Let’s be honest, we need money to live. Even the basic functions of living: air, water, and food, require some amount of money and spending to be able to obtain them and maintain our lives. Add in the need for clothing and shelter and there is no way one can argue that money isn’t a key component of and a necessity of life. We may not want to acknowledge it or give money such “power,” but it is a basic fact of life. Despite the inherent necessity of money in our lives, we treat it like a dirty little secret, a horrible habit, or a disgusting disease that we refuse to acknowledge or talk about. Why is money considered such a taboo topic to talk about overall, and even with people close to us or in confidential settings?
Money is something that we each have to deal with in our own way on a daily basis. It can be a source of motivation, excitement, opportunity, success, or security, but it can also be a source of stress, worry, discomfort, competition, or oppression. When we avoid thinking or talking about money, we are not able to enjoy the positives it may have or deal with the negatives it could cause. That avoidance only gives money power over our lives that it should not have in the first place. Money is one of the largest causes of stress in our lives, especially in couples and personal relationships, and it should not be ignored. When we avoid talking about money to important people in our lives it can cause conflicts and fights in couples and social relationships, missed opportunities in both our personal and professional lives, and negative consequences to our own self-perception and well-being.
Relationships are built on a foundation of trust and honesty. When you are part of a couple, in a committed relationship, or involved in another significant interpersonal situation, it comes with the hope and understanding that you are able to talk about topics openly and honestly, both positive and negative. If we do not discuss money, finances, debt, spending, income, etc. with our partners or important people to us, we risk the possibility of it causing stress, tension, secrecy, dishonesty, or even the demise of the relationship. Most people would lose a lot of, if not all, trust in another person if they were continually lied to or not informed of something that impacts them as well. Not being open to communicating about and disclosing money issues within a relationship can lead to serious harm and negative consequences. It may be a difficult conversation to have, and it probably will be more than one, but in order to have a healthy and lasting relationship we all need to be able to talk about money with our significant others sooner than later and keep the communication ongoing.
Avoiding conversations about money in our professional lives, such as regarding salary, raises, bonuses, etc. with our bosses can possibly result in missed opportunities, advancement, and/or negative experiences or emotions related to our employment. If you feel stuck in a job or that you are not being paid what you are worth, but are not able to start the conversation to see what the possibilities are, it could lead to resentment and loss of job satisfaction or investment in your work. You may not get what you ask for, but if you don’t ask the answer will always be no!
Most importantly, we need to be honest about our own internal views, beliefs, and opinions about money. If we are not comfortable with our financial situation, knowledge, or views about money, it will only lead to greater discomfort, stress, and lack of confidence. Avoiding anything related to money will only keep us in a negative cycle and make the situation worse. We need to be proactive in learning about money, talking to professionals, and being honest about our budgets and spending. There are several tools and resources out there, it’s just a matter of taking the first step.
Money is a topic and part of life everyone has to deal with. It should not be considered taboo, off limits, or a dirty little secret. It is time to break the mold and embrace conversations about money!