In our 20s and 30s, we look to our friends for much more than just advice on a crush or the go-ahead to buy a pair of shoes that are a little outside of our comfort zone. Over time, we suddenly find ourselves relying on our pals for more substantial matters: accountability for our health, truthful discussions about problematic significant others, and more. And while most of us aren’t naturally confident chatting about finances, it’s time we get comfortable talking money, because our friends can be a wealth of information (no pun intended) that may help us make better, more informed financial decisions.
According to Jennifer Kruger — an assistant branch manager for Fidelity Investments — there are five financial conversations in particular that every woman should be having with her friends on a regular basis. Keep scrolling to learn more about these key conversations and what you should expect to learn (or teach!) when you initiate them. Grab a bottle of wine and some really good snacks (cupcakes are always a good idea) and get talkin’!
1. Know Your Value: You and your friends should always be ready to affirm each other’s value, but with performance reviews and bonus season just around the corner, fall is a better time than ever to have this conversation. While you’re thinking about your personal strengths, doing research about what you should be asking for from your boss, and preparing to march into that office and get. what. you. deserve, don’t underestimate your pals as resources. “Talking with friends in related industries about salaries and growth opportunities can help give you a sense of where you stand today and your earning potential,” Kruger shares.
2. Job Benefits: If you’re lucky, you’re working for a company that offers a standard health insurance plan — and if you’re really lucky, you’re working for a company that offers other benefits, including commuter reimbursement, a health savings account, corporate discounts, and more. You may be missing out on some of these benefits, however, because you don’t even know to look for them! Opening up to pals about what resources your employer offers is a great way to help your friends make sure they’re getting the most out of their job (and vice versa, of course).
3. Savings and Spending Habits: “Sharing your personal habits around saving and spending can help you and your friends compare money management tips, reevaluate good (and bad) habits, and ideally reset your commitment to staying on track to reach financial goals,” explains Kruger. To help guide those conversations, she suggests the Fidelity 50/15/5 Rule. According to this rule, 50 percent of your money should be spent on essentials (housing, food, transportation, child care, health care, etc.), 15 percent should be put away for retirement, and 5 percent should be saved for the short term in case of emergency. The remaining 30 percent is discretionary spending based on what’s important to you.
4. Emergency Funds: Most of us know that we’re supposed to have some money set aside for emergencies or unexpected changes to our financial situations — but that doesn’t make it any easier to designate those funds as off-limits every month. Your friends may have personal experience with dipping into their emergency funds, and hearing their stories will remind you of the importance of putting this money aside. Maybe you can even swap some savings hacks to make the process easier!
5. Investing: According to data from Fidelity, women actually outperformed men on their investments in 2016, but only one in 10 women believe that women make better investors. “It’s time to give ourselves more credit, ladies!” Kruger encourages. “Talking to like-minded friends that you trust about how and where they invest can be the nudge you need to revisit your own investment accounts or help you get started.”
Do you and your BFFs confide in each other about money? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)