Money, The Last Taboo

January 1, 2016|By David Lester

Money Taboo

Isn’t in strange how taboo talking about money still is?  How you probably don’t know how much most of your friends make, and they don’t know what you make.  How you know everything about their health, spirituality, education, and sex lives, but nothing about their money?  Let’s make 2016 the year that money comes off the “restricted” list.

Recently I was interviewing for a position and I had absolutely no idea how much to ask for in salary.  When I was thinking of people who currently held the position I realized that it wasn’t an option to call them up and ask them how much they made.  Even though some of the people were good friends of mine and I have asked them about absolutely everything, money wasn’t something I could pick up the phone and ask them.

The topic of money ranges from your savings, to salary, to how much you paid for your home or car. And of course debt is not only off limits but many people will even lie about how much they owe.  It starts when your parents shut down conversations about how much they make or how much they have on a credit card.  How are we supposed to learn how to be better with money if no one talks about it?  Part of the financial mess that we are all in is due to the fact that it is still taboo, and while other taboo areas are coming shooting out of the darkness and into the light, money is the last topic to linger.

I say let’s turn on the lights and make money something that we all can talk about freely.  Here are four ways for 2016 to be the year of money and truth. Here are my four pillars of breaking down the taboo around money.

  1. Talk to Kids About Money From Day 1 or when they can talk.  It starts with our kids and not hiding conversations about money and how the world works.  There are a few kids books (and only a few!) on money.  Sit down and read them.  Take the kids to the bank and explain what goes on there.  Instead of fighting with your love monkey, have an open conversation with the entire family and figure out what goals the family has for 2016.
  2. Have a money club. Bring your closest friends into a money club.  Set the rules up front on what can and can’t be talked about and then spill your beans.  Make it a safe and open place to talk about stocks, debt, mortgage rates, and investment plans.  Helping each other learn about tricks and tips will improve the entire group’s outlook on money.
  3. Open joint accounts with your partner.  You can keep private accounts too, but open up a joint account that supports joining assets or liabilities like homes, debt, credit cards, etc.  Then set up a monthly meeting to go over all the cash that both of you spent and make a plan to be better together.  Get excited about your money goals and celebrate when a credit card is paid off or retirement saving is met.  This will help with your overall relationship in more ways than you can imagine.
  4. Visit your Financial Planner regularly.  In my practice I constantly hear people say they don’t know how much they make, what their investments are invested in, or what their mortgage interest rate is at.  By meeting with your Financial Planner at least once a year you’ll have to find out this information to meet with them.  Be sure to keep money an open topic by meeting as much as you can with your planner and talking about it openly as often as possible.

Luckily, everyone knows that I’m a money guy and so I all of my conversations seem to end up with us talking about money.  People love to be able to ask about how to save or make more and find out if they think that they are doing as well as the average person.  Having an open conversation about money allows for people to get new ideas and get the pat on the back a lot of people need when they find out that they are money mavens or mavericks.  Let’s add money to the non-taboo list.


David Lester
About David Lester

David Lester is a best selling author and professional Financial Coach, helping people be better with their money. David has written a personal finance book that breaks with traditional attitudes towards finance and describes his own philosophy to money that he has gained through his personal and professional experiences. His philosophy on money applies to many areas of everyday life, including banking, investing, goal setting, shopping and entertainment.