Rethinking How I Talk About Money?

Rethinking How I Talk About Money?

I apologize if this post is more of a stream of consciousness, but it is something I just have to get out on the screen. I recently had a conversation (actually about an hour) ago with someone about money. The conversation was, in essence, if I would admit that I would have an aneurysm if I adopted a money philosophy similar to friends of ours. I have some friends who live in my home state who I know basically don’t save. Their money comes in and it goes out. They sometimes complain about money, but they also have a lot of fun with it. Their attitude toward money is basically Yolo! I find their lack of savings to be short-sighted and they will regret it later on. However, it is also their life and they can do what they want with it. My friend asked me if I would have a huge problem if Mrs. ROB adopted a similar monetary style and I said that I would be angry, but I guess it would be her life. And if that were to occur we would probably have to totally separate our finances.

However, when I said that I would have to live with it my friend couldn’t believe it. This person told me I would have more than a problem with it, but I would literally become sick because of it. I protested a little, but as the conversation went on it got me to thinking about if they were right. Would I become physically ill if I was related to a total spendaholic (Mrs. ROB is NOT one of those people)?

The point of this post is not necessarily that conversation, but it got me to thinking about how I express myself about money and how I talk about it. I am passionate about personal finance. I am passionate about helping people. I am passionate about wanting more people to learn about financial literacy. However, that passion also has a downside. Perhaps, I have become nothing but the Peanuts teacher. You know the one where she says, wah, wah, wah, wah?

I mean the personal finance blogosphere is full of people who think similarly to me. I love reading those blogs. But most Americans don’t necessarily think that way. Maybe my passion, nay obsession, with personal finance has gotten out of control? Maybe I need to shut up? Not necessarily in this blog (because I enjoy doing this) but maybe I just need to stop expressing myself vocally about money on anything and let people do what they want to do?

I mean I can’t stop them. I can’t necessarily change their minds. They are going to do what they want. And frankly people have the right to do what they want and make mistakes. That doesn’t mean I have to like it, but I think maybe I vocalize too much about money. I talk too much about it. I should just shut up. The passion I have for personal finance has revealed maybe a darker side of my personality. A person who is way too judgmental, arrogant, and frankly not a nice person.

I have a lot of work to do on myself with personal finance including a lot of the choices I make. Maybe my talking about money as much as I do and want to do (I think we should talk about it more) but I need to shut up about it more. I don’t know if my attitude is arrogance or not, but I have this horrible realization that it is and that it sickens me. I might have taken this way too far to the point that I sound like the Peanuts teacher.

Maybe it is time (and I am not sure I can I am not always good at holding my tongue) to stop talking about this subject in public. Right now I just don’t have a good feeling about how the way I have handled conversations about others with money. No one has ever said anything, but I can understand if others have wanted to do. For me this is a terrible realization to have and I feel like an arrogant fucking jerk.

10 thoughts on “Rethinking How I Talk About Money?

  1. Offering advice vs. preaching vs. condemning others are very different. I am not sure what you said but unwanted advice can also be off putting. I think your intentions are great. Who wants to see friends make avoidable mistakes? Before engaging in money talks, it may be helpful to ask if they want your insights based on your experiences? I rarely discuss money with others unless they seem to want to discuss that topic.

    1. I agree with you on knowing your audience, but generally people have appreciated. I think this conversation just set me off and thinking about the after effects. Hell you are one of the only people I have met in the professorate that actually wants to talk about money.

  2. Sick? Not sure you would become sick if my wife were a spend-a-holic, but perhaps you might become sick because of all of the stress it would cause. If my wife were a spend-a-holic, it would definitely stress me the heck out!

    I think talking about money brings it to light and helps both people in the conversation. It helps everyone see a different perspective. I definitely agree, I too read a lot of personal finance blogs (like yours) and I’m pretty focused on improving my financial situation. I tend to forget that we live in a consumer driven society and that the majority of the population has the opposite view point. I think its a healthy discussion and an opportunity to help others see another point of view on finances. Keep doing you.

  3. It can be tough to discuss finances because so many are taught the inevitability of debt.

    But of course you should take out student loans.
    Why wouldn’t you lock your self into a huge loan payment for a brand new car?
    Just put Christmas on a credit card. It’s only once a year.

    I find it hard to explain to friends that I don’t go out to eat. I drive an older but reliable car. Our only debt is the mortgage on our house. People make the judgement that frugalness=no fun. But because we are careful then we have more ability to have experiences.

    The flip side of this is that when we discuss finances people assume we are making harsh judgements about how they handle money. It’s easy for people to think we are being condescending. I find myself being cautious on how I say things because of this.

    I don’t think you are wrong to discuss finances. Just be aware to not sound as though you are being Judgy McJudgerson when you do so.

    1. True and I had 1/2 dozen people that said I don’t normally do. But I have a nagging feeling that they just might be trying to cheer me up or I am way too hard on myself (another one of those things that is a cross of mine to bear).

  4. I’d say that outside of the FI community that finances are rarely a good topic of conversation. I’m FI and early retired and when people ask me why I retired I’ll say I didn’t need an income anymore but I pretty much leave it at that. Nobody wants to hear it takes discipline and frugality and consistency and delayed gratification to reach FI.

    1. That is quite true. And perhaps that is the impetus for me toning it down more. However, I became a Certified Financial Education Instructor to help more people. Of course, I guess that means I have to focus on certain audiences.

  5. I find that the personal finance community can be heavily laced with money judgment so that may make people extra sensitive about talking about money. That doesn’t mean that you (or me or anyone in this space) should stop talking about money. But I do think that we need to be conscious about how we talk about money.

    There is no one right way to reach financial independence because there is no one right way to live a life. We all have different priorities. I, for one, focused on finding a day job that I love but that pays less over suffering through one I hated just to reach financial independence a few years earlier.

    That’s why I like to shift the conversation to helping people focus on creating their ideal life for their whole lives, not just now (instant gratification) or later (ultra-delayed gratification). There can be balance. Not everyone wants to be frugal and that should be okay. –Tasha

    1. Absolutely correct, which is why called the blog Reaching Our Balance. It should be Reaching For Balance, but it was taken at the time. Balance is one thing I am still trying to figure out and I may never get there, but I hope it is fun along the way.

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