There are three things you aren’t supposed to talk about at the dining room table: Politics, sex, and money.
I have heard horror stories about family members talking about politics at Thanksgiving, and sex can certainly be inappropriate for a dinner conversation…
…but why is money such a taboo subject?
Everybody uses money. The basic principles of money are the same for everyone.
And I’d bet you would like to learn more about how money really works.
So how are we supposed to learn more if we won’t talk about it?
Granted, a “household budget meeting” goes a lot smoother when there is more income than household expenses, but having conversations if money is tight is when it is needed most!
Here are 3 reasons why people won’t talk about money:
1. We think income is equal to self worth
We are afraid to talk income with others because we think what someone makes is a true representation of their value.
Someone making 6-figures is thought of as successful, while another making $50k a year is only half as good.
You’ve probably worked with someone who was a horrible person, but made more doing the same job as you. Does that mean you are worth less as a person? ABSOLUTELY NOT! It just means they were able to get more pay – and there are a dozen different variables that play into salary range that have nothing to do with self worth or even moral values.
Another example: I have been blessed with a wonderful new career making more money than I ever have before. Does that mean I’m a better person than others now that my income is greater? NO! It’s completely irrelevant.
If we compare ones self worth based on income alone then we are elevating them to a higher status in our own mind or discounting them to the bargain bin.
#biblelesson: You are INVALUABLE to God. He loves you beyond measure – whether you make more money than everyone else on your block or are underemployed. God loves the homeless and even law breakers. Money has nothing to do with it.
Note: An argument can be made for keeping salaries secret in the workplace. I agree. Don’t talk salary with co-workers as it only leads to problems – for you, your team, and your boss.
2. Money exposes who we really are
I have coached hundreds of people through their money issues and can say with all certainty: What you spend your money on can say a lot about who you are.
When was the last time you said “I deserve ___” to justify a purchase? I did it the other day.
The reasons why I purchased an Ariana Grande album is kind of irrelevant to the problems of the world, but I shouldn’t worry about telling you about it.
Wait. Did I say Ariana Grande? I meant Metallica !
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
– Matthew 6, verse 21
In financial terms, this passage from the Bible clearly states that we spend our discretionary income towards what we value.
Have you noticed how often people talk about how much they saved in the clearance section, but almost nobody shows their entire household budget?
They might brag about the great bundle they got for cable/phone/internet, but won’t talk about how much they put into retirement savings.
The taboo of talking about money ensures we only share favorable details about our finances in order to distract the discussion from getting close to exposing our true money mannerisms.
Debt says a lot about who we are too.
What would you think about a person with a new Apple watch when they have a 5-figure number on their credit card statement?
Yeah. I thought the same thing too. Consumer debt often exposes a lack of will power and attention to ones finances.
It doesn’t matter what financial facade you put on, the truth about who you are – or who you are trying to become – shows up in your bank statements.
Regardless of the facade we put on, the way we handle our money shows who we really are.
3. Fear of judgement
The main reason we don’t talk to others about money is: We fear being judged.
What did you think when you read the example above about buying a new gadget while having 5-figures of credit card debt?
Yep. You judged the situation just like I did.
Let’s turn the tables: What if you were the one wearing the Apple Watch? How does that feel now?
Nobody likes to be judged in a negative manner, so we never talk about our money. When we do talk about money, we only share the shiny bits of information that looks good or buys us sympathy.
BTW: The #1 reason people won’t go see a Financial Advisor is fear of being judged by the numbers. Trust me, if a financial advisor judged their clients on their current money situations then you’d hear all about it from people on Facebook!
The fear of being judged keeps us from talking about money, and the lack of talking about money usually keeps us from seeking knowledge.
Educating yourself on how money really works can make the difference between retiring and retiring early.
Don’t let the fear of judgement keep you from talking about money.
Take a look at your finances. Do you like what you see? If not, act like a rich person by:
- Reading a book about money
- Taking a class like Crown Financial or Financial Peace University
- Buy some time with a Financial Advisor
I have coached hundreds of people through their money issues and can say with all certainty: Those who seek wisdom and apply it to their finances reduce their stress levels, become more productive in all areas of their life, give generously, and become better people overall.
Money should not be a taboo subject. Fear of judgement should not keep us from asking for help.
Start having conversations about money today with your spouse or trusted friend. They are just as afraid to talk about money as you, so let’s just put all the cards on the table and get it over with 🙂
Want to start reading?
These are my 5 favorite books about money:
- The Millionaire Next Door – Dr. Thomas Stanley
- Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey
- Rich Habits, Poor Habits – Tom Corley
- Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason
- Wealthy Barber – David Chilton
Also highly recommended:
- Broke Millennial – Erin Lowry
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich – Ramit Sethi
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
- The Automatic Millionaire – David Bach
- Your Money or Your Life – Vicki Robin