Why People Are Embarrassed to Talk About Money

July 28, 2017

Tip Content Provided By: Financial Finesse

This article is derived from the Financial Finesse Blog

When I first heard about Financial Finesse’s workplace financial wellness programs, which are offered free to employees of client companies, I assumed that almost all of the employees would want to take advantage of it. After all, how often do you have the opportunity to speak with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional with at least 10 years of experience who won’t charge you or try to sell you anything? At best, it could change your life, but even if you decide not to do anything, what’s the harm in talking?

But what I’ve learned over my years here is that people find all kinds of reasons not to take advantage. Don’t get me wrong, we are busier than we’ve ever been working with employees to improve their financial lives, but I often wonder what keeps everyone from making the most of this amazing benefit. I find one of the obstacles is people feeling embarrassed to talk about their financial situation. Which I hate, because there really isn’t anything to be embarrassed about — we’ve heard it all and we are a judgement-free zone.

Here are 3 of the most common things I hear people say and why they shouldn’t feel that way:

I feel stupid about money. People tell me this ALL the time. The funny thing is that these people are far from stupid. Many of them are lawyers, doctors, scientists, etc. However, we have an education system that doesn’t really teach personal finance, a financial system packed with unnecessarily (and some would even say purposefully) complicated jargon, and busy lives that leave us without much time to learn this on your own.

Far from being “stupid,” acknowledging what you don’t know is a crucial first step in improving your financial wellness. No one knows it all and even if you did, we all have emotional biases that can prevent us from making the right decisions. It never hurts to get a second opinion (at least when it’s free and unbiased).

I feel guilty about what I spend on X. This is another one I hear constantly. Remember, there is no one right amount to spend in any given area. It all depends on your personal situation, goals, and values.

For example, many New Yorkers complain about how much they spend in rent, but they often forget how much they aren’t spending on car payments, car insurance, gas, and car maintenance. A person who is debt-free and saving enough to hit their goals can afford to spend more than someone trying to pay off credit card debt. You may decide to spend more on travel and less on shopping, while your friend does just the opposite. Neither of you are wrong, as long as that spending doesn’t lead to additional debt.

I know I should be doing X, but I’m not. Welcome to the club. Even financial planners will admit to this. Personal finance reminds me a lot of dieting and exercise. Most of the time we know what we need to do, but the hard part is actually doing it.

Just like working with a personal trainer, a good financial wellness coach can not only help you decide what to do but help motivate you to actually do it. One way is to hold you accountable. In that case, your fear of embarrassment can be your best asset.

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