Is It Really Okay to Talk About Your Money?

Is It Really Okay to Talk About Your Money?

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Are you ok with breaking the money taboo, or do you even enjoy talking about your money? It seems to me that more and more people do.

Have the money rules changed? I ask because as a teenager, money was one of those topics that were primarily discussed between immediate family. It was sort of an unwritten rule in the house – don’t bring up family business in front of the company.

Why do people like to talk about your money (and theirs)?

I don’t recall my friends talking about their parents’ salaries; and in my 20s (at a time when the majority of us were starting our careers), we didn’t sit around the coffee table discussing paychecks. Likewise, when I worked as a human resources temp shortly after college, the company didn’t tolerate employees discussing salaries with each other.

Your observations might be different from mine. But today, it seems as if more people are comfortable getting personal about their finances and talking about their money. And when I say “talk about money,” I’m not referring to the occasional “I’m broke” statement, or asking a relative or friend for financial advice. I’m all for sharing and helping one another. Specifically, I’m referring to dropping actual figures and blatantly asking someone about his or her salary.

Now, you might not mind talking about your money, and I don’t mind when people ask what I do for a living. This question can break the ice when you’re with a group and there’s clearly nothing to talk about.

Once I share that I’m a freelance writer, it typically sparks follow-up questions, such as: How did you get into that field? What do you write about? And my favorite – how much do you make?

I’ve been asked this question more times than I can count, yet it still catches me off guard. It takes every bit of strength not to say, “None of your business.” However, I realize that these people aren’t purposely trying to get in my business. But the fact that I’ve been asked this question several times, and the fact that I’ve had discussions with people who are completely comfortable discussing all the nitty-gritty personal details of their finances, makes me puzzled regarding when money topics became an acceptable dinner conversation.

It doesn’t matter how well or how bad I’m doing financially; it’s no one’s business. And I know that some people feel that talking about money or breaking the money taboo isn’t really a big deal, and maybe it isn’t. But whether I earn $10 an hour or $50 an hour—why is this need-to-know information?”

Is this your way of quickly sizing me up to determine whether I can make it in your circle, or are you looking for someone to hit up for cash?

Okay, maybe I’m overreaching a bit with the above statement. But really, why does it matter?

As stated earlier, I know that those who’ve asked about my income don’t have an ulterior motive — it’s just plain curiosity. And depending on who I’m speaking with, I might share what I average per article. But as far as sharing what I earn weekly, monthly or yearly – no way, not gonna happen.

These curious minds will have to start their own freelance career and discover for themselves.

What are your thoughts?

How to break the money taboo with your friends, family, and coworkers

In her latest book, Erin Lowry breaks the social taboo with Broke Millennial Talks Money. It’s “a comprehensive guide to talking about money in every aspect of your life, including at work, with friends and family, and in relationships, from the author of the Broke Millennial series.

Erin wrote the very popular Broke Millennial: Get Your Financial Life Together and Broke Millennial: Takes on Investing.

In the third installment of the series, she helps take the stress out of these tricky conversations. With scripts, tips, and troubleshooting advice, Erin takes you through every possible money talk scenario, including how to:

  • tell your friends you can’t afford the same lifestyle they can  
  • ask your parents if they can afford retirement and if they’ll need your support as they age  
  • talk to your coworkers about your salary and negotiate with your boss  
  • broach the subject of a prenup with your fiancé

She arms you with all of the financial knowledge you’ll need in order to get the most out of each interaction, whether that’s with your friends, your spouse, your employer, or your mom. 

Get your copy of Broke Millennial Talks Money in paperback or Audible.

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