When it comes to my family’s finances I consider myself to be very open about what we have, what we make, and our plans moving forward. I find no shame in sharing what mistakes I’ve made because I know we all struggle with the same issues and money mishaps I have made and maybe others can learn from my mistakes. However, as a culture why are we ever-increasingly comfortable talking about sex and less likely to open up about our finances?
The scary thing is that according to a recent article written by the Atlantic, when asked how one would cover a $400 emergency, 47% of Americans said they would have to sell their belongings or would just not be able to come up with the funds at all. I personally feel this problems exists because of our lack of enthusiasm to talk about something like this openly.
It’s Okay To Talk About Sex AND Money!
A study conducted in 2014 by Northwestern Mutual found that money conversations outranked other uncomfortable topics such as death and surprisingly even outranked topics such as sex. So if money is the most uncomfortable conversation to have, how can we make it less uncomfortable? For me personally, I feel no shame because I’m confident that I’m doing everything in my power to achieve our financial goals. Do I have bad habits? Yes. Do I want to be held accountable? Yes!! By working consistently towards something good and being held accountable I’m less likely to let those bad habits creep in and more likely to celebrate my successes with those holding me accountable! What a great way to stay on track.
Working with clients over the years, I have found that it is much more difficult to get people to open up when they have bad money habits such as consistently over-spending, living outside their means, carrying a high credit card balance, and so on. Once those bad habits are out in the open and their goals become more defined, it becomes much easier to talk about finances.
Take The Challenge
So this is my challenge to you! It’s time for us to start opening up about our finances so our friends, neighbors and children learn to not make the same mistakes we have made. If we’re too busy keeping up appearances and this idea that we have it all together when really we don’t, we are going to continue to hide behind our fancy clothes and cars making others continue to feel that they have to keep up as well! Stop the cycle, live within your means, save, and get out of debt! Who cares what others think?! Those that truly matter in your life are going to admire your frugality and start to wonder if they should do the same. You can be that guiding light for them.
If you need help with budgeting and your net worth statement (an important first step to know where to begin on this journey) read my post about how to build a budget.
Disclaimer: I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM (CFP®), but I am not your CFP® or financial advisor. The information in this article is for general informational and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. This article does not create a financial planner-client relationship. The author is not liable for any losses or damages related to actions of failure to act related to the content in this article. If you need specific financial advice, consult with a licensed financial advisor or CFP® who can tailor advice regarding your specific circumstances. Additionally, sometimes I use affiliate links to support my website. This means I may earn a small commission, which is no additional cost to you, for referring and discussing products and services that I personally use, or have used, and trust. Thanks for your support!