12 icebreakers for starting conversations about money

The mind-money connection

Meaningful discussions around personal finances can help you and your loved ones make progress toward your goals and feel closer. These money icebreaker questions can help you kickstart those conversations. 

Talking about money can be a vital way to strengthen relationships and build trust. “Your relationships with other people are critical to your happiness, overall well-being, and health, and money is a part of that,” says Bright Dickson, senior purpose advisor at Truist and an expert in positive psychology.

That doesn’t mean you should ask your buddies about their latest paychecks or bring up your 401(k) savings on a first date, says Brian Ford, Truist head of financial wellness. Many topics should be saved for particular situations with people you know well.

But open conversations with loved ones can help you and the people you care about make strong money choices. And that’s true whether you’re helping your aging parents plan for retirement, talking with your longtime partner about how to pool your finances after you get married, or sharing a savings goal with a close friend. 

“Your relationships are critical to your happiness, and money is a part of that.”—Bright Dickson, Truist senior purpose advisor.

These conversations can be rewarding, especially if you approach them with an open mind. “Sometimes people don't want to talk about money because they think it will expose their inadequacy or their lack of financial literacy,” says Ford. “But it’s so important to realize you don’t know everything, and you can learn by opening up to people you love and trust.”

Ready to start talking? Here are 12 money icebreaker questions that can spark authentic and productive conversations with your friends and family.

The highlights:

  • Knowing how to talk about money can lead to valuable conversations that help you and your loved ones achieve financial goals together.
  • Opening up about financial goals, challenges, or wins can help you figure out how to prioritize and adjust your money habits.
  • Listening to other perspectives can help broaden your own understanding of important money topics and how others approach finances.

Questions to help you explore money goals and topics

1.      What’s something you’d like to achieve in the next year? Or in the next 5 to 10 years?

This icebreaker can help establish your and your loved ones' priorities. Together, you can discuss how money can play a part in helping you each achieve your goals.

2.      What’s a financial topic you’d like to learn more about?

This question can reveal opportunities for growth. Exchange suggestions for podcasts, websites, or classes that promote financial education, and consider sharing some pointers of your own. Your loved ones might also know something you don’t, and they may be happy to teach you.

3.      What are you saving for?

Most people are saving for something—whether it’s a house, an emergency, or a sweet new pair of sneakers. Talk to your friends and family members about their savings goals and share whatever’s on your radar. Then you can help each other brainstorm ways to ramp up your savings.

If you don’t have a place to store your savings, check out a Truist One Savings Disclosure 1 account. It can be a great tool for building interest while saving toward your goals.

4.      Did you hear about this money issue?

Bringing up an interesting topic you heard about on a podcast or saw trending on social media can help start a broader conversation about money. “I do that a lot with friends, actually,” says Ford. “I’ll use a third party to bring up a topic. The key is not to be so opinionated about something that they would withhold how they really feel.”

5.      If you could change one thing about your (or our) financial life, what would it be and why?

This is a great question to discuss with your spouse. The better you understand each other, the more support you can give as you pursue your mutual and individual goals. Together, you can create a plan to help make these dreams a reality.

Questions for sharing financial lessons

6.      What was the last impulse purchase you made?

According to a recent survey, in 2023 Americans spent on average more than $151 a month on impulse purchases.Disclosure 2 Impulse purchases can be hard to resist, and can add up over time. By sharing your experiences, you and a friend can talk about how to resist temptation when it comes to spending spontaneously and find ways to hold each other accountable.

7.      What’s a purchase that you regret making? Or what’s a purchase that you’ll never regret?

We all occasionally buy things we regret. On the flip side, we’ve all made purchases that we should’ve made way sooner (hello, TSA precheck for frequent travelers). This can be a fun question to ask friends so you can learn more about each other’s values—and how spending with intention can help us all live by those values.

8.      What did you learn about money in school? Or what do you wish you learned?

Developing financial literacy starts early, but only 25 states require some financial education in high school—up from 8 in 2020.Disclosure 3 Use this question with adults to get inspiration for money lessons you can teach your children, like how to budget or the value of compound interest, or for inspiration to learn more about financial topics that may interest you.

9.      Have you ever run out of money or needed to tap into an emergency fund? What happened?

Save this question for those closest to you—parents, siblings, and partners. This can be a difficult and personal topic, but it’s an important one. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on what you’ve learned from your own challenges. While past financial difficulties may not weigh on the future, talking about them can help you and your loved ones prepare for any obstacles you may face together.

Prompts for discussing your dreams and aspirations

10.  If you could donate as much money as you wanted to a single cause, what would it be?

This question helps to identify values and how you and your loved ones want to spend your time. It can also help you align your personal goals with your financial goals.

11.  If you could spend as much as you wanted on a gift for someone else, what would it be?

Sometimes purely hypothetical questions can lead to the most creative thinking about what we want to do with our money. Plus, it’s fun to imagine!

12.  If you inherited or won a large amount of money, what would you do with it? What about your life would change?

This can be a telling question to discuss with family members. Would they share the money with friends and family? Would their lifestyle drastically change? Would they choose to invest or spend a lot of it? Although it’s just hypothetical, understanding how to handle a windfall can be helpful in many life moments.

Next step suggestions:

Build more with Truist One Savings.Disclosure 1

Saving? More like building. Building security. Building toward personal goals. Building interest. All with one account.

Check it out with Truist One Savings.   Disclosure 1

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial, investment, or mental health advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial, investment, or mental health professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.