Don’t ask someone how much money they make. Don’t talk about money with your family, your friends, your significant other. Don’t talk about money on the first date. Don’t talk about money at cocktail parties.
Money is a taboo subject in day-to-day conversation. We use money as a measure of our own and others’ success, power, prestige, generosity, or lack thereof in each instance. We don’t talk about money as to not feel weak, boastful, jealous, or offensive. We as a society shy away from helping each other with money for those reasons. We miss the chance to connect and be vulnerable with each other by not talking about money. We instead bury our heads in the sand and go about our lives incurring soul-crushing debt, enduring corporate slavery, and give our money to “professionals” who make money hand over fist taking advantage of our financial illiteracy.
I learned the power of vulnerability around money less than three months after beginning my relationship with Amanda. I was nearly finished with the process of becoming a CPA, and as it was time to pay the tax man asked if she wanted me to complete her tax return. Fully expecting this to be met with some reservations from her end, she jumped at the chance to receive my help, and from my perspective was very courageous in laying out her financial situation to me so early in our relationship. I’ve reflected back on this event many times in our relationship when I’ve wanted to bring up relationship topics with her that could be an uncomfortable conversation. I remember that she was brave enough to lay it all out there for me to see, and I need to be brave enough to lay it all out there for her, and that we will only be able to effectively grow together as a couple when we are both on the same page and everything is out in the open.
The vulnerability she was able to show to me was then able to be extended to laying out her entire financial picture and her concerns that her savings account was not growing as quickly as she thought it should based on her income and her consistent hunting for a good bargain. We were able to put all her financial information in an easily digestible form, and it has been a magical experience ever since. She made adjustments based on her life goals, and went on to pay off her student loans and is now saving over half of her income.
I believe getting rid of the taboo around money would benefit all of us. It might make us uncomfortable at first, but getting out of our comfort zone is how we grow. Let us educate each other on our financial wins and mistakes, and in the process learn how we can apply lessons from these wins and mistakes to our own lives. We would be able to connect with each other on a deeper level, and at the same time reduce the stress and anxiety that a lack of financial knowledge can provoke. This has already applied to Amanda and myself, and I know it would apply to everyone.
We created Mindful Cents to replicate the success we had with our own finances and relationship with anyone feeling stressed and/or anxious about their financial situation and to share our own financial wins and mistakes with you. We have seen the extreme benefits of being vulnerable about our finances and want to do what we can to remove the societal taboo around money. We look forward to learning from all of you and continuing this journey together.
Let’s break the taboo and be vulnerable together. We can’t wait to work with you.