Talking Finances With Friends & Family

by J. Money on Monday, September 21, 2009

Friends & FamilyDo you guys talk about finances with friends or family members? How about co-workers (hah!)? I’m willing to guess you don’t. Or at least not as much as you’d LIKE to.

It’s a good thing we have this blog world and the internets or we’d be scrambling for some good financial advice and community outlet. I mean, where else can you post your salary and complete financial history for everyone to see without getting shunned? Kristen from Filife recently left a comment on my last post about learning from the recession, and it really made me happy (and inspired this post). She added a #6 to my top 5 lessons, and it went like this:

“#6: It’s possible to have open, honest conversations about money with friends and family!”

How awesome is that? While it seems to be working out for her (hooray!), unfortunately I haven’t seen much of this myself. Talking about money is just as taboo as talking about sex, if not worse. I can always hit up my cube-mate and tell him about some crazy drunken “fun” I had the other night, but dare tell him about my salary increase? No way in hell, that’s crossing the boundaries my friends ;) And to be honest, I can see where it gets a bit shady with co-workers. I do believe that certain levels of information should be closed off so that no one gets pissed off or jealous.

Talking finance with friends and family

When it comes to our closest friends and family members, however, I think keeping an open door about this stuff can be incredibly helpful. I’m a big fan of free information here on the net, but there’s something inherently better when you’re face-to-face with someone discussing your situation or pleas for help. These people know more about you than us bloggers or financial T.V. reporters. They know your strengths, your weaknesses, and just how emotionally involved you are. They’re your loved ones and they lookout for your best interest :)

So why don’t we open up more? You’ve got me. I’m always surprised by the looks on my friend’s faces when I tell them how much we paid for our townhouse ($360k) or when I sneakily insert my salary ($75k) into a discussion just to see what would happen ;) It’s possible they’re just shocked at the price we paid for our home, or that I get paid so much to do so little (only half the truth btw), but more than likely they’re amazed I just spilled our top financial secrets. And if I really wanted to throw out a zinger, I’d tell them how much money we have in our savings! But only if it’s appropriate of course, you don’t wanna get all showboaty or anything.

Should I be hiding this from them though? Am I an absolute loon for trying to add more substance to our financial conversation? Possibly. I really don’t know the right or wrong answers here, just that I WISH it would be a lot easier to talk about. Imagine if everyone dropped their barriers and were more open to detailed discussion! Don’t you think we’d learn more or at least understand the reasons why we are where we are? I wouldn’t just release the information all willy nilly-like, but there are certainly times and places where doing this be more beneficial.

How about you all? Do YOU feel more free to discuss this stuff? Or am I just a rambling fool trying to stir up a little controversy ;) Either way, I thank you guys for being here and allowing me to bare it all each and every day. Together we really can talk about anything! (Even how to spell boobless upside down on a calculator: 55378008)

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personal capital Personal Capital (FREE) -- If you’re looking for a robust financial tracker, Personal Capital is the way to go! They’re like Mint, but on steroids and have much better tools for investment and net worth tracking. // Full review Digit (FREE) -- A super easy (and automated) way to save. Every day Digit analyzes your income and expenses and will push money aside for you any time it sees extra sitting there. I've saved over $4,000 myself using them so far! // Full review
acorns Acorns -- Having trouble finding money to invest? Check out Acorns – they round up all your transactions to the nearest $1.00 and drops the difference into an investment portfolio for you. Easy way to start investing! // Full review

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