Life is full of precious and memorable moments. And then, life is full of moments that are just downright uncomfortable and awkward. Those awkward moments will, mostly, be about money.
One right of passage into adulthood is being faced with an awkward situation where you are asked to pay up. It may seem tacky to bring up payment during a time of an emergency, of grief, or heartbreak. But, as you get older, you realize it’s just part of life. There is no easy way to bring up money, but it has to get done.
Here are 10 situations when you should expect the awkward money talk.
1. Congrats on your new baby. Would like to make a payment towards your hospital bill?
One of life’s great wonders is giving birth. It’s a very emotional experience, usually surrounded by family and friends. The new parents have been preparing for this moments for nine months, and, in a blink of an eye, the baby is here. And bonding begins. Well, not before the hospital asks you about billing and payments.
Unless you have made arrangements to take care of the labor and hospital costs in advance, new parents should not be surprised when the hospital asks about payment. Even if you have medical insurance that covers a portion of the expenses, it’s not uncommon for the hospital to seek an initial payment.
Don’t want to deal with payment options as you are preparing to take your little one home? As one is preparing for a baby’s arrival, put aside money each month and pay the outstanding medical bill in advance.
2. You are the father.
The birth of a new life is a happy occasion. But can easily turn stressful if the couple breaks up. Or, if a person is trying to skip out on their responsibilities.
The matter of child support is not a comfortable conversation to have, but it is a necessary one. If faced with a breakup, make civil financial and custody arrangements. And if possible, do this without going to court.
However, if you find yourself in a position where your partner is attempting to flee their responsibilities or claim that a paternity test is needed, you may have to file legal paperwork. By filing for child support with a court, the other party is legally obligated to provide a monthly sum depending on their income.
3. You have our deepest condolences. Please take a look at our price packages.
Coping with the death of a close relative or friend is a process that can take years. You will go through the initial emotional and confusing stages of grief. And, depending on how close you are to the deceased, you will also have a hand in taking care of funeral arrangements. That’s where it gets interesting.
A reputable funeral home will make sure that your loved one is cared for and prepared for burial in a dignified manner. But keep in mind that it’s also a business. It costs money and the time of professionals to properly lay one to rest.
So, be prepared and do not make financial decisions when you are emotionally vulnerable. Do your research ahead of time and come prepared to discuss coffins, funeral packages and burial or cremation options.
4. I want a divorce.
The end of a marriage is hard enough. Then here comes the talk about splitting up assets. Assets can include bank accounts, property, personal gifts, and investments. Not to mention the possibility of paying spousal support.
Strangely enough, money troubles is a common reason cited for separation and divorce. Debts, hidden accounts, unmanageable spending or a cut in income can cause serious stresses in a relationship.
But, when there’s a will, there’s a will. Transparency and constant communication regarding finances are key in any marriage, or relationship in general. Avoid the awkward divorce money talk by having ongoing money talks while during throughout your relationship.
5. Please list your ailment and insurance provider.
Ever found yourself in the emergency room? Did you have insurance? Were you aware that the co-pay is due upon discharge?
It may not seem alarming that payment is due upon an emergency room discharge. That is until you see the bill. Medical care costs are high in the U.S. and vary from hospital to hospital.
If you are without medical insurance, you still can receive care. Legally, a hospital cannot refuse treatment. Just expect to give your social security number and government-issued ID.
For those without insurance, if the emergency is not life threatening, check urgent care facilities or state-run hospitals. The wait may be long, but you will have more financial options.
If you do have insurance, be sure to know that conditions and amount of your co-pay. With the majority of the expense already taken care of, don’t be caught off guard by a $100 emergency room co-pay.
6. Are you okay? Can I get your insurance information?
If you’re lucky enough to walk away from a car accident, what’s the first thing you do? You check to see if the other person involved in the accident is OK. The typical second step is very awkward if someone is injured.
In any and every car accident, a conversation about car insurance is inevitable. Who was at fault? How much is covered? How much will your premium increase? All these questions have to be answered to get each party the proper medical treatment, repairs or receive damages owed for a totaled vehicle.
No one ever intends to get in a car accident. But they do happen. So, prepare for worse case scenario. Get full coverage insurance that fits in your budget. That way, the driver, all other listed drivers, your passengers, the other person involved in the accident are covered.
7. The sky’s the limit, graduate. Your first payment of $500 a month is due in six months.
Students leave college hopeful, with the best and brightest of intentions in mind. A six month grace period seems reasonable. You’ll find a good paying job right after college, right?
Unless your degree is very specific, like medicine or engineering, you may be faced with taking any employment that comes your way. It’s not the dream job, but it will keep you from defaulting on your loans. And it’s only temporary, right?
The ever increasing outstanding student loan debt has become an increasingly hot topic. And it’s no wonder. Students end up without the ability to purchase a home, seek further education, advance professionally or change careers due to a large student loan debt.
Before you leap into student loans of any amount, check out your local community college, trade school, available scholarships or low cost education alternatives.
8. And how does that make you feel?
Sometimes, an unbiased ear is just what the doctor ordered. For some, particularly those suffering from depression, therapy can offer a very rewarding and life-changing experience. However, nothing is more disappointing than making a true connection with your therapist, only to be served a hefty bill.
When it comes to the cost of therapy, be prepared for a case of sticker shock. Therapists that do not accept insurance can charge $200 for an hour session.
Avoid this situation by doing your homework. There are low cost alternatives, like a referral center. Or, if you have insurance, seek an in-network therapist.
9. I thought we agreed on this much?
If you begin working as a freelancer, you may encounter two kinds of awkward situations: an incorrect invoice and a client that is difficult to collect payment from.
In the case of an incorrect invoice, this is easy to correct, as you have an initial work agreement in writing. A verbal agreement and a handshake leaves you legally vulnerable, increasing the odds of the contractor taking a loss.
In the event that you are dealing with a client that refuses to pay, try to establish contact and establish a payment agreement in writing. If the client refuses to establish contact, a formal letter from an attorney’s office will have to be your next step.
10. When will you pay me back?
Friends, family and money just don’t mix. Especially when that friend owes you money. Or, even worse, when you owe them money.
A personal loan between friends and family usually don’t involve promissory notes or contracts. But, depending on the amount, a contract or promissory note should be drafted and signed.
Don’t soil a relationship between loved ones over an unpaid balance. If you are the borrower, show an effort that the loan is being paid. If you are unable to make a full payment by an agreed date, make arrangements for a partial or delayed payment.