We all have money stories that shape the way we approach personal finance. Who talked to you about money growing up?
Everyone Has A Money Story – Even Me
Our parents never talked to us about money. They talked to us about sex, drugs, but not about money. Why?
It takes a lot to run a household – especially one that has four girls. My parents didn’t share our family finances, or what it looked like to financially care for our family. I think that, for many years, money was incredibly tight. Understandably, they didn’t want to worry us.
As my father grew professionally in his career and the money started to flow, our parents still didn’t talk to us about money. They may have thought that we wouldn’t understand. Maybe they just wanted us to stay kids for a little while longer – without the added stress of financial burden.
But now, as an adult, I have to wonder: Were they constantly worried about money? How did they plan for the future? Who did they talk to about their money?
Why Don’t People Talk About Money?
As one of four girls growing up, we were all very close. We still are. We shared a lot with one another, but we never had conversations about money. It often felt like we talked about everything except money. Why? And how is it that we all grew up in the same household, and we still interact with money in different ways today?
I often wish that our parents had talked to my sisters and me about money. I wish they had shared what they loved, what they hated, how they handled the family finances. I wish I knew what worked and what didn’t. It may have been really helpful when it became time for me to handle my own money.
Learning To Talk The Talk
Maybe it’s not a coincidence that my career is money-focused. I love everything about it – from how it works to how we establish and maintain a relationship with our finances and how we plan and build our future. But there are a lot of people out there who don’t like talking about money – especially their own.
I work with a number of professional women, both single and coupled, that have done extremely well in their careers. With all their success, it’s been hard to find others to talk too, for many reasons.
Mostly, they don’t want to seem like they are boasting. Or some may feel guilty about their success especially if others around them are not doing as well.
And then there’s the challenge of coupling when they are the breadwinner. Traditional role models no longer make sense and they feel as if they are navigating unchartered territory. Even though we’ve come a long way, it’s still hard figuring it all out.
I think that we often don’t talk about money out of habit. This habit is rooted in an age-old belief that discussing finances is gauche, or somehow conversationally inappropriate. But if we refuse to discuss money, how will we get better at managing it? How will we use it as a tool to achieve our goals?
When Do We Need To Talk About Money?
As uncomfortable as it may be, there are times when talking about money is no longer something where we get to “opt out.” Some of these situations might be:
- When you’re “coupling” finances with a romantic partner.
- When you’re making a big financial decision.
- When you’re finding an excess in money and you don’t know what to do with it.
- When you need to interact with family or friends about money. A good example of this is caring for aging parents or managing health related costs for siblings.
Truly, though, it’s healthy to make the decision to talk about money well before you need to do so. We all have varying experiences that influence how we handle our finances, and that can lead to stressful conversations.
Getting involved in those conversations and remaining open to hearing the opinions of others can help you gain a more well-rounded financial approach.
Who Are You Talking To About Money Right Now?
If the answer to this question is “no one” – I urge you to reach out. Whether it’s to me, or to someone close to you, I challenge you to start a money conversation. Be open about your fears.
Having these conversations may seem intimidating at first because we’re not just talking about money. We’re telling our story which is most likely wrapped up in lots of emotion.
To discuss your finances is to open yourself to what’s possible. It’s also being willing to celebrate your successes and learn from your mistakes.
Although my parents never talked to me about money growing up, the conversation finally did happen in my adult life after my career had blossomed and my experience deepened.
I love that I now talk with my mom about money. I’ve learned a lot from her, and I know that she’s learned from me, too. We’re closer as a result. Unfortunately, my Dad passed away before we had the money talk.
So don’t wait, you have the power to start these money conversations. What you need to decide, who do you want to talk to about money?