8 Most Awkward Money Situations

Couple counting coinsMoney talks, buys us freedom, greases the wheels.

But let's face it... it can also be really awkward.

In fact, no topic induces as much squeamish conversation, passive-aggression and etiquette confusion as the green stuff. Forget sex, politics and religion--try asking someone how much they make and watch conversation come to a screeching halt and the awkward silence descend.

Money is our society's last taboo, and we'd like to change that. We at LearnVest believe in trying to make money more of an open topic of conversation, so we can start sharing and supporting each other in our journey to financial freedom and living richly.

Feeling Green With Envy?

Learn how to deal with financial jealousy CLICK HERE

But until then, awkwardness abounds. Below, peruse our slide show on the 8 Most Awkward Money Situations... and how to handle them.

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  • TheOtherMother

    Awkward situation #9: My daughter’s soon-to-be in-laws are relentless in their pursuit of the total amount of her student loans. They were fortunate enough to be able to pay all of their son’s college costs, but seem oblivious to the fact that not everyone has that ability. They think she should be loan-less! (She has no credit card debt or other loans)

  • TheOtherMother

    Awkward situation #9: My daughter’s soon-to-be in-laws are relentless in their pursuit of the total amount of her student loans. They were fortunate enough to be able to pay all of their son’s college costs, but seem oblivious to the fact that not everyone has that ability. They think she should be loan-less! (She has no credit card debt or other loans)

    • Marie

      Yikes! I imagine it is coming from a place of love for their son, though; maybe they have read those articles (I am thinking of one NTY article in particular) about people who leave college $150,000 in debt from a photography degree and no plan for paying it off.

      Perhaps the fiance can convey to his parents that your daughter does have student loans, but has a plan and is working to get rid of them. I think for many people, the amount of debt is of secondary importance next to whether action is being taken to pay down the debt.

      • TheOtherMother

         They would like to know the amount, I think, to hold it over her head for something. They are not extraordinary and she has been paying on them since she got out of school. She is not interested in having them help as that kind of an offer would come with strings.

      • TheOtherMother

         They would like to know the amount, I think, to hold it over her head for something. They are not extraordinary and she has been paying on them since she got out of school. She is not interested in having them help as that kind of an offer would come with strings.

        • http://www.jessicaek.com Jess

          I would think her fiance would need to know the amount, as they are soon to merge finances.  Then the two of them can decide whether or not to tell his parents.  If it were me, I would not want to tell them since it’s none of their business, but I guess there is something to be said for keeping the peace and stop being badgered.

        • http://www.jessicaek.com Jess

          I would think her fiance would need to know the amount, as they are soon to merge finances.  Then the two of them can decide whether or not to tell his parents.  If it were me, I would not want to tell them since it’s none of their business, but I guess there is something to be said for keeping the peace and stop being badgered.

    • Marie

      Yikes! I imagine it is coming from a place of love for their son, though; maybe they have read those articles (I am thinking of one NTY article in particular) about people who leave college $150,000 in debt from a photography degree and no plan for paying it off.

      Perhaps the fiance can convey to his parents that your daughter does have student loans, but has a plan and is working to get rid of them. I think for many people, the amount of debt is of secondary importance next to whether action is being taken to pay down the debt.

    • Paulie

      Is it possible that they are interested in helping pay it off? Or they may have a suggestion for a plan of action. Have they indicated why they are so relentless in finding out this information? Maybe her fiance can ask his parents politely why do they ask?

      • TheOtherMother

         They haven’t offered… His mom has said that when she got married she made sure to not have any loans. (She also didn’t go to college) My daughter fully intends to repay her loan with her income. It’s not an extraordinary amount and she has assured them that she will. Their concern is that it will affect HIS credit rating. They have even asked us (her parents) the amount and we’ve told them that it’s her business and not ours, as she is starting her life. BTW she has a job and their son is still in grad school.

        • Paulie

          I really hope that this situation does not interfere with their plans and take joy away from what is a wonderful upcoming event. It seems however that is may be getting a bit frustrating for your family with what seems to be mainly the mother’s financial concerns. I cannot see how your daughter having student loans could affect his credit rating. Her score and her rating is exclusive to her. Nevertheless continue to keep your cool and let your daughter continue do the same as well. Maybe the fiance should sit with his parents and thank his parents for all their help over the years. He could explain to them that he has grown up to be a strong, intelligent young man because of their love, support and guidance. He could politely state that he needs them to refrain from asking these questions which are now for him and his soon to be wife to handle as a couple and that they have already taken steps in that direction. He could probably go on to further state that if they had any suggestions on courses of action they would welcome their opinion but the ultimate decision is for him and his wife to be. He could also add that he does not want this issue to be a sore point for the upcoming wedding and the joining of two wonderful families

          Maybe the mother wants to delay the wedding because of this issue but the fiance may need to stress that he has made his decision, chosen his mate and a wedding date and they need to continue trusting and supporting him like they have always done. If he doesn’t put his foot down now then finance won’t only be the only thing the in laws will be butting into. These are just suggestions and I hope this matter works out good for all involved. One final suggestion is maybe to get some professional advice on how to handle the prospective in laws with these financial questions because at the end of the day all you want is peace for both families and that your daughter is accepted and there is no rift.

        • Paulie

          I really hope that this situation does not interfere with their plans and take joy away from what is a wonderful upcoming event. It seems however that is may be getting a bit frustrating for your family with what seems to be mainly the mother’s financial concerns. I cannot see how your daughter having student loans could affect his credit rating. Her score and her rating is exclusive to her. Nevertheless continue to keep your cool and let your daughter continue do the same as well. Maybe the fiance should sit with his parents and thank his parents for all their help over the years. He could explain to them that he has grown up to be a strong, intelligent young man because of their love, support and guidance. He could politely state that he needs them to refrain from asking these questions which are now for him and his soon to be wife to handle as a couple and that they have already taken steps in that direction. He could probably go on to further state that if they had any suggestions on courses of action they would welcome their opinion but the ultimate decision is for him and his wife to be. He could also add that he does not want this issue to be a sore point for the upcoming wedding and the joining of two wonderful families

          Maybe the mother wants to delay the wedding because of this issue but the fiance may need to stress that he has made his decision, chosen his mate and a wedding date and they need to continue trusting and supporting him like they have always done. If he doesn’t put his foot down now then finance won’t only be the only thing the in laws will be butting into. These are just suggestions and I hope this matter works out good for all involved. One final suggestion is maybe to get some professional advice on how to handle the prospective in laws with these financial questions because at the end of the day all you want is peace for both families and that your daughter is accepted and there is no rift.

      • TheOtherMother

         They haven’t offered… His mom has said that when she got married she made sure to not have any loans. (She also didn’t go to college) My daughter fully intends to repay her loan with her income. It’s not an extraordinary amount and she has assured them that she will. Their concern is that it will affect HIS credit rating. They have even asked us (her parents) the amount and we’ve told them that it’s her business and not ours, as she is starting her life. BTW she has a job and their son is still in grad school.

    • Paulie

      Is it possible that they are interested in helping pay it off? Or they may have a suggestion for a plan of action. Have they indicated why they are so relentless in finding out this information? Maybe her fiance can ask his parents politely why do they ask?

    • HaShe

      Wow. They should be going to the son and he/fiance can decide whether to share that information.  As her parents I would tell her/them that the parents have come to you requesting her personal financial information.  I would also politely suggest that the information be requested from the daughter or if they are not yet comfortable the son as I try not to meddle in their financial affairs.

      I can understand the concern because as much as we want to ignore it marriage is a big legal situation.  However I would not appreciate the method and it will be a good way for the son to practice dealing with such situations with his parents.  Very soon his loyalties will shift to his wife, not his parents.  This is sometimes a tricky transition especially with that type of parent.

  • Jul

    This was so helpful!

  • Jul

    This was so helpful!

  • Marie

    I have tried to deflect the questions about how much I make/how much something I bought costs, but I am usually taken by surprise and end up answering. Or, I deflect and they keep going until I answer. It is so hard to deal with some of these situations gracefully!

    • Paulie

      I don’t think it’s anyone’s business but you and your immediate family and you should not have to answer them. If it’s a job interview that is a different scenario. You seem like such a nice person. Don’t feel obligated to answer. I usually ask them why they are asking that question and that works. I can’t think of any reason why someone should ask a question like that unless you have solicited financial advice. Marie in this type of economy, people get jealous easily, do not answer that question.

      • Marie

        Thanks, Paulie. I like your response to nosy people. I think that would make them pause because the answer is probably just that they are nosy!

        • Paulie

          Glad you like Marie. Have a great day!

      • Marie

        Thanks, Paulie. I like your response to nosy people. I think that would make them pause because the answer is probably just that they are nosy!

    • Paulie

      I don’t think it’s anyone’s business but you and your immediate family and you should not have to answer them. If it’s a job interview that is a different scenario. You seem like such a nice person. Don’t feel obligated to answer. I usually ask them why they are asking that question and that works. I can’t think of any reason why someone should ask a question like that unless you have solicited financial advice. Marie in this type of economy, people get jealous easily, do not answer that question.

  • Marie

    I have tried to deflect the questions about how much I make/how much something I bought costs, but I am usually taken by surprise and end up answering. Or, I deflect and they keep going until I answer. It is so hard to deal with some of these situations gracefully!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=730121295 Carol Carveth

    I think it’s weird to tell women the thing to keep most mum about is their salaries.  Not knowing what to ask for is a big part of the 23% business, or so we’ve been told (I think even possibly by LearnVest.)  It’s obvious you don’t want to go out and brag or start crap for your company, but it can actually be helpful to yourself and others to know what the standard pay level is.

  • Molly

    My brother-in-law periodically asks us for loans of $500 (and once, to cosign on a $35,000 truck). We always say we can’t because we don’t believe in borrowing or lending money. But when we offer to give him a smaller amount, like $200, he gets mad and ignores us for months…until he needs money again. It used to make me feel awkward, now it’s just a quarterly inconvenience.

    • key typer

      So, you don’t believe in mortgages or credit cards, student loans?  Do you use cash for everything.  I am not saying that you should loan anyone $, but I can see why he might be a bit annoyed.  Is it really just b/c he’s untrustworthy and you think he won’t pay? 

      • Molly

        Yes, we use cash or debit/checks for everything. No credit cards, no student loans, no mortgage. I don’t judge anyone who uses credit, though. To each his own.

        To answer your questions, yes, he is untrustworthy; he will not repay. That’s why he’s trying to borrow money from us instead of getting a loan or credit card elsewhere. But that’s not why we don’t lend him money. It’s because lending money to family and friends changes the relationship. That’s why we offer to give him what we can afford — so there’s no awkwardness between us.

        I bet he is “annoyed” with us. I don’t care. If he wants our money, he can accept what we are able to gift him.

  • Molly

    My brother-in-law periodically asks us for loans of $500 (and once, to cosign on a $35,000 truck). We always say we can’t because we don’t believe in borrowing or lending money. But when we offer to give him a smaller amount, like $200, he gets mad and ignores us for months…until he needs money again. It used to make me feel awkward, now it’s just a quarterly inconvenience.

  • HaShe

    I’m vegetarian, don’t drink & an appetizer is usually more than enough for a meal.  Splitting the bill often leaves me paying US$10-20 more and it gets old.  Most of us tell the server to split the bill & they easily do along w/ the credit cards.  We’ve also had people leave early & need their portion of the bill only to leave us with $100 of beverages that weren’t added.  From a couple professional waitstaff friends….it isn’t the most ideal situation but it also isn’t the worst.  It is more important that you enjoyed your experience at the restaurant.  I agree that it is better to sort it out before hand.