How Making Money a Taboo Topic Will Make You Broke
I’ve always struggled with understanding why money is such a taboo topic. 99% of people avoid having important conversations around finances and in my opinion its a huge problem. I believe the phrase honesty is the best policy is especially true when it comes to money. The number of fights between family members that could be avoided and good habits that could instead be built is staggering. All we need is a little honesty.
We’re taught when we are young that we must work alone. You did your homework, took tests, and learned things for the most part, alone. While this works to a certain extent, for the most part, I think it hurt our development. This simply just isn’t how it works in the real world. It’s pretty common knowledge that none of us can do everything by ourselves so why do we try when it comes to our money?
It’s no secret that most people in the US are terrible about managing their money. Is it their fault though? Partially yes, but mostly no, I don’t believe so. A majority of people with good paying jobs can’t afford a surprise bill over $500. That’s a serious problem. Along with that, we are a nation that is being crippled by student loans, homes that we can’t afford, and credit cards that we can’t pay off. I could go on and on about our downfalls with money but why do they exist in the first place?
Where Does the Taboo Come From
The notion that discussing any form of money was rude came from the British according to Jodi RR Smith. Jodi is an etiquette consultant who has been studying these topics for more years than I’ve been alive.
She goes on to say how the best asset someone could own in the old days was land. From this people just knew who had money and who didn’t because of the amount of land they had. If you had a ton of land you’d drive a nice car and you’d park it at your nice house, plain and simple. Additionally, the English were huge on giving people with wealth prestigious titles. This also let people know where the money was.
The last thing she mentions is that if you weren’t one of these landowners then you kept to yourself. You didn’t have enough rank in society to ask the wealthy about money, as it would come off extremely rude.
How the World is Changing
Today we have new innovative technology coming out every day by young entrepreneurs. The likes of Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Logan Green (Lyft) have paved the way for people to gain huge amounts of wealth all through technology. Technology is a digital asset, there are no restrictions to it like there is land. A lot of the time these people don’t come from old money either so there is no set standard for how they should act.
This means for you and I we have no restrictions. Via smartphones, we literally have the world at our fingertips. No longer is the information on how to gain wealth and keep it locked away with people who have status in society. The amount of information out there is more than you could go through in 100 lifetimes. A simple search on Google or YouTube could give you the knowledge on something that used to be isolated to the rich.
I will warn you though there will be some pushback from older generations. The fact is they don’t like to talk about money and probably never will. When I received my full-time offer for a corporate job I looked up the salary for that position in that location. When I brought this up in negotiations I was told how unprofessional that was. WHAT?! The information is out there and it’s free. You’d be hurting yourself by not taking advantage of it.
I’m getting a little sidetracked here but it is illegal for employers to stop you from discussing salary data amongst each other. The best case of this information sharing was back in 2015 when former Google employee Erica Baker started a spreadsheet with everyone’s pay on it. Long story short, this sharing of information led to Google having to change their pay structure. If you want to read that full story then click here.
The last thing I’m suggesting is going online or to a dinner party and blasting every detail of your financial story. What I am suggesting though is opening up a dialogue with people you trust. The simple fact is we all have different experiences. With this, chances are high that someone has already gone through something you are trying to figure out. For other topics, we take advantage of others wisdom to avoid their mistakes. So why don’t we do the same when it comes to finances?
Additionally, there are a thousand ways to do something. For most the first person they ask for advice on money is from their parents. This is a great place to start. What isn’t great though is that they stop there. I’m not trying to discount your parent’s knowledge, just suggesting you look for multiple opinions. The more inputs of knowledge you have the better decision you’ll be able to make.
The goal here is to not do this alone and when you ask around you’re in essence building a team. I think my parent’s are incredibly intelligent but they would not be my first call when evaluating a rental property. They just don’t have the knowledge or experience around it. Especially compared to an old professor or another property owner.
The mission of this whole website is to open up the conversation around money. In fact here is my actual mission statement:
To create straightforward, easy to use, and sustainable financial advice for young adults that allows them to build the life they want and someday become financially free.
I try to be as honest and forward as I can. Last week I literally shared my income over the last 6 years in the article: Lifetime Wealth Ratio and Other Simple Personal Finance Formulas. I’ve had some awesome successes and some stupid failures because that’s reality. If there is something I don’t have knowledge on I’ll go out and find someone who does. Articles: Before You Buy Your First Home Read This! & Questions You Need To Ask Your Spouse About Money are examples of this.
The point is I’m an open book. While I won’t be blasting every detail online I will share a ton if the someone asks a specific question. If you are in need of help on something specific shoot me a message via the Contact Us page.
Let’s open up the conversation.