How to start a conversation about money

Why it’s so important to talk about your finances

According to this research1, one in two Australians don’t sit down regularly to look at their finances and one in three say that money is a source of conflict in their relationship.  

To put conversations about money back on the table, Australians should sit down for at least 45 minutes one Monday each month, either individually, with their partner or other family members, to get familiar with their financial situation.

Having regular discussions about money can help you manage your finances, reduce financial stress and improve your financial wellbeing.

To help, leading Australian psychotherapist Lissy Abrahams created a conversation guide to get people started. 

How to start a conversation about money

Tips for starting a conversation about money

Follow these simple steps to help you start a conversation about money.

Make a date to discuss financial matters

Talking about finances doesn’t have to be boring. Find one Monday a month and pop it in your diary. When the day arrives cook a nice meal then turn off your devices for 45 minutes. Make sure you jot things down so you can go back to them later.

Set some boundaries around the conversation about money

At the start of the conversation set some boundaries. These include being:

  • open and honest

  • curious about each other’s views on money

  • respectful – by being non-judgemental, not interrupting, and remembering no-one is right or wrong – just different.

Take a trip down memory lane to your childhood

Often our financial beliefs and behaviours are shaped from a very young age. From witnessing how our parents talked and/or fought about money and their spending habits, we’ve absorbed many messages about money.

Typically, we either adopt their behaviours or go the opposite way. Understanding this about yourself, your partner, or other family members, helps you understand your similarities and differences around money matters so you can create healthy financial plans together.

To understand how your attitudes are shaped by your childhood, ask questions like:

  • How did your parents talk about money?

  • What, if anything, did you see them fight or stress about with money?

  • What did you save or spend your money on growing up?

  • Were you more of a saver or a spender? Why do you think you were?

  • Are you similar or different to anyone in your family when it comes to money?

  • What’s the one thing you wish your parents told you or didn’t tell you about money when you were a kid?

Talk about your current attitudes towards money

Financial knowledge and skills are learned and continually need to evolve depending on your life stage. It’s important to find ways to navigate this.

To understand more about how you feel about money matters, ask questions like:

  • What money concerns do you have? Saving? Spending? Debt? The future?

  • How do you feel when you make a big purchase?

  • What’s your initial reaction when thinking about having a loan or going into debt?

  • What are three non-essential things you’d buy if money was no issue?

  • How important are financial goals and do you have any you’re working towards?

Assess your current situation

Even though it may feel awkward or initially confronting, it’s important to know your numbers. Remember, there’s no right or wrong. If you are doing this with a partner or family member, expect to have different financial ideas and spending habits. Be curious about these differences as it’s about finding your way forward.

To understand more about your current situation, ask questions like:

  • How much do you earn?

  • What are your incoming and outgoing expenses?

  • What debts or loans do you have, if any?

  • How do you feel about joint finances? Should some bills or expenses be shared, and others separate?

  • What’s your approach to managing money? Do you have a budget? Set savings goals? Bucket money? Are you secretive about any bank accounts?

  • What opportunities are there to reduce spending?

Plan for the future

Whether it’s a holiday, saving for a home deposit, buying a new car, or paying off debt, create exciting goals to work towards. This’ll keep you motivated and in alignment with your goals.

Get started

If you need help getting this conversation started, give us a call. 

1 Our research was conducted by NAB Economics and based on responses from 2,050 Australians weighted to the population, conducted from August to September 2022.

Source: NAB

Reproduced with permission of National Australia Bank (‘NAB’). This article was originally published at

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Authorised Representative 298494
Interprac Financial Planning Pty Ltd 

Darryl Jopling

Senior Adviser

I have worked in the financial services industry since 1982 and as a Financial Adviser since 1999.

I have worked for large Financial Planning businesses, Membership based organisations and looked after the financial planning needs of clients within an Accounting Practice before starting my own business.

I am married, have 4 older children and a grandson and I am keen golfer with mixed results like many .

I have been through many of the strategies I talk with clients about myself and with my family.

I have been through the journey of seeing my parents move into Aged care and negotiated the difficulties and pitfalls of understanding the system for them and this gives me an excellent insight into what is required to assist families at this difficult time.

In a previous roll I used to run retirement seminars looking at Centrelink and Retirement Incomes and how to make these work for you. I have helped many of my clients with Aged Care advice when their parents needed to move into Nursing Homes. For many clients I assist them with superannuation, building wealth and protecting their loved ones with insurance.

I am supported by his, Licensee, Interprac Financial Planning’s in-house resources and ongoing technical, systems and training.

I am committed to understanding your needs and identifying strategies and products to help you achieve your goals.

My guiding principle as an Adviser is to design plans which help to provide my clients with clarity of purpose and the opportunity to build a solid financial foundation.
I will take the time to listen, explain things clearly and keep you informed throughout the advice process.

My experience is complemented by professional qualifications including:

  • Certified Financial PlannerTM Professional
  • Diploma of Financial Planning

At Choice Financial Advice we work with you along the way on life’s journey.

Whether you are getting married, starting a family, embarking on the trip of a lifetime, planning to enjoy your years after work or assisting elderly parents with Aged Care and Nursing Home placements, we can help.