Money is a strange matter; it always appears to be on everyone’s mind, yet at a social gathering, or even in a private conversation, it always seems too much of a personal topic to discuss.
Money is taboo. When couples come for financial coaching, regardless of how long they have been married, I am always surprised at how difficult it is for them to speak about money. In some cases, we cannot have a joint meeting when we discuss budgets as the subject is simply too toxic.
From an early age, we are taught that it is impolite to talk about money. Even to close friends or family members, it is deemed as ill-mannered to talk about how much something costs or how much money someone earns. Quite simply put, money is a complex subject, and it can stir up many intense emotions when it features in a conversation.
The result of this sensitivity sees us not teach our children about money. For example, think of your own family:
When you were a child, how many times did your parents sit down with you and teach you about money and how to use it? Even if your parents didn’t talk to you about money, you would still have learned about money from them; as well as having probably picked up some bad habits, you would probably also carry the fear of talking openly about money.
Your silence hurts your children today. Whatever the reason for avoiding the subject; whether you feel that you have made too many mistakes, or that you are embarrassed, or that you are afraid of conflict; silence is never a long-term solution.
Silence hurts you: after all, without attention, money problems only tend to get bigger. It’s a powerful symbol representing many different things to many different people. It can symbolise the comfort of being taken care of and loved, as well as bring up issues of dependence and survival. It can symbolise power, control, adoration or seduction.
Money is a way to deal with anxiety and separation issues, while others believe a lack of money may be perceived as a threat to their safety and can give rise to depression and feelings of emptiness.
At Northwood Financial Services cc, we play a game called CashFlow 101 with our clients. In this game, people can become unemployed. We’ve noticed that if a client becomes unemployed more than once, they tend to give up and opt not to play any longer. Although CashFlow 101 is simply an exercise, we don’t have to option to opt out or give up when money troubles become too hard in the real world.
Our advice: ask for help. If, for example, you wanted to learn a new skill, you would seek the help of a tutor. The same principle applies to financial planning, yet few would consider asking for help to deal with money.