Talking Money Can Be Contagious
In the years since I started writing about personal finance, I’ve also found myself discussing it in everyday life far more often as well. This extends from conversations with my wife about different things I read that might be helpful for us to just casually bringing up some of these same topics with friends. However, this week I came to realize I’m not the only one initiating money convos, as my interest in personal finance has spread to those around me.
Earlier this week, my friend send me a link to a high-interest savings account that caught her eye with its high 2.45% APY. The next text following this link simply read, “You’ve turned me into someone who’s Googling all sorts of finance stuff!” My response? “Muah ha ha” (an attempt to capture a maniacal laugh in text). Joking aside, I was super excited to hear that I might actually be making an impact.
Now, to be sure, I’m not the type of person to push unsolicited financial advice on my friends at every turn (or any turn, for that matter). Instead, it seems that talking about money just became something natural to me and discussing things like savings, self-employment taxes, and retirement accounts became part of that. This not only opens the door for friends to ask me for financial input if they want it but can also spark an interest for them that leads them to find their own path.
Given this experience, I’m still shocked to hear how many people are deathly afraid of discussing any sort of money matters with others. One study I saw recently found that 39% of adults felt that the topics of salary or household income were too taboo to talk about. Even if talking salary is a bit over the line for some, I was more surprised that 38% said that even discussing retirement savings was too much. To me, that’s something that definitely needs to change.
On the bright side, the same survey also found 35% of respondents reporting that the topics of saving and/or investing came up in conversation with friends in the past six months. That’s actually not a bad start — but we can do more. Of course no one wants to spend entire dinners discussing their finances, nor does anyone want a lecture about where they’ve gone wrong. However, it seems to me that there are ways to work money into everyday conversation to at least erase the stigma around doing so and perhaps inspire someone else to do that same. From what I’ve found, talking money can be contagious and could help spread financial savviness farther than we could imagine.