5 ways to have tough money talks with loved ones

Money expert Gail Vaz-Oxlade gave some tips on talking about money on CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

Finance writer Gail Vaz-Oxlade gives tips from new book, Money Talks

Personal finance expert Gail Vaz-Oxlade stopped in to give some advice on discussing money with loved ones on CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning on Jan. 13, 2015. (Leisha Grebinski/CBC)

Some of the toughest talks you can have involve dollar signs, but financial writer Gail Vaz-Oxlade is trying to help people ease the process.

Her new book Money Talks just hit the shelves, and it's all about how to have difficult financial conversations with your loved ones.

Vaz-Oxlade joined host Leisha Grebinski from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning to give the low-down on making the money chatter flow. 

"We keep blaming the money, but it's not actually the money. It's human behaviour," Vaz-Oxlade said. 

Best-selling author Gail Vaz-Oxlade's new book, Money Talks, is on the shelves and includes more than 70 scenarios to help people discuss finances. (Leisha Grebinski/CBC)

Vaz-Oxlade said she gets between 400 and 600 letters a month from people asking how to talk to friends and loved ones about money. In her book she gives more than 70 different scenarios to show how to broach the subject. 

"There are people that think the world owes it to them, and they should have the same thing everyone else has, but they're not working anywhere near as hard as everyone else," she said.

Here is some of her advice on how to have those tough financial talks: 

1) Realize you are in a different head space

You've been thinking of this financial issue for a while, but Vaz-Oxlade says it's important to remember that it's probably something new to the person you're addressing. 

"They're coming to it, like brand spanking new, so you can't expect them to catch up with you and have everything fixed by noon on Tuesday," she said.

"You have to give the process some time." 

2) Expect some backlash, then deal with it 

"You should expect anger, pity, tears to show up to the party. It's going to happen," she said. 

It's completely normal for this to happen, said Vaz-Oxlade, but it's best to keep yourself out of the emotional undertow when it does. She recommends going out for a walk or grocery shopping while the person calms down. 

3) Keep at it

Even if the person is upset, it's not time to give up. If necessary, make a date to have the discussion another day in the future. 

"You can't give up, because if you truly love this person, you don't want to see their life suck," she said. 

4) Don't let money lending become a regular thing

If a friend asks to borrow some money to pay bills or make rent, it's fine to help out as long as it's not an ongoing thing. After it's happened once or twice, you have to be clear and let them know you won't be giving them any the next month, Vaz-Oxlade said.

"If you continue to allow the behaviour to go on, you then can't turn around and whine about the person always hitting you up for money, because you put them in the pattern," she said. 

5) Don't wait until it's a crisis

Vaz-Oxlade said she commonly gets letters from kids saying their baby-boom parents are relying on them for money.

To prevent a crisis, it's best to have money conversations early on, according to Vaz-Oxlade. If it seems like your parents are not going to have enough money for their retirement, start talking about it with them before it's time to retire.