Money Talk Taboo: At Home and With Friends

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For almost all of us, money is a touchy subject.  We may feel uncomfortable discussing it for many reasons.  Perhaps we are embarrassed about how much money we make (whether you feel it’s too little or too much).  Most commonly, people feel uncomfortable discussing money because it was something that was not discussed at home growing up.   However, when we don’t talk about money, we often make things much more difficult for ourselves.  Let’s look at how the money talk taboo can affect our finances and our relationships.

Money Talk Taboo At Home

Growing up, you may have learned that talking about money is somehow impolite.  For many people, money and family finances were not discussed in the home at all.  This can be for several reasons. Parents may not want to worry their children if finances are tight. They may not know how to discuss money in age-appropriate ways.  Parents may also simply be passing on what they learned from their parents if money was not discussed in their homes growing up.

If money was a taboo topic growing up, it can cause major difficulties in adulthood.  Schools often do not teach basic financial literacy.  This means that young adults start from square one when it comes to their finances.  It is very costly to learn about things like credit, debt, and money management through trial and error.  This is unfortunately what most people must do if money talk at home was taboo.

If you’re a parent, consider having age-appropriate conversations with your children about money.  If your family’s finances are tight, it’s not necessary to stress kids out with the details.  However, there are many ways you can discuss crucial money topics (like saving and the purpose and cost of credit) without bringing up the family’s personal finances.

Talking about Money with Family & Friends

Many people are reluctant to talk about what they make with family and friends, continuing the taboo of not talking about money in the home.  If your salary is significantly higher than what others are making, it can cause self-consciousness.  Perhaps you’re worried they’ll think differently of you now that they know what you make.  If you reveal a higher salary to family members, it may result in judgment about how you’re spending your money.  It could also lead to increased requests for assistance, as others may assume that you must have funds to spare.

If your salary is significantly lower than those around you, you may feel embarrassed or ashamed that you’re not earning more.  You may worry that others will pity you or think less of you because of what you make.  Perhaps you also fear judgment about your standard of living.  You may worry that others think you are “living beyond your means.”

All of these are very valid reasons to not want to talk about money with those we’re close to.  However, consider having greater transparency with a small number of family or friends.  This can be especially useful if others frequently ask you to participate in activities that aren’t really in your budget.  If others know what you’re working with, it becomes easier to understand why you may say “no”.

If you’re not ready to talk about money with friends and family yet and are looking for a safe, confidential place to discuss your finances and increase your financial well-being, Apprisen offers year-long financial coaching programs as well as on-demand coaching through our Propel service.  Our non-judgmental Financial Specialists are here to listen and help no matter where you are in your financial journey.

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