Why Is It So Hard to Talk About Money?


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Early yesterday, before I published my family’s new budget, I let my wife know what I was up to.

“Hey, you mind if I put the new budget in a post on the YNAB blog?”

Short pause.

“You know we have neighbors who read the blog, right?”

“Yeah.”

“If you don’t care, I don’t care.”

I don’t care, and I think it’s a credit to Kate that she doesn’t care either.

The result?

100 comments (and counting) of great discussion about my budget – discussion that gave me more confidence about the budget and more than a few tips about how to ensure its success.

If these are the fruits of a transparent financial dialog, I find myself wondering why money is so taboo.

I took that question to YNAB’s internal chat this morning and had a great discussion with a few members of the team. I gained insights into my co-workers’ finances and values, and I’m better for it.

Which only reinforces the question:

Why do we find it so hard to talk about money in our culture?

I have my own thoughts, but I’d prefer to get a discussion going about the emotions and practicalities associated with protecting the taboo of money.

A few supplemental questions to spur the dialog:

  • With whom are you willing to share the details of your finances?
  • With whom are you absolutely NOT willing to share financial details?
  • What do you think drives the taboo of money in western culture?

If you’re struggling to talk about money in your CLOSEST relationship, here’s a few questions that will help you break the ice:

See 84 Questions to Ask Your Partner About Money Whether You’re Dating, Engaged, or Married