As a personal finance coach, my main topic of discussion is obviously… $$$ Money $$$ ! But the more I discuss it with family, friends and clients, the more I realize that it is a taboo subject for a lot of people. Isn’t it awkward how people would rather discuss details about their relationships than talk about their financial situation?
I find it quite intriguing that people would easily open up to their best friends to get advice on how to better their love relationships, but they would never admit that they lack the skills to manage their finances or budget properly.
Do you know how much your closest friends earn? Do you know if they are living beyond their means by piling up unnecessary debt? Probably not!
A study by the Bank of Montreal conducted a few years ago indicated that money tops the list of sensitive topics, ahead of religion, politics, love life and weight! 46% responded that they are most uncomfortable discussing money with their family and friends.
Perhaps people avoid the money subject because they are afraid of being judged or being compared to. Let’s say you decide to have an open discussion with your best friend about your respective salaries and financial states: If you end up being the higher earner then it might stir envy, and if you are the lower earner , then you’re going to feel “poor”… Either way a negative emotion is associated with it. So to avoid it all together, we just stay away from the topic. However, there can be great advantages at sharing and discussing how good or bad we are at managing our personal finances. By talking about it, there is an exchange of ideas and you might find out a “best practice” that will help you improve how you do things.
Luckily, this taboo aspect of money is slowly changing. We are seeing more and more reality TV shows (such as “Til debt do us part”, “Maxed out” and “Million Dollar Neighborhood”) where people are willing to get “financially naked” and reveal to millions of viewers the amount of debt they have accumulated and talk about their bad money management skills. We, as viewers, are all learning from their mistakes and using them as an example to better our own financial situation. This is why it is important not to be afraid to talk about money to the people closest to us, because we can also learn from their mistakes and help each other make better financial decisions.
So here’s my challenge for you: choose a close person to you and make a conscious choice today to open the subject of money with them. Hopefully you will learn something from them or you will teach them a good financial habit to adopt. And by talking about it, you expand your own comfort zone so next time, the subject will be much easier to approach.
Happy Money Talk !