(Illustration: Sudhir Shetty )
(Illustration: Sudhir Shetty )

Don’t shy away from money talk

  • For many people money is a sensitive topic to discuss with friends, family, colleagues and strangers
  • The primary reason the majority of individuals shy away from the money conversation is because they don’t know the basics of money management

Last week, my friend disclosed that she has been taking her salary in advance almost every month for the past one year considering that she couldn’t meet her regular expense. I know she doesn’t splurge on unnecessary things, yet she has been struggling to make ends meet.

Usually we discuss everything— from where to get the best Sushi in Mumbai to Priyanka Chopra’s Instagram profile.

But for some reason she never talks about money. Whenever I have tried bringing it up, the money chat has always faded away within seconds. And it is not just her. Almost 95% of the time, people don’t want to discuss money.

Why do we shy away from talking about money management? For many people money is a sensitive topic to discuss with friends, family, colleagues and strangers. Money for some reason has a negative connotation.

Hence, often when there is money related discussion, it ends with comments such as “He is rich. He must be doing something evil" or “love is more important than money" or “you should never count how much you have else you will lose".

The primary reason for the majority of the individuals to shy away from the money conversation is because they don’t know the basics of money management.

We have never been taught in school concepts such as building an emergency fund, buying insurance for protection, investing for long-term and short-term need and taking a goal-based approach.

So you may be comfortable talking about electro-migration or astrophysics, but finance gives you cold feet. In fact, many celebrities fumble when they have to talk about money to an audience.

Another reason most individuals don’t want to chat about finance is because they find it boring.

Since the day you earn, money is the constant in your life. You know that you will need money to buy a phone, eat a good meal, fly across the globe and dress for the occasion. Hence, you will get a fully researched list on the best restaurants in town, the most recently upgraded phones, a listicle on countries that are visa on arrival and quick guide on the shops in the mall that are having a sale, but never on how to plan your finance to do all of these things.

To be able to hold a conversation about money management and financial planning you need to know how to handle it in the first place.

If you are already building a retirement kitty, have enough money to survive one year without a job, protection for your health and life, a moneybox for your children’s education and enough to spend on things such as vacations and lifestyle needs, you are in a good place.

If you have none of these, it is time to have a chat with a professional financial planner who can help you streamline your finance and bring in the confidence of handling your own finances.

Alternatively you can also do your research. Once you are confident about your money life, you will be able to empower others too.

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