I was reading a blog this week in which the author told of his recent visit to a 5th grade class to talk with the kids about money. And as kids do, one little girl asked “How much money do you have?” And the author said, “I’m not going to answer that.” And then another kid chimed in, “Nobody answers that! How come?” The kid’s questions left the author and me wondering well why not? Why don’t we talk about money like that, you know the real deal, how much we make? How much we have? How much we’re worth?
Is it just that we’re uncomfortable talking about money, well, our money in particular? Or is it because we don’t want to be judged or ridiculed? Why is money the ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM that nobody talks about?
When my husband and I had kids, we decided that we wanted them to know everything possible about money and to this day, our kids know our salaries, what our home costs, how much we have in savings and investments. But honestly, I can remember when my kids were young, I would hush them when they commented on someone else’s financial status. It always came up when they would visit friends who had nice things, or large houses, or what appeared to be lots of money. You know how we do, we whisper about people behind their backs, “I wonder how she affords those shoes or that car?” Or “How much do you think their house costs?” We talk about how much we think they have or think they make or how much we think they don’t have or make, and be honest, we’ll attempt to keep up with our peers regardless of whether we really know their real money deal!
So what’s our real discomfort about talking about money? I’m asking because every survey that I’ve looked at says that Americans think and worry a lot about money! AARP did a study of young adults ages 18 – 34. It said that 57% of young Americans consider their financial situation to be the biggest concern in their lives. Take 100 young adults and 57 of them consider their finances to be the BIGGEST concern of their lives. And we don’t talk about it? Why?
But here’s here how money shows up in our daily lives, listen to the comments some people posted on a website I was browsing, regarding money issues:
- Today, my boyfriend told me that he wanted to break up with me but it had to be after our cruise together because he doesn’t want to lose out on money…Can’t wait for the Bahamas!
- (This one was sad) Today, I was so broke I went to Costco, not to buy anything, but to eat their free food samples.
- And one more…today, I found out that my girlfriend has been paying her half of the rent by taking my ATM card and getting money from my account.
And we won’t and don’t talk about money? What in the world?!
I’ve been doing my own survey this week and here’s some of the top concerns of my listeners:
- I am concerned about maintaining the emergency fund
- I’m concerned about my husband’s employment (I don’t work outside the home)
- I’m concerned about college savings
- And I’m concerned about when will we have MORE than enough
People have told me about some of their worst financial experiences…being laid off for 10 months and having NO income…or going through a divorce, and losing one income. And yet, WE DON’T TALK ABOUT MONEY? C’mon now! Today, can we begin to change this? Why? Because you and I are worried about not having enough for retirement, young adults have debt up to their eyeballs and we shouldn’t continue to ignore the ELEPHANT in the room.
So, tell me, what do you think? Why don’t people talk about money? Is it just to avoid discomfort? Or are there more practical reasons to avoid money discussions? More to the point, in your own life, with whom do you have money discussions? What sorts of things do you talk about regarding money? Listen to what my listeners said on the air! CLICK HERE to hear The Jennifer Keitt Show Podcast.
Personally I think we’re scared to tell the real deal because we’re afraid of being judged or looked down on or even looked up to as the source for others, but what do you think? LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW and be sure to visit my website at www.jenniferkeitt.com. I am your chief empowerment officer, Jennifer Keitt and you can listen to The Jennifer Keitt Show every Sunday on KISS 104, Atlanta’s R&B!