Taboo subject finances: with whom one should speak openly about money

You don't talk about money: some people are convinced of that.

Taboo subject finances: with whom one should speak openly about money

You don't talk about money: some people are convinced of that. But this attitude is wrong. With confidants, finances should be a regular topic - for a number of reasons.

Talking openly about money? This is still taboo for some Germans. How much one earns, which assets are available and which insurance policies will take effect in an emergency are often kept secret out of shame or fear of envy. But this approach is wrong, especially in the closest circle of confidants.

"Many don't even talk to their partner about finances and often don't know what the other person is earning," says Annabel Oelmann, director of the Bremen consumer advice center. The reason for this is often fear. "For example, the fear of being envied by others or the fear of being seen as unsuccessful," says Oelmann. But the fear of realizing that the financial situation in the family is not as rosy as you think it can be an obstacle.

However, it is advisable to discuss income, assets and debts in close family or friends. "For example, it's important that parents talk to their children about money in an age-appropriate manner," says Monika Müller, financial coach from Wiesbaden. This also includes saying how high the income is and what the family can afford financially and what not. "Ultimately, it's about enabling the next generation to one day handle money with confidence themselves," says Müller.

It is also in their own interest that adults should not omit the subject of finances when dealing with those closest to them. In addition to your partner and children, this can also be your own parents, siblings or best friends. "You help each other, go through the advantages and disadvantages and options together when it comes to a specific investment," says Oelmann.

In addition to finances, existing insurance policies and contracts should also be an issue. Because if something happens to you, it is an advantage if relatives or friends know about existing policies and obligations. An emergency folder in which the most important information and document copies are filed can be helpful, says Müller. Everyone should put this together as early as possible.

The emergency folder includes information about existing bank accounts and share accounts, copies of rental and telecommunications contracts and all policies. "So that everything runs smoothly in the event of an emergency, you should also give a trusted person power of attorney and put a copy of it in the folder," says Müller.

A living will should also not be missing in the emergency folder. This allows everyone to record their will in terms of medical or nursing treatment in the event that they can no longer express themselves. Such a living will can be created online free of charge - for example on the website of the consumer advice centers.

In the event that a very specific person should take care of the most important matters, a power of attorney should also be in the folder. If you don't do that, you risk the court appointing a third-party supervisor in an emergency, says consumer advocate Oelmann.

Creating an emergency folder is initially complex and time-consuming. "A lot of people put it off," says Müller. But to believe that later there is always time to settle one's own affairs is wrong. After all, you can't plan your own destiny. The only difficult thing anyway is the start, says Annabel Oelmann. Once you have all the documents together, it will be easier to make adjustments in the emergency folder in the future.

Regular updates are essential, after all, contracts are always changing and new ones are added. But the folder does not replace communication. "At least once a year, more often if necessary, you should talk about personal money matters with your loved ones," recommends Müller. But how do you start when the principle "you don't talk about money" has applied so far? "Just dare," advises Oelmann. Once you get started, you often notice that it's not that difficult.

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