Two money related things have come across my Facebook feed today, and it has gotten me thinking about how people choose to talk about money. One post talked about a Yahoo poll asking how much money you would need to feel rich: $1 million, $5 million, or $100 million. There were tons of of comments and interesting conversation. (It was yesterday’s home page poll, but I can’t find a way to access it today.) The second post was from Ninja at Punch Debt in The Face: I’m Being Nosey… Again. Ninja asks, “What is is your total credit card debt?” There are quite a few comments there, but the conversation is much more serious and subdued.
I was going to write about each subject separately, then I realized that the while both of them are interesting, the real story is about people’s willingness to talk about different aspects of money. From my totally unscientific investigation of these two posts, people were much more comfortable talking about hypothetical, positive money situations than real, negative money situations. I have found the same to be true in my own life, and I’m guessing that you have, too. You might hear someone talk about winning the lottery, but not about how much debt they are carrying. Is it because it easier to talk about positive stuff than negative stuff, or because it is easier to talk about hypothetical situations then real situations?
When I was younger, and had a lot of debt, I hated talking about money. The subject made me uncomfortable and anxious. I realize now that I might have learned from friends and relatives if I talked with them. At the time, it seemed like everyone else had their financial house in order. I realize now that I didn’t have a very realistic perspective on the situation, but it seemed accurate at the time.
Now that my husband and I are on relatively solid financial ground, I’m willing to talk about money to a small group of friends and relatives. I still hate to discuss details, I’m always sure that I will feel bad or I will make someone else feel bad. It seems like a lose-lose proposition to me. However, I’m always glad to talk about money in general – it fascinates me.
Here’s the important part, though: if you are in a relationship, both sides need to talk with each other about money. And if you are part of a family, some money conversations need to occur. Your kids or parents don’t need to know all the details, but there is a good chance that it will help if they know some bits. Communication and openness within a relationship is essential to overall financial freedom and health.
So, how do you feel about talking about money? Take the poll, add your own answer if necessary, and expand in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks!