Why We Won’t Talk About Money
Earlier this year, the people at Acorn Investing released the results of a survey of 3,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 44 which found that when given the question “Would you rather talk about how much you weigh or how much you have in savings?” 68 percent chose weight. I don’t know about you, but I am personally not super keen to share the candid details of my weight. Just the other day, I was talking with a neighbor who killed the conversation by asking if I was pregnant again. Ouch! Suffice it to say, I find it pretty impressive that more than 2/3rds of individuals would rather discuss their bodies than their savings.
In a 2015 survey conducted among women by Fidelity, 56% of women said they refrain from talking about finances because the subject is too personal, while 27% said they grew up in a home that frowned on talking about finances and another 10% responded that they just don’t understand enough to hold an intelligent conversation. That same study also found that 47% of women were hesitant to discuss money with a financial professional while 50% of women who employ the services of an investment firm have never spoken with a representative there. This is a problem.
I believe there are a few core reasons for why we hate talking about money. The number one reason is that it makes us feel inadequate and ashamed. We live in a culture that equates money with success and self-worth. From every direction, we are told that our importance as individuals is measured by what we have accumulated and that is a huge lie. Your worth as a person is based on so much more than your bank account. It’s based on how you treat people and what you’ve invested your life in; your passions and the things you create with your mind and your hands. We have all made mistakes. Some of us have accumulated debt. It happens. Some of us haven’t saved as much as others. But that does not make us any less valuable as people. So let’s put that lie to bed.
Secondly, how we use our money is indicative of our values and beliefs and discussing that with others has the potential to be a really authentic, albeit vulnerable conversation and being vulnerable is hard. Some of the hardest conversations I’ve had with my spouse have involved differences in how we want to spend our money and at the core of those arguments are differences in what we value, even if they’re just slight. It takes a lot of courage for me to tell my husband that I value driving a new car because I know that he values the exact opposite. But here’s why we need to talk about it. Because having healthy conversations about money is incredibly freeing and ultimately, good for our relationships and our self-esteem.
One of the things I love most about my job is that I have the honor of having really candid conversations with individuals about their finances in a safe setting. It’s often uncomfortable at first, but there have been numerous occasions where those conversations have ended in hugs and exclamations of “I feel so much better about this now!” We don’t need to talk about money to convince others or ourselves that we matter. We do need to talk about money so that it maintains a healthy position of importance in our lives and so that we can take the steps we need to take to achieve financial stability.
If money and investing is a topic that you find intimidating but that you want to be freed from, we would love to help you change that. Whether that means running a comprehensive financial plan for your or discussing your concerns about the market, we'd love to chat. If you'd like to get in touch with one of our advisors, you can shoot us a message from our contact page.
*This article was first published at our sister site www.cedarstonecupcakeclub.com on February 15th.
"Acorns 2017 Money Matters Report." Acorns. 2017. https://sqy7rm.media.zestyio.com/Acorns2017_MoneyMattersReport.pdf.
Wolfson, Alisa. "Why 68% of people would rather talk about their weight than money." Moneyish. Jan. 27, 2018. https://moneyish.com/ish/why-68-of-people-would-rather-talk-about-their-weight-than-money/.