Nobody likes to talk about money, particularly their own. Most consider the topic as personal as discussing sex or religion.
Apparently, even I consider the topic somewhat taboo as I’ve been experiencing something interesting since starting my blog a few weeks ago.
Though I am perfectly fine sharing my own personal financial tidbits with my readers out there on the net, as well as with other personal finance bloggers, I have found myself hesitant to share my website with the people I know in real life.
When asked what I’m working on, “a blog” is the most information the people in my life (besides my husband and children) have gotten about my recent project thus far.
Some reflection on why, exactly, I am keeping this to myself revealed that I am particularly afraid to share my personal financial story.
Fear – my arch nemesis – has crept in and reared it’s ugly head. Fear of friends and family judging me and make assumptions about my life based on my family’s financial situation.
I realize there will be countless people out there on the web judging the content of my website and, that’s cool, it just goes with the territory. I’m prepared for criticism. Yet, most of these people have no personal connections to me and only know me through my website. For whatever reason, it feels so much safer that way.
In my mind, I wonder what the response from family and friends will be when they read my personal story and other posts. Money is a topic that comes up among the people in my life, but typically discussion is general and vague. Talk revolves around how much things cost, like “oh that dress is really expensive” or “ I don’t want to spend the money on that *item* right now”, but never, ever gets to the nitty gritty stuff like specifics on income, debt and savings.
In our society, general conversations about money are okay, but when it comes to particulars on a person’s actual financial situation, the rules change. We simply do not talk about how much money we make, our mortgage or rent payment, how much debt we have, or exactly how much we have in our savings accounts. Conversations such as these are considered impolite, even downright meddlesome.
In an article on Today contributor, Dr. Robi Ludwig, states
The strange paradox is, money is a subject matter which appears to be on everyone’s mind, yet our ambivalence about talking about it contributes to so many misunderstandings and communication glitches — especially when it comes to our personal relationships.”
The breakdown in communication about our personal finances causes rifts in many relationships, particularly intimate relationships. Studies have shown that disagreements about money are a major predictor of divorce.
Money represents much more than just a means of exchange. It symbolizes, not just a person’s finances, but success, failure, trust, love, security, dependence, and control.
Everybody views money differently. A person’s attitude about money can often be attributed to previous life experiences and how their own family handled money.
For example, my grandfather was born during the Depression and, therefore, money was always viewed as a scarcity in his mind. He sometimes seemed preoccupied with money and was inclined to ensure, through whatever means possible, he would always have enough money to buy what he wanted in life. The deprivation he experienced and witnessed as a child created a fear of poverty.
In many homes, money is never discussed. Children often have no idea how much their parents make or what their bills may be. They just get an overall sense of how the finances are by stress, or the lack thereof, in the home.
When we look at our attitudes about money, we can make connections to our upbringing. Whether you were denied everything you asked for or spoiled to the max, lived in poverty or extreme wealth, if money was a coveted prize or a topic banned from discussion, you can bet it has an affect on your current financial outlook.
I digress. The point is, money is a loaded topic. Discussing money means discussing everything that’s vulnerable in our lives. We fear judgement or embarrassment about mistakes we have made, our level of income, our debt and our savings.
Maybe if we were all willing to share and talk about money and finances more openly, those that have debt could more easily get help and support from the people around them. Couples would have those hard conversations about money up front and prevent potential relationship problems down the road. Kids would become financially literate through education from family and school, allowing them to have better control of their financial future.
Though I have not shared any nitty gritty details, I knew if I wanted my readers to trust me, I would have to be open about sharing my family’s financial achievements and mistakes.
I made the decision to give fear a swift kick in the a$$ and go ahead and share this website with everyone, even those in real life.
Maybe by sharing, my blog will help others.
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