5/25/17

Why We All Need To Start Talking About Money

Some things in life are best kept a secret. We're all entitled to share or not share whatever personal details we want. In fact, deciding the right balance of what to share and not to share can be a pretty difficult task.

Sure, like most things in life, you have your extremists on both the over-sharing and under-sharing ends of the spectrum. We all have those Facebook friends we went to high school with who love to inundate our feeds with pictures and videos of every movement their newborn makes, pictures of handfuls of money from their pyramid scheme success stories, and worse yet, constant badgering to read their personal finance blog.

For every over-sharing extremist, we could probably point to somebody that we should probably check up on to make sure they're still alive. They show no signs of life beyond the annual Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes! It was a great day! This is generally how we as a society have treated finance as a discussion topic. It's traditionally seen as a taboo topic that's too personal to talk about with our friends, families, and sometimes even our significant other.

I think that's bull shit. And I'm here to put an end to it.

Money doesn't have to be a secret! 


Money Makes the World Go Round

Okay maybe money doesn't actually physically make the world go round. I'm pretty sure it's gravity. Come to think of it, why the hell would gravity make something spin in a circle? Shouldn't it just pull
everything straight down? I'll have to run that by Max. I'll keep you all posted.

ANYWAY, money is so prevalent in all of our day to day lives that our society literally could not function properly without it. It affects us all on a deeply personal level, and it affects us all in aggregate to some extent through economic trends. Just take a walk down the street, and you could probably have some idea of the people you could learn a thing about money from and who could stand to learn a thing from you.

You might have a little more insight to assume how money is affecting your friends, family, and significant other. Do they seem to be winning with money, or do you have to bite your tongue to stop yourself from offering some financial advice they clearly seem to need?

What if you didn't have to bite your tongue? What if your relationships with those people offered you the opportunity to learn from them and offer advice?

I've always had a really open relationship with my parents that allowed me to openly discuss money with them. As I've gotten older, my parents and I have even begun discussing specifics with each other regarding dollar amounts and short and long term strategies for saving and investing. I have learned so much from my parents about money, and I think they've even learned a thing or two from me over the years.

My friends have started to open up about money with me especially since I began publishing this blog. I still just speak in generalities with most of them, but I do get somewhat specific with some of my closer friends. But I have this nagging thought in my mind, what if I could discuss financial specifics with all of my really close friends? Imagine what that could do for our financial lives! Let's take a look at the benefits.

     1. Accountability

Telling somebody else what you're planning to do has a way of inspiring us. Even if our actions don't really affect that person, we're motivated to keep our word. One of the worst feelings for me is having to tell somebody that I dropped the ball or forgot about something I told them I was going to do. If that person asks how that thing is going, I want to be able to give them some good news.

I built some accountability into my financial life by telling Amanda and my parents that I was going to pay off my debt before moving out of my parents' house. Even though I knew paying off my debt would propel me toward financial success, that didn't exactly make spending about $25,000 in one day an easy task. Once they knew I clearly had the money to pay everything off and have a little left over, they started asking me periodically when I was going to make the leap into a debt-free life. Ultimately, that feeling of holding true to my word is what pushed me to make that leap.


     2. Competitiveness

Christian and I sat in his living room one morning before our re-launch and in an effort to find our identity, we brainstormed our similar characteristics. One of the recurring characteristics that seemed to feed a lot of the other actions and tendencies we discussed was competitiveness. We grew up playing sports together mostly on the same teams, and just like our high school English teacher Mrs. Bower liked to remind her students, we grew up competing with each other academically. We would also compete with each other and the other drivers at Home City Ice to see who could get their route done the fastest and sell the most ice. There was always a little extra satisfaction when one of us could prove to be the best at something even if only for a short period of time.

We absolutely wanted success for each other and all of our friends. We would collaborate at any given opportunity on sports teams or class projects to help propel each other to success. Nobody wants to be the weak link, so working on a group project with other intelligent and hard working people just propels us to work that much harder to drive value for the group. 

This competitive fire can also apply to personal finance. If we are open with our friends about our financial goals, we can use that fire to drive ourselves and each other toward success. You wouldn't want to knowingly sit back and watch all your friends paying off their debts, saving for vacations or homes, or setting themselves up to be millionaires in retirement while you're mindlessly spending money with no plan or path towards success. Share your goals, talk about how to achieve them, and use the success of your friends to propel you towards your own success. This is the most positive application of the phrase keeping up with the Joneses. 

     3. Information Sharing

Chances are, we all have somebody in our lives that knows more about money than we do. Even if you are a financial savant, there's probably something you could learn about some financial topic from another person in your life. Maybe you have a friend who studied finance in school and could break down investment opportunities with you or a parent who could give you feedback on your ideas based on their experiences over many years of their life. Most of us could point to someone who could teach us something about personal finance if we just talked to them about it.

 Christian and I each have our different strengths when it comes to personal finance, and we complement each other well. Christian has a lot more technical knowledge and knows about the theory behind different financial topics, and I tend to focus a little more on current trends and hot topics. We both cross over to the other person's area of strength on our own, but our best way to learn is to have open conversations and ongoing dialogue with each other.

     4. Interesting Conversations

I love sports. I love watching sports, I love thinking about sports, I love reading about sports, and I love talking about sports. But if the Indians had yesterday off, I don't have much to talk about with people I don't know super well other than the weather. I do not love talking about the weather.

Money has some effect on your life, and it has some effect on the lives of everyone you're talking to. I understand that not everybody would be interested in talking about money even if it were socially acceptable, but wouldn't it be a nice alternative to the weather from time to time if nothing else? And for the people you are closer with, you can really dig in, learn from them, and have passionate discussions and arguments with them about your theories and opinions. That happens some with politics today, so why can't it also happen with money? Maybe we wouldn't get so sick of political talk if we broke it up with some money talk every now and then.

Go Talk About Money

I challenge you to find someone or a small group to talk with about money. Be very upfront with them about your desire to open up that area of your relationship, and make sure they're on the same page. They might be a little uncomfortable if you just spring this on them and start talking about money. Find someone who will commit to opening up with you so you can both benefit from your conversations by learning from each other and holding each other accountable.

If you don't have anybody to talk to about money, talk to us! Leave a comment, message us on Facebook, or post on our page. We've been considering setting up an email address, so we'll definitely do that if a lot of you are interested in having regular conversations about money! Even if there's just one particular topic or decision you've been thinking about, run it by us and we'll do our best to help you out!

Let's become the most financially successful generation ever. Let's bring money out of the dark and into the light of everyday conversations. Let's talk about money.

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