Today I went to a local MMM catchup and struck up a conversation with a Mustachian who was on the edge of being financially independent and retiring early. I asked him whether he discussed FIRE with friends outside of the MMM community. “No, they’re not comfortable talking about money – it’s just not in the culture”.
Huh. Funny that, I thought. A Mustachian feeling uncomfortable talking about money within his own social circles.
Are Mustachians around the world living secret FIRE lives and hiding their real superhero FIRE alter-egos from real world friends? Are we still in an age where talking about money is taboo and gauche?
“Only a vulgarian talks ceaselessly about how much this or that cost him. A very well-bred man intensely dislikes the mention of money, and never speaks of it (out of business hours) if he can avoid it.” – Emily Post (1872-1960)
For me – someone whose parents didn’t have that much money but grew up surrounded by those who had a lot of honey – money has always been a point of fascination and intrigue. And to the social horror of others, I’m an open book about everything and anything, above all, money. I have frequently pestered others about how they’ve successfully done this or that and asked them to teach me their successful-person ways. Oops, turns out that’s social taboo.
I get some reasons why there may be a silence around money talk – those who are lucky enough to inherit wealth may feel uncomfortable talking about wealth around those who aren’t ‘trust fund babies’ and don’t share the same lifestyle, culture or have the same opportunities due to money.
I’ve noticed that some ‘trust fund baby’ friends often remark how they don’t worry about money, that it comes and goes, or that it’s not important. However, at the same time these friends turn out to be the secret millionaires with expansive share and property portfolios courtesy of 1) their parents hard work, 2) their own hard work and 3) good financial advice passed down.
For those who aren’t lucky enough to have parents or close networks to discuss money with and be on the receiving end of valuable financial advice, opening up the discussion about money can lead to a positive movement away from bad ingrained money or financial habits and towards positive ‘trust fund baby’ money habits. To all the trust fund babies out there – teach us your ways!
Money talk has big benefits
ME Research did a study on the benefits of talking about personal finances with others. Here’s a snippet of the study:
The more you talk openly about your finances with others, the less worried you are about them.
- Of respondents who said they don’t like talking about their finances, 78% were worried about their finances compared to 35% of those who do like talking about their finances.
The more you talk openly about your finances with others, the more likely you are to actively manage them.
- Of respondents who said they like talking about their finances, 80% said they often/always actively manage their money compared to 69% of those who don’t like talking about their finances.
And when it comes to relationships, the more you talk about money, the less tension and conflict it causes.
- Of those who like talking about their finances with their other half, 61% rarely/never experience tension or conflict because of money, compared to 34% who consider the subject off limits. This is important considering 11% of all respondents said money is often/very often the cause of tension or conflict in their relationships.
What’s the money take-away?
Discussing your finances with others is linked to better financial management, reduced stress in relationships and reduced worry about money. So, let’s cut the social crap and open up our minds, opinions and discussions to others about money. Sharing is caring, right?
What do you think? Share your comments below and don’t forget to follow the blog!
xx Miss Piggy
Cover Illustration by Kelly Beeman