talking about money

Why I’m Totally Obsessed With Talking About Money

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?

 

 

10 thoughts on “Why I’m Totally Obsessed With Talking About Money”

  1. Adventure Rich

    Your progress is amazing! 2014 making $15k to doubling your income and maxing out an IRA… way to go! I’m a big fan of talking about finances too 🙂 Learning more about personal finance and how our choices early on can shape our lives in radical ways has made me want to “share the love” and help get others on track.

    1. Yes, I want to share the good word! ? Thanks for your kind words- it’s been amazing to pick my head up and say ‘wow, all that work has paid off in big ways!’

  2. Ten Bucks a Week

    Awesome! Yes, talking makes us aware and helps us improve. It is not as scary as most would have us think. Also, moving to Austin next week for the summer, I’m excited.

    1. Once you crack the iceberg it becomes so much more comfortable! And feel free to email me when you get here and we can meet up!

  3. Smart Money With Lydia

    Its true, talking about money and being more vocal (to myself) about it has really led to me discovering that i was financially illiterate. I am currently taking steps to rectify that situation. It’s true for people who are less well off, talking about money and our lack of it is stigmatised and can feel so embarrassing. Which is probably why we try to keep up with the Jones’ and end up in a Huge mess. I am currently working on a blog to document my journey to financial freedom and share all I learn with other people. (www.smartmoneywithlydia.wordpress.com)

    night now i feel better than I ever have when talking about money, i have decided to let my money shame go. currently, I need help with knowing that I am not the only person on the planet in debt and that it takes time to fix my finances.

    Thanks for writing this. I enjoyed reading it.

    1. You are not alone! Community is so important when you’re on the lower end of the income spectrum or in debt. Thank you for sharing here!

  4. wishicouldsurf

    I agree 100%! Women especially have much larger taboos around money and research shows that is part of what holds us back from getting equal pay – though the issue is complex and that’s not the only piece that’s important. Keep at it. The more you talk about it, money loses its power of you and the more you have control over your financial life.

    1. Breaking the money taboo is beneficial for everyone but especially women. You’re right, women not talking about money or feeling comfortable around it holds us back in a way. I’m gonna keep shouting into my megaphone, don’t worry 🙂

  5. I can’t tell you how much I relate to this post. I was in the exact same boat as you after I graduated college. I moved back home and I’m sure people thought my parents were supporting me, but they most definitely weren’t. I just could not afford any apartment in Los Angeles off my $10/hour salary. One of my good friends asked me if I was interested in moving in with her…but she was looking at $2400+ two-bedroom apartments…and she was unemployed! I remember feeling super embarrassed when I said “no.” I also remember that I would go out with her and other friends who were willy-nilly spending their parents’ money and I would drop so much of MY hard-earned money on food and drinks to fit in. I really wish I could go back and tell myself to have more self-control. And to also be open with my friends! I’m sure they would have been happy if we just cooked dinner and played board games with a glass of wine some of those nights. It took me about five years, but now I just let everyone know that I’m saving money to buy a house one day. And most people then open up to me about how they’re also struggling to save and we give each other tips. So, I totally agree with you — talking about money is the way to go!

    1. It’s amazing how once one person says ‘i’m saving’ other people will be open to saying ‘oh yeah, money is tight for me too.’ But if we all operate in the shadows, we all egg each other on to spending we can’t actually afford. So glad you’re able to save now and feel more comfortable with speaking up!

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