Let’s Talk About Money

Let's TalkWay back in 1991, Salt-n-Pepa implored us to talk about sex. Not saliciously, but openly and honestly about the positive and negative aspects of the act. Similarly, I try to implore people to talk about money.

Not in a braggadocio manner, nor as a means to feed hyper-consumerism; but as a way to become more knowledgeable about how to manage money in such a way as to become wealthy, to achieve financial freedom.

I should note that my definition of wealth probably differs from many others. As I have noted previously, I do not define wealth as a certain income level, nor as a particular value held within a retirement portfolio. For me, being wealthy means you can live your chosen lifestyle on passive and portfolio income, foregoing earned (labor) income if you chose.

19 Experts Chatting About Financial Independence [Cash Cow Couple]

My experience has been that like politics, race and religion, people are reluctant to talk about money. My belief is that there are two primary underlying factors for the lack of communication about money. First, particularly if you are an individual that makes a substantial salary or has a significant portfolio, the reluctance stems from a desire not to be seen as a braggart. The best way to avoid saying something that might be construed as bragging? Don’t talk about it.

The second factor, one I believe is more prevalent and the bigger problem, is one of ignorance. The reality is that most individuals are financially illiterate…and of course, no one wants to reveal themselves as being ignorant when it comes to money or managing finances. Believe me, I speak from experience. When I was a younger man, I made plenty of money mistakes and never sought feedback from others.

Talking About Taboo Subjects [The White Coat Investor]

However, during the time I was going through a divorce in my mid-30’s, I realized I was in financial trouble (discussed in my book and the blog post, My Journey to Fiscal Fitness). Not only did I search out as much personal finance information as possible via books, magazines and newspapers, I reached out to a couple of friends and an uncle that I knew were pretty savvy financially.

With respect to money matters, it was the best decision I ever made! Does that mean you go out tomorrow and immediately reveal your salary and/or value of your retirement portfolio to each of your friends? No. It means that you start by acknowledging that you are probably not as financially literate as you need to be and recognize that you can become more literate by leveraging various resources, including family and friends.

There are 8.5M blogs* out there, including this one, that discuss personal finance. Find one that communicates in a way that you can relate to. Don’t be afraid to jump into the conversations in the comments section, share your thoughts and latch onto the good information shared by others. There are a number of magazines that cover money, finance, retirement, etc. Again, find one that addresses the topics in a way that you are comfortable with. There are also a number of good books and documentaries that are worthy of your time. As I discover them, I add them to the SavvyRecommendations section.Recommendations Block

In my opinion, the best thing  you can do is talk to other people. I have three friends with whom I routinely discuss money matters with. We talk about the state of the economy, the stock market, different investment techniques, etc. Occasionally we reveal personal money information if it is germane to the conversation. Through our conversations, many of my thoughts and practices are reinforced and occasionally, I adopt a new way of seeing things or modify a previously held belief.

The bottom line: don’t be afraid to talk about money.

* I was being a little facetious :-) I don’t really know if there are 8.5M personal finance themed blogs, although I do know that there are quite a few. More than I imagined when I started my own!

 

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6 comments on “Let’s Talk About Money
  1. debt debs says:

    It has kind of been a taboo subject in the past but is becoming more open now, kind of like mental health.

    I agree, there are so many blogs out there, as a PF blogger it is even hard to read so many of them, so you kind of have to read the ones you can relate to the most. One feature I like about the commentluv, is that if I see a post on a topic I am interested in, but I don’t normally read that blog, I can visit for that topic only. If I like what I see, I may eventually become a regular reader.

    I’m still looking for more readers in my age group who are dealing with my PF issues. If you find some in your travels be sure to send them my way. ;-) Thank you, James.

    • SavvyJames says:

      Thanks for stopping in, Deb. I agree that PF is being talked about a little bit more, but I don’t believe it is nearly enough, particularly for those that really need to be doing more talking. As I touched on in the Talking Personal Finance in Public Forums post, it seems to me that a lot of the conversation online is between people that appear to have a decent handle on PF already.

      However, I think it is entirely possible that those who are not quite as savvy are reading a lot of different blogs, perusing the comments (not really jumping into the conversation) and perhaps, taking that information and talking more with family and friends. I know on this blog, as I’m sure is the case for most blogs and websites in general, the number of page views greatly exceeds the number of comments for a given post. That suggests that to some degree, reading but not commenting, is occurring. But of course, what we don’t know is how much a blog post or article encourages conversation elsewhere.

      One way for us to find you more readers would be for you to travel this way and ‘sit’ for a SavvyInterview. I believe that would be a great introduction to my readers and give you a chance to let them know what you are talking about over at DebtDebs. ;-)

  2. First of all, thanks for putting that Salt-n-Pepa song in my head :)

    It’s great to encourage others to talk more openly about money and personal finance issues. I know in my circle of friends it is a pretty taboo subject and that’s a shame because we have friends that seem to struggle with finances all the time. They try desperately to save up enough money for a house and get out of debt. But I won’t really offer advice because they aren’t really receptive and I don’t want to offer where it’s not wanted. If we could talk about things more openly (and that doesn’t mean specifics need to be divulged) it is possible that I could help them and knowing their perspective might also be helpful for my lifestyle.

    That’s partly why I enjoy all the PF blogs – at least here people are talking about real money issues!

    • SavvyJames says:

      “But I won’t really offer advice because they aren’t really receptive and I don’t want to offer where it’s not wanted.” I can absolutely relate. While I don’t profess to be an all knowing financial guru, I have found some success and I often believe I could help friends and family find a better way. However, as you note, they are rarely receptive. Too often people are afraid of revealing too much (and revealing some ignorance?) and end up on the wrong financial path. It really is too bad.

  3. Michelle says:

    I am very open with my friends and family about money. They keep me accountable when we are together. They are also there for me when I need encouragement.

    • SavvyJames says:

      I am very open with some close friends and immediate family. Not only can friends and family help you remain accountable, they can also serve as valuable sounding boards. Regardless of an individual’s level of knowledge or sophistication, it is often nice to have someone point out something you may be missing or simply add new perspective.

      Thanks for stopping by, Michelle. Always great to have you chime in.

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