It seems like many people think that talking about money is more taboo than talking about sex or politics.
Recently, I was on Facebook and someone I know asked their friends how much money they were saving each month. It seemed like a pretty harmless question.
They explained that they were asking for real numbers because they just began saving and simply wanted to talk with others about saving money.
Then, someone commented with something like, “Sharing actual numbers is disgusting. Use percentages, if you must.”
The conversation continued, others chimed in, and it became clear that openly talking about money made some people pretty angry. There was an overwhelming amount of people who said the whole conversation was tacky and that money should not be discussed, EVER.
Why does talking about money have to be so secretive? Is it really that tacky?
Having a financial blog means I get some interesting emails about this sort of thing, some from people who think it's crazy that I publish income reports and talk about money so openly. So, I’m very aware of the stigma that comes with talking about money.
In fact, according to a survey conducted by Ally Bank, 70% of Americans think that it's rude to talk about money. Respondents said they were more likely to disclose their income (39%) over savings (30%) or debt (29%) to family and friends.
And, it doesn't end there. People don't like to talk about how much they pay in rent, their monthly mortgage payment, or even how much they spend on internet service.
Why does your internet bill have to be secretive?
Talking about money is even seen as taboo among close family members, even among married couples. According to a survey done by Fidelity, 43% of respondents don’t know how much their partner earns, and 36% are unaware of the amount they have invested.
Here’s one last interesting study that I'd like to bring up, University College London found that people were seven times more likely to talk to a stranger about sex, affairs, and sexually transmitted diseases than discussing their salary.
You'd tell a stranger that you have an STD rather than tell them how much you make?
This is just crazy!
I think we should all be more open about money. Money is a topic that influences all of our lives, whether we want to believe it or not.
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Here is why more people should start talking about money.
Talking about money can help you.
If you are someone that feels money talk is taboo, then it may be difficult to understand how openly talking about money can really help you out. If you aren’t talking about money, you may not know:
- How much of a raise to ask for.
- How to negotiate for the best salary.
- The average selling price for houses.
- What you should be paying in rent.
- Whether or not your expenses (utilities, phone, insurance, etc.) are normal or unusually high.
And, more than anything, without talking about money, it would be hard to realize that you need to improve your financial situation.
Many people don't like talking about money because it becomes “too real.” They may even feel shame about their financial mistakes, or they may feel that they aren't doing as well as others.
Well, you're never going to do any better if you aren’t aware of your financial situation.
Being in the dark isn't going to help anyone. It might actually hold you back because you're just taking a random guess at everything.
However, if you know things like the average salary for a person in your position, you'll be able to use that information to your benefit. It can help you negotiate a raise and start earning more.
Also, by knowing how much a person is paying for rent or even car insurance, you'll know if you are paying too much. This can help you make changes that will allow you to start saving more money.
The list goes on and on.
Knowledge is power, and knowing more about money will help you!
Knowing your family's finances is important.
If you take anything out of this article, it should be that fully understanding your family’s financial situation is a must.
There are many financial horror stories where one spouse doesn’t realize the other has hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. Or, one spouse thinks the family is financially sound, when in reality, the truth is the exact opposite.
I’ve heard so many people say that they have no idea what their monthly mortgage or rent payment is, they don’t know how much they are putting towards retirement, and so on.
Even more shocking, some are completely unaware of how much debt they have and can’t even estimate how much they owe. Or, if they do make a guess, their spouse blurts out how wrong they are.
Sadly, this is surprisingly common.
A family who has regular money talks and budget meetings is more likely to be financially successful and happier than a family that doesn’t.
There are many ways for these talks to help you and your family.
- You can work together and succeed. If you are both putting effort towards your financial goals, you can tackle them as a team and are much more likely to have a positive outcome.
- A lack of money communication can lead to financial infidelity. According to an article on Forbes, 20% of those in the U.S. keep financial secrets, and 7% of people between the ages of 18-49 have a secret bank account or a secret credit card they keep from their partner.
- Knowing your financial situation will help you keep a budget. Understanding your financial situation means you can create and keep a budget that works for you. You will know more about the amount of money you are spending, whether you are living paycheck to paycheck, and more.
- Being aware may prevent everything from falling on one person. Everyone should be aware of their financial situation. It's not fair for one person to manage it all, and you would be in for a rude awakening if something were to happen to that person.
- Being involved can help you with your family's goals. It would be quite difficult for a person to work towards their family's financial goals if they weren't aware of their financial situation. Being involved can help keep you motivated and know what's going on.
- Regular money talks can lead to less fighting. When you are open about money in your relationship, you are less likely to have financial surprises and money fights. This is because conducting regular money talks and budget meetings means you will both be aware of what’s going on.
Recommended reading: Family Budget Meetings – Yes, You Need To Have Them
Talking about money doesn't have to be awkward.
You shouldn't be afraid to have money talks with friends and family. It doesn't have to be awkward, and you can talk about money in a way that helps everyone.
Here are a few suggestions for talking about money with your family and friends:
- Talk about your financial goals and why you want to reach them.
- Share how much debt you have and how you're trying to change it.
- If you know a great way to save money, share it with others.
- Brainstorm ideas for making more money.
There are many ways you can start talking about money with others in your life, and it can really help out everyone involved.
How does talking about money make you feel? Is talking about money taboo? Should it be?
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