I’m 100% obsessed with talking about money. Every conversation I have seems to inevitably come back to money in some form- my personal debt payoff story, or good money habits in general. People want advice, or they want to share a financial victory or struggle they’re dealing with.
And I love it! Becoming financially literate changed my life. Committing to changing my financial situation lead me to:
-double my income in one year
-pay off my final $18,000 in student loans in 10 months
-max out my IRA in fourteen months
It also led me to realize that I am deeply passionate about financial literacy for women. Well, for all really, but let’s start with just half the world’s population.
Talking about money is one of the easiest and best ways to get better with money as an individual, and also to help break down the stigma around money.
Not talking about money is for those who have it.
It’s a way to keep those who are underpaid and broke in those circumstances, and a way to devalue labor. That sounds like it’s an evil plot from an overlord, but those are the real life ramifications of not discussing money in an open and honest way.
In my personal experience, talking about my money situation when it was at its worst was a way to take back my control over my own life. What was my worst money situation? Let’s review.
My 2014 tax return says that I made $16,360 in total. That’s the kind of cash money you can expect to make when you’re working very part time as a receptionist and a caterer for most of the year. Service work: not for those who want to get rich!
During that time I lived with three people whom I love dearly and who all came from very different socio-economic backgrounds from me. Primarily, they came from two parent households where their family was able to pay for college out of pocket, and all received some kind of financial aid from their parents post-college. I came from a single parent household and paid for college via scholarships, loans, and some family help. Post-college, I lived rent-free at home for a year, but have never been supported by my mother.
My roommates and I didn’t talk about money that much. We all talked about how we didn’t make that much, but my friends didn’t need that much. They had no debts that they had to pay every month. They were in a different place than I was, and money was a non-issue. It was something they wanted to make more of because who couldn’t use more money, but it wasn’t a problem.
Money was a problem for me. Like, a it-landed-me-in-therapy-slash-i-had-to-defer-four-out-of-five-loans-for-awhile kind of problem.
I didn’t want to talk about it with my friends because it was embarrassing! I was the broke one and I hated drawing attention to that fact. Who wants to point out that they come from a lower-class background? I specificaly hated talking about our very different upbringings. So instead…how bout nah?
And there it is y’all. The vicious cycle. Those who have money don’t need to talk about it, and those who don’t have money feel ashamed to bring it up.
Quarter Life Crisis
After my quarter life crisis showed me that money was the single biggest stressor in my life, and that it was informing every single one of my decisions in a deeply negative way, I started talking about money. A LOT.
I started a blog. I brought it up with everyone. My therapist probably wanted to throw himself out the window when I mentioned my debt because I talked about it every session. I talked debt, interest, investing, income equality, the wage gap. It was all money, all the time.
To a large extent, it is still all money, all the time. And you know what? I have a hell of a lot more money now! Talking about money led me to think about money. Which led me to learn about money, which led me to enact what I was learning. And boom, I started paying off my debt in windfalls and then saving money in windfalls.
I don’t share my specific numbers here, but I will say that in May 2015 my net worth was $348, as evidenced by this blog post. I’ve increased that by over 100% and it is in large part because of talking about money.
So yeah, I’m obsessed with talking about money. It changed my life. Tell me what you love or hate about
How do you feel about talking about money? Do you love it, or hate it? What do you need help with when it comes to facing your fiances?