3 Reasons We Treat Money Like a Dirty Secret & What to Do About It
I know, I know, gross. She wants to talk about money, and in public!!
Reason 1: It’s Just Not Done
We don’t talk about money with our friends and maybe not even with our families, it’s considered uncouth or taboo. The big issue is, we all have different thoughts about money depending on our own money situation. But, how else are we supposed to stay on top of this stuff? I’d rather learn about money through conversation than taking a class or reading the newspaper…snore.
If we could just have conversations with our friends and families about money like we do about gardening or cooking it would be so much simpler, am I right? Where did we get this idea that we can’t discuss money?
Well, from what I can tell, most manner-like rules came from the wealthy. The rich tend to think it’s tacky to discuss money in any way. Don’t ask anything related to money. Easy for them, they don’t need to discuss money because – lightbulb, they’re already rich.
On the other hand, the poor usually have no concern about discussing money. Nothing related to their scarce finances seems off-limits. They certainly are not concerning themselves with such trivial matters as etiquette.
It’s us, here in the middle classes that have to walk the fine line. We don’t have unlimited funds and need to take care of what we do have. We need to know about money somehow.
What to Do About It
First of all, stop being so old fashioned. I think if we discuss money in a tasteful way and in appropriate settings, it is perfectly good manners.
Know the appropriate time and place for money talks. I probably would not go on about money in mixed company. We don’t want to inadvertently hurt or shame someone with less or who’s having a difficult time in their own life. But I think it’s totally acceptable for a group of friends and family who are generally aware of each others situations to go ahead and talk about it.
Go ahead and talk about it. I’m not saying you should ask your friend how much money she got when her uncle died or other obviously rude and obnoxious questions but you should feel free to discuss the pros of 401k’s vs IRA’s.
Reason 2: Scarcity Thinking
I come from a family where money was tight. We never had enough of it and it was always a struggle. Money was ignored, hidden, lied about, and it was never discussed in a neutral or positive way.
Now here I am, an average middle class American with a good income and all the trappings of the good life, car, boat, house, you get the drift. I’m not rich by American standards but I’m definitely one of the Jones’s neighbors, wink, wink.
Problem is, I’m still scared of money. My thoughts are still stuck in scarcity and negativity. I bury my head in the sand rather than look at and proactively manage my money.
I am getting serious about whole life wellness but I am sorely lacking in this department, and I suspect many of you are, as well.
So I decided to change my thoughts about money.
What to Do About It
Changing your thoughts around money is going to take practice but it’s doable.
Practice affirmations. I know a lot of people are rolling your eyes when I say “affirmations” but I really feel like they help, if you truly practice them. Some to try: “there is no limit on the amount of money I can make”, “my money does not take away from anyone else”, and “money comes easily”.
Write in a gratitude journal. Writing a gratitude journal is helpful in so many areas of your life but if you start looking for ways to be grateful surrounding your money life you will be pleasantly surprised. If you were lucky enough to win the location lottery and be born in the US you have much to be grateful for, clean water, fresh air, and access to decent food, are luxuries to many in the world.
Reason 3: We’re Afraid of Looking Stupid
I’m determined to get as comfortable with money as I am with making a sandwich. In order for me to get comfortable with my money especially, I need to look at it. And that is what I did. I started slowly dipping my toes into the water about money a couple years ago.
First, I started looking at my retirement accounts. I have been putting money into a retirement savings account for years but not with any real plan or goals. I had no idea if I was on track or not, let alone, when I might be able to retire.
Then last year, I started keeping a spreadsheet of expenses, tracking the money going out, but again not doing anything useful with it.
I was in the “I don’t know where to begin, procrastination spiral”, a.k.a. my comfort zone. I was still afraid to look and when I tried making changes to my spending here or there with no success, I stopped trusting myself.
I realize I don’t want to look at my money for the same reason we don’t want to talk about it. I don’t know enough about it. I’m burying my head because I don’t know where to begin. We don’t talk about it because we don’t want to look stupid for not knowing what we assume everyone else knows.
What To Do About It
Look at your state of affairs. Get handle on where you are and where you need to make changes.
Get and education. When you know what changes you need to make start reading books on the topics you need to make changes to. Need a budget, start to research how to create a budget. Need to save more money? research ways to spend less and save more. Better yet, start from scratch and begin with the very basics and work your way up. Simply search basic money on Amazon and get started.
I’m bringing money into the light. I’m going to talk about it, read about it, write about what I learn, and share it with those of you who might benefit from my education.
This is the year of money after all!