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Money Topics Too Awkward to Discuss


Some money conversations are easy to discuss, but people find these ones particularly difficult, according to a survey from Northwestern Mutual.

It may be true that money makes people do crazy things, but talking about money also makes people very uncomfortable. Particularly when someone is asking for money, according to the research from Northwestern Mutual.

In the annual Planning and Progress Study, 48% of respondents said asking to borrow money from parents is somewhat or very difficult, followed by asking for money back that was loaned to a friend/family member (42%), and asking for a raise or promotion (37%).

"Conversations related to money are more awkward than many of the topics we asked about, but they are conversations that have to take place, especially in today's challenging economic environment," Greg Oberland, Northwestern Mutual president, said in a statement.

Adults said talking about the birds and the bees (43%) and asking adult children to move out (32%) were easier than asking a parent for money (19%) or asking a friend or family member to pay back a loan (26%).

Respondents found it much easier to ask adult-age children to get a job, with only 15% citing it as a difficult conversation, and 48% claiming it was easy. However, asking boomerang kids to move out was rated slightly more difficult with just 32% of people saying it was easy to discuss.

Discussing retirement is also difficult. Workers older than age 60 are the most pessimistic that they will retire at age 65 and 38% estimate they will have to work at least until the 75 years before they can retire.

According to respondents, of those who have spoken to someone about retirement, only 39% said it was to a spouse or partner. Meanwhile, 42% of respondents said they haven’t spoken to anyone about retirement.

"Starting the dialogue can be the most difficult part, but people need to realize the significant benefits of openly communicating their financial and retirement goals," Oberland said. "A financial professional can be a valuable resource who can facilitate discussions about long-term goals and planning; listen to your needs and goals; and work with you to remove anxiety about affording retirement."

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