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How to Talk About Money With Friends and Family

Healthy habits are contagious, studies show, especially when people "catch" them from their friends. Could the same be true of money?

Articles by MP Dunleavey

By MP Dunleavey

Published: March 5, 2014 | Updated: March 21, 2019

When you discover a way to boost your financial well-being, wouldn't you want your friends and family to benefit?

Imagine you’ve just discovered an app, a new concierge travel site, a card with serious rewards points—and you can’t wait to tell everyone you know about it.

You know that friends and family will appreciate the heads-up about something that’s going to make their lives better, so you don’t hesitate to share the info.

Shouldn’t that also happen when you find a product or service that takes your financial plan to a whole new level?

Breaking the money taboo

It’s not exactly breaking news: Talking about money can be so awkward that you probably avoid giving advice on financial topics, even to the important people in your life. (And if you do bring up money, it rarely involves actual dollars or returns—unless you’re crushing it, right?)

Yet being open about your wealth-building habits can be valuable—especially for the people you care about. Studies show that when people you know have healthy habits, you’re likely to imitate those good behaviors. Why wouldn’t the same be true for money?talk about money friends 2

Bottom line: When you talk about money and share your best financial habits, you’re ultimately helping the people you trust, and who trust you, to make informed decisions that will lead to their greater financial health and wealth. (Then you all can afford to charter that yacht for a slow sail through the Aegean.¹)

Sharing the wealth

Think about it, many people you know are missing out on potential returns—not because they’re foolish—but because they’re not informed, thanks to the cone of silence around issues that are central to achieving greater financial growth:

  • Costs. Time was when investors happily forked over 1% to 2% or more of their assets to work with an advisor or buy actively managed funds. Today, smart investors know there’s no need to squander a hefty chunk of long-term wealth—yet 76% of the fund market is invested in actively managed funds. Betterment costs about 10% of what the average advisor charges and invests in low-cost passive index ETFs.
  • Efficiency. If $20 fell on the ground every time your brother took out his wallet, what would you do? It sounds ridiculous, yet the typical investors’ careless (or impulsive) investing behavior leads them to lose out on returns. Betterment minimizes that so-called behavior gap and provides automation and behavioral safeguards that help customers keep 1.48% more of their investing returns, on average.
  • Taxes. No one wants to hand over a dime in taxes if they don’t have to. And with Betterment, our sophisticated portfolio rebalancing and automatic dividend reinvestment means that you’re not stuck with unnecessary short-term capital gains.

It’s hard to imagine a bigger win than sharing a product that’s giving you a financial edge, and helping increase your friends’ and family’s prosperity, too.

¹Past performance does not guarantee future results, nor does it guarantee a yacht charter across the Aegean. 

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