- Focus on the goals. Money is secondary.
Bring your attention to building a solid rapport with your client. Understand who they are, their likes/dislikes, family members, what football team they support, their favourite movie and most importantly – what their financial goals are. A trust between both parties must be established to get the full picture of a person’s finances.
- Remain positive and motivational.
If you are constantly championing your clients for their little financial wins then, inevitably, you’re giving your clients the space to overcome their own barriers which will help to create a more personal and impactful financial plan.
- Keep it simple.
When speaking with your clients, make sure you’re actively listening so they know you’re taking a genuine interest in what it is they’re saying to you. Showing this will allow them to feel understood when talking about finances, especially if they struggle to open up about it. Also, be aware of the jargon and complex terms you are using so as to not confuse the client.
Integrating these small, simple steps will help us all, as an industry, to combat the stigma around the stress of talking about our finances.
Abbie King, Digital Marketing Specialist