Successful retirement planning requires successful communication, but why do discussions involving money turn explosive so quickly? And what can we do to defuse the situation, accomplish our goals, and feel good about ourselves and each other when the conversation is complete?
This article completes the discussion opened in an earlier post, “Eight Ways We Sabotage Our Conversations about Money, and How to Avoid Them (Part One)
”. Here are the final five:
4) We Bring In Other Subjects
It’s tempting to bring past situations that are similar to what is bothering you right now. Raising those examples derails the conversation and turns it into a discussion about past events instead of current issues.
Focus on one subject at a time and agree ahead of time to keep your conversation limited to that topic. You’ll see more progress toward resolution of your financial concerns – and you’ll be able to have a separate conversation later about other issues.
5) We Point Fingers
People rarely are able to continue talking rationally when they think they’re being attacked, especially if they think they’re being blamed for a financial problem. Even if an attack is not your intention, starting a sentence with the word “You” can put the other person in a defensive posture.
Communicate your concerns by using “I” messages. Say, “I feel . . . when you . . . because . . .” By sharing how your feelings are affected by the other person’s actions, without pointing fingers, they will be more likely to receive your message without reacting defensively.
6) We Avoid Our True Motives
Sometimes you can go through a whole series of conversations with someone about a financial issue without revealing your true motivation. If you both have a different goal in mind around a particular financial issue, is it any wonder you can’t see eye-to-eye on how to get there?
Share your goals and dreams with the other person so they understand why this particular issue is important to you. Once the two of you agree on your destination, mapping out the journey becomes much easier.
7) We Blindside the Other Person
When a particular financial concern is nagging at you and needs urgent attention, the natural desire is to bring it up at the earliest opportunity. Unfortunately, when the person you want to speak with is tired, hungry, angry or otherwise distracted, it’s unlikely they’ll give your conversation the full attention it deserves.
Schedule a time with them to discuss your concerns, and tell them what you want to talk about. This allows the other person to prepare mentally and emotionally for a fruitful conversation.
8) We Focus on the Negative
Is your 401(k) half full or half empty? It all depends on your attitude. And so does the effectiveness of your conversations about money. If your money conversations are always negative, most likely the person you’re talking with wants to avoid them.
Make a proactive effort to celebrate your successes. Build in rewards when you reach your financial milestones. By celebrating your successes, you’ll have a more positive attitude and be more likely to achieve your goals.
To have a productive conversation with a financial professional about your retirement goals, contact the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioners at Pension Consultants. We can help you prepare for all aspects of retirement: both financial and non-financial. Call 800-234-9584
or email us at RetireAdvisers® Team
to learn more about our comprehensive retirement planning services. Your choice is your future!
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