Talking About Money
Talking about money has always been a taboo subject in the United States because it represents status. The more money one makes, the more it influences how successful they believe themselves to be. Consequently, individuals believe that others assess their success according to the amount of money they generate.
HISTORY/BACKGROUND OF WHY TALKING ABOUT MONEY IS TABOO
- Historically, the money-talk taboo originated from the land-owning class within England.
- Since the nation was small, the inhabitants developed stringent regulations on who owned land, and how it was passed down to future generations. Presently, they continue to follow a land guide etiquette, which lists landowners, along with any related titles. As an unwritten rule, as with property, they developed a custom that those with money do not need to discuss the subject.
- In the past, parents raised their children in a way to avoid disturbing them with adult matters, such as their income, debt, and savings and evaded speaking about money. As a result, future generations grew up observing money-talk as a taboo.
- Some parents became worried that their kids would not appreciate them if they produced a small amount of money or accumulated substantial debt. For this reason, they did not talk about money to their children, who consequently grew up maintaining the viewpoint that it is not to be spoken of directly.
- Parents with an exceptional income and sufficient savings worried that their children would demand material items more once they began discussing money, as they would believe that their parents were wealthy and could comfortably afford whatever they desired. To dismiss this assumption, it was never addressed, and their kids grew up espousing this attitude.
HAS TALKING ABOUT MONEY ALWAYS BEEN A TABOO SUBJECT
- Traditionally, it has always been considered inappropriate to speak about money or ask someone how much they earn.
- Talking about money has usually been viewed as something that benefits the wealthy and enables class divisions to exist. Also, it has always been believed that the more people are dissuaded from talking about their finances, the more individuals compare how they are performing to others or know when others are experiencing hardships.
- Most people have resided in households where money was not discussed openly, so individuals have typically lived their life with the notion that it is something that is not to be talked about directly.
WHY TALKING ABOUT MONEY IS A TABOO SUBJECT
- People usually do not wish to attract unnecessary attention to their personal life, and allow it to become a distraction or permit themselves to be a target for others.
- Money symbolizes status, and how much money one makes/possesses is often connected to how prosperous people view themselves, which impacts their self-worth. People, therefore, think that others estimate their progress according to the amount of money they generate.
- The majority of individuals tend to assume that they are not very informed about financial matters, so discussing money would disadvantage them, and it may reveal their inadequate knowledge on the subject.
- An individual could experience financial difficulties through weakened financial management abilities or suspicious financial transactions resulting in substantial debts, which could lead to distress once uncovered.
- Some parents might regard themselves to be poor role models to their children when it comes to financial matters. So, they fear the stigma of being disrespected once they expose their financial ineptitude.
SITUATIONS (OR PEOPLE/GROUPS) THAT ARE EXCEPTIONS TO THE TABOO RULE
- One exception to the taboo rule is when someone is a member of a stable relationship. In this situation, openness about money is necessary to develop trust in making judgments as a unit, as a vital part of building a strong foundation, and it becomes imperative to work towards similar goals as a couple or family while remaining on the same page. Hence, there is a need for an open conversation about taboo topics like money.
- Another exception is when talking to one's children about money and trying to help them learn valuable financial lessons and instill financial responsibility through the development of habits that help them analyze their own money practices.
- Additionally, another situation is when one surmises that there is pay inequality in their workplace, if they would like to have an advantage in contract negotiation, or are considering a career transition and are wondering if they can measure up financially. Then, it becomes a genuine reason to question a co-worker about how much they earn.
- Finally, when seeking advice from a financial professional about a financial situation/crises is a circumstance that is an exception. While consulting a financial professional, it is fine to be open and straightforward to obtain the assistance required, particularly if one is in an unfortunate spot. They can present a viewpoint of one's situation, and help compose a plan for overcoming financial blunders.