Why is Money a Four Letter Word?

changehappens-adambWhy are so many people not willing to discuss finances with their friends, neighbors, and relatives?  Talking about money is kind of like cussing you only do it when you feel like you have to and it is usually involuntary. It makes me wonder what is so wrong with talking about money.  Some people feel the need to constantly talk about money and how much more of it they have than you. These people are what everyone is afraid of being no one wants to seem like they are bragging.

The truth is when you talk about money you are usually talking about a specific aspect, you don’t walk up to your neighbor and say, “Hey man what’s your net worth at today.”  But then if you think about it, what does it matter? Why is that such a taboo question?  You probably have recently mentioned that your 401k took a hit, or that you are increasing your savings to shore up that emergency fund. You probably haven’t brought up how much money you have, and you certainly didn’t ask someone else how much they have.

Money is tighter for more and more people these days, and yet it seems people are still afraid to talk about their money.  Some people brag or want to compare “sizes”, but most people are just looking for honest opinions and help. The people you associate with all come from different walks of life with different experiences and different opinions. Part of this blogging experience is to allow open, honest communication about money and how we deal with it on a day to day basis. The following are some of the reasons I think people have

Knowledge

I think one of the biggest problems with people being afraid to discuss money, is a lack of education.  It’s not that people are uneducated but that we were never taught about money, no one told us how to handle it so we have learned about it on our own.  Self taught doesn’t make us the most confident people in the world, we are afraid of sounding stupid or putting our foot in our mouth.

Pride

We are taught that we should provide for our families and become successful, no one ever wants to admit they couldn’t handle money, or that they mismanaged their own finances.  People also feel the need to compare themselves to everyone else and they don’t want to feel inadequate compared to their friends, neighbors, or co-workers. These are all things we worry too much about, neither your friends or your family care how much money you have, but they may have a bit of knowledge or know how that could help you when you need it.

History

The biggest issue we have is just that we have always been taught that it isn’t polite to discuss our finances or our financial situation.  Ever since I was young I was told you don’t talk about money, politics, or religion.  To this day I try to avoid discussions on Politics and Religion, and I am hoping this blog will allow me to discuss money on a broader scale than I have in the past.

What are you thoughts? Do you talk about money or do you lump it in with Politics and Religion and just keep it off the table?

Photo: (Adamb)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Trevor @ Financial Nut March 18, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Yes… lack of education (I believe) is a HUGE, HUGE problem. It’s something that keep people from making wise financial decisions at a young age. Society can do a better job requiring financial classes in school, sooner that having to take a class in college. Often, by then, people have already begun making stupid decisions with their money.

Good post.

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2 SJ March 18, 2009 at 1:25 pm

I would think lack of money leading to pride issues.
I worry about my own pride and jealousy at times… even tho I know it irrational. Tho it does make me question life decisions.

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3 Lindsay March 23, 2009 at 1:27 am

I think pride is a big one. Credit cards have let a lot of people live above their means for a long time, and these folks are afraid of being “outted.” We thought you had it all together, but it turns out you can barely make your payments and you’re a mess… loser. The thing is that just about everyone is in the same boat, so you’ll probably find that starting that conversation is easier than you think.

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4 Funny about Money March 25, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Among those of us who grew up in the Cretaceous, it’s considered vulgar to talk about money. It’s right up there with scratching your tush in public and talking with your mouth full.

LOL! Luckily for me, all my friends are vulgar, too! 😉

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