Why are money conversations so taboo? To some extent, each and every one of us feels a bit of discomfort around discussing money with our family and friends. But why?
Somewhere along the road we started associating the value and worth of a person around how much money they have.
Not everywhere. Not everyone. But in many places and many people, this is absolutely true. How big your house is and how much money you have is viewed as some sort of status symbol or popularity contest.
So when talking about money, people believe that you are somehow indirectly asking about their worth. Their value. It is viewed as some form of comparison game vs an opportunity to learn from one another.
How do we redirect this dialogue? How do we normalize money conversations without making others feel inadequate, threatened, defensive, or uncomfortable?
I apologize, but I genuinely couldn’t care less about how much money you make, how much your house is worth or the Trust fund that you have waiting for you in 20 years. That’s amazing for you and I’m happy for you. But that’s not what I want to talk about because asking about any one of those things creates no real value to our conversation.
What could you or I possibly gain from talking about the actual dollar signs? Nothing. But what those dollar signs can accomplish, create in opportunities and how you are utilizing them is what I want to discuss.
I’d love to know how you plan to make a difference in your life, your families life along with the lives of others around you.
So let’s take a second to think about how talking about money with our family or friends could actually help educate us, inspire us or open our eyes to new opportunities that we weren’t aware of or didn’t know were available to us.
Like I said, I don’t care about how much money you make. But here’s what I do care about….
Understanding someone’s retirement goals, not as a conversation around how much is in the account but rather what they are trying to accomplish in retirement and what are they doing now to help them get there.
Wouldn’t it be nice as a parent to be able to chat with your other friends in a similar season of life around how best to save for your children’s college education? How they plan to talk about money with their children as they continue to grow up? Or what best practices to use in developing and instilling a confidence and understanding of how money works.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to discuss how others are actively engaging in their communities through contributing their time or money to certain organizations.
Financial struggle/stress is one of the leading causes of divorce. Wouldn’t it be nice to have open ended conversations about financial goals you have together. To buy that dream house, be able to pay for kids’ college education, to be able to buy the boat, vacation every year, etc.
Whatever it is, have those frequent, open money conversations that create excitement and a team dynamic working towards a common goal.
You are in a partnership. A joint, equal, united partnership. You need to be discussing your finances and understanding each others financial needs and goals and work together to achieve them.
And also….there is absolutely no room for one spouse to shame or play down another’s financial successes. I can’t begin to understand the ego here, but if my spouse was bringing in a significant amount of money to our joint pool of assets….I can assure you I would not be crying about the fact that it was more than what I brought in. I’ll just end on that note.
Wouldn’t it be nice as an employee to have confidants at work that you could chat with about your 401K options to help you both better understand?
Or perhaps you were given stock options or grants as a result of being a stellar employee and you’d like to chat with someone you trust about it but oh wait, we don’t talk about that sort of thing. So guess what, most people have no idea what to do with them or who to talk with about it.
Wouldn’t it be nice to share money experiences, struggles, budget tips, credit card point strategies, etc. with friends? To lean on each other with vulnerability about your financial situation in the hopes to guide one another down a more positive financial path?
Discussing money with those in a similar season of life allows us to talk about concerns or goals in a relatable manner with the understanding that we aren’t alone in our thoughts or often times our circumstances.
Wouldn’t it be nice as a family to normalize conversations around wealth and money. To set family goals, expectations or priorities for your family’s financial future. To discuss your family legacy and the means in which you got to where you are and where you’d like to go.
Wouldn’t it be helpful to share information about the professional advisors you work with that you value, appreciate and respect so that your loved ones could also be taken care of in the same way you are?
Start dripping in these money conversations with your family and closest friends. And remember, it’s not about the dollar sign. It’s about the opportunities you can create, the life you can build and the financial choices available to you that are worth discussing.
Normalize the conversation. Talk with your kids. Talk with your spouse. Talk with your best friend. Let’s lean on each other and help each other navigate an unfamiliar, wildly important area of our lives. .
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