I do not discuss finances.
Whether when I was a school girl, a university student or a housewife, I never discussed my finances with anyone.
I simply grew-up that way. My father never told me how much he made. None of my friends discussed their salaries and incomes with me, just like I never did with them. Discussing finances became such a taboo subject over the years!
Being the “rebel” that I was, I researched the subject and its psychological analysis and read articles all over the net about how important it is to discuss your finances with your parents, your spouse, your bf, your colleagues and your friends!
When it comes to money, it’s still “too complicated” and people tend to withdraw and close the subject. Apparently, it is harder to talk about money than it is to talk about sex!!! However, here is why it is important to open up to the subject and spill the beans:
1- It helps you manage your outings
No matter how big or small your salary is, how much money you make or how much you want to spend, everyone can afford a time out with friends and family. Talking about money helps you manage who to invite, when and where! You can now go for sushi with a friend who is a big spender and save the coffee breaks and the movie night for that other friend who just bought a new car!
2- It reduces disappointment… somehow
When my friend got a scarf for her birthday from one of her best friends, she was really upset because she had gifted her a watch for her birthday. Little did she know about her best friend’s financial situation and little did she know that this scarf was even more than what her friend could afford at that time! Gifting is relevant not only to your income, but also to your monthly fixed and important payments (such as car, housing, loans, etc…).
3- It helps you appreciate your entourage
Remember that friend you called thrifty for inviting you for a $5 coffee instead of the $12 Frappuccino? That same friend had only $8 in his purse and wanted to pay the bill himself. He offered you coffee and had water to be able to pay the bill himself. Now that you know the income of each, you can start appreciating the little things people offer you instead of judging them for the things they do not offer!
4- It helps you “evaluate” your friends
No one wants a cheap friend around after all… let’s be realistic! But you can’t really decide if X-person or Y-person is thrifty just by looking at what they wear, where they work or how much they make. You need to judge based on the ratio of what they have and how, where and when they spend it. So when your friend who has $12,000 set aside judges a $8 Latté as expensive, this person is cheap! While when your other friend who has $100 to get through 10 more days of the month does the same, this person is just managing his finances.
5- It will help you “evaluate” your own financial status
Are you making enough money? Are you spending it the right way? Why does your friend, who makes as much as you do, own a brand new car while you are suffering with the mechanics of a 20 years old model? Why didn’t your boyfriend take you out to the newest “posh” place in town this month? All those questions and more can be answered once the financial discussion stops being a “taboo” subject… you’ll even discover if you are underpaid or not without twirling on your own office chair wondering if your salary was fair!