Many of us avoid talking about money. It is one of the topics we are told to avoid at dinner parties, and many of us feel awkward when the subject of personal finances comes up.
That reluctance could actually be costing you money. The fact is, when it comes to money, it’s good to talk.
One of the reasons that we don’t like talking about money may be because we don’t want to show what the gaps in our knowledge are.
In fact, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Finances can be complicated, and with today’s market offering so much choice, it can leave many people confused about the products that are appropriate for them. Most of us have the basics – a pension, a mortgage and some savings – but not only are we not sure whether we have the arrangements that are most suitable for us, we don’t even know how to go about finding out.
The problems don’t stop there. Even if we have the financial necessities, we may be missing out on the investments, insurance protection and security that we need, because we have only the vaguest ideas about the possibilities, and how to discover more.
You can’t afford to stick your head in the sand
As a result of a lack of basic information about what is available many people feel that the process of making personal finance decisions makes them overwhelmed and anxious. So anxious, in fact that many confess to delaying or not making important financial decisions at all.
It’s a phenomenon that seems to affect all ages and both sexes. Older people may feel they don’t know where to start. Younger groups who might be expected to search the internet and social media for information seem to face the same problem.
The fear of making a bad decision leads to personal finance paralysis, which has expensive consequences. Simply failing to search out and switch to a better mortgage rate could cost you money.
Can financial services providers help?
Banks, insurance companies and other financial services providers will all explain their products, and their terms and conditions in great detail. They need to do so to sell their products, as well as being legally obliged to be open and truthful about everything they do.
Many provide guides to help explain their products in simple terms and do their best to make unavoidable technical subjects – such as Annual Percentage Rate of Charge (APRC) for example – understandable.
However, they may not always be completely successful in making the facts clear. At the end of the day, each provider, no matter how upstanding, is still interested in selling their products. They might try to be objective and many will sincerely try to help you see if the product is appropriate for you, but they will not be quite so ready to point out when a competitor has a product which could be even better for your needs.
But more important still, large financial providers cannot sit down with you, get to understand your needs, and give you the personal answers and explanations that you are looking for.
What can you do?
The answer to personal finance paralysis is simply to start talking about money. Understanding some of the possibilities can be easier if you talk to people who have already faced the same challenges that you face now.
But of course, although they are something that everyone needs and we would all be better off if we knew the basics, making the most of finances needs some expert knowledge. At Continuum, our mission is to bring our clients a lifetime financial planning experience, where the advice is uncomplicated, clear and at all times meaningful.
Whatever your financial questions, come and talk to us.
The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable investment strategy, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.