Adulting can be tough. As you probably know, the source of many "grown-up" problems is money. We’re not talking about negotiating a salary or financing that new car you want; rather, it’s the social dynamics around money that can lead to some truly awkward moments. We call these money misunderstandings.The top 5 money misunderstandings and how to avoid them Click To Tweet
Money misunderstandings pop up seemingly out-of-nowhere and can sour a moment, or even worse, a relationship. To steer clear of these mishaps, let's play with a few scenarios. If you follow these tips, you’ll be more likely to dodge misunderstandings and avoid these unpleasant predicaments.
1. Forgetting your wallet
You're meeting an acquaintance for drinks to talk about the possibility of picking up some extra work on the weekends. You rush home after work and out the door, only to realize that as you're offering to pay for drinks, you forgot your wallet.
We've all been this person at one point or another. Even if it is just with friends, it can be hard to wash away the sting.
It's probably the most common awkward money moment. Fortunately, services like Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and Venmo allow you to have a backup right on your phone. Simply link these apps to your bank account and pick up your portion of the tab.
A bit more embarrassing than the last scenario.
If your credit or debit card is declined, it usually means one of your purchases has been flagged. In some cases it could mean you have maxed out your credit card or overdrawn your checking account. Either way, it's embarrassing, especially in the company of your peers.
There are a few ways to avoid this:
If you’re traveling, be sure to notify your card company ahead of time. The same can be said if you're about to pick up an unusually large tab, as some accounts will automatically flag these purchases for fraud.
Consider carrying multiple forms of payment with you - some cash, your debit card, and a backup credit card. It's personal finance best practice to pay off your credit card balance each month to avoid interest charges and to keep your credit utilization rate low, but that's a topic for another time.
If you do go over your balance, use it as a learning opportunity to pay closer attention to your finances, and offer to pick up the bill next time you get together.How these five money misunderstandings taught us valuable life lessons Click To Tweet
3. Loaning money
You're out with a friend or family member and they pull you aside and hit you with "Hey, I wanted to ask you about something..."
This sentence alone can lead to some awkward moments. Not to mention if it's followed with, "is there any possible chance you could loan me ___ dollars? I promise I'll pay you back."
It's no secret that lending money to friends or family can ruin a relationship. If you find yourself in this situation here's what you should consider.
- Can you afford to loan them money? If the answer is no, then consider saying no firmly to avoid any prolonged awkwardness. Be polite, but let them know you're not in a situation to help.
- If you can afford to loan money, be sure to get a clear picture of their situation.
- Does the asking party have other alternatives to earn money? Perhaps a side hustle or a business loan.
- Is this the first time they've asked you, or others for money?
- Is the cause legitimate? You don't need to loan anyone money so they can satisfy a material want (a new car, boat, or flat screen TV.)
- Can you help them in other ways besides loaning cash? For example, if they are in need of money for a new car, do you have a vehicle you could temporarily lend them.
If you end up deciding to lend money, be sure to establish terms, a due date, and write up a contract. You’ll be far more likely to be paid back if you do.
4. Chipping in and helping out
These days, there are a lot of ways people can ask for money. With the rise of crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter, people can fund their noble, and not-so-noble causes in ways that were once impossible.
Instead of pulling you aside, like the above situation, maybe the friend or family member opts for posting their crowdfunding project on your Facebook page, and repeatedly asks if you can chip in.
In these situations, it’s best to be honest. If you can’t contribute, say so. You might be surprised at how understanding people are. Instead of contributing, consider offering to help spread the word about their project.
5. Money and your significant other
Your relationship is starting to get serious. You're out at dinner one night and the topic of financial goals comes up. While you explain you're currently working on building a healthy emergency fund and paying down debt, you learn your partner is debt-free and stashing away money to take their dream vacation.
It quickly becomes clear that you two are on different financial wavelengths.
Nothing can end your honeymoon sooner than “the money talk.” But it's an essential component of all successful relationships.
To avoid this money misunderstanding, it's important to come to the table absent of judgement. Money is a sensitive topic and judging one's financial situation or past decisions will not end well.
When you do have the money talk, be sure that both parties are honest about their financial situations, goals, expectations, and spending habits. It may not be your idea of romantic evening, but it will strengthen your relationship.