How much money do you make?
How much credit card debt do you have?
How is interest calculated differently between a car loan, student loan, or a personal loan?
What is a stock and how do you invest in one?
Gaby Dunn takes on all these issues and more in her podcast Bad With Money. She makes an important point that talking about money is so taboo that often people are more willing to talk about their favorite sex positions than the amount of money they make. In this country money is a very private, protected thing and it cannot be ignored that the lack of it brings an intense level of shame and ridicule, creating even more insular societal habits which then reinforce the overall “hush hush” attitude.
I grew up not understanding money, and part of that is because my parents didn’t involve us. How many parents do you know “protect” their kids from the stresses of finances? Some families even hold that as a badge of honor: “I didn’t want them to have to worry about money until it was time” and then when the time comes it’s too late and they are grown and hiding their money woes from their kids. A dangerous cycle. This effect compounds in poor families whose money habits are often increased by location, more expensive lending, and survival instincts that drive the “spend it when you got it” instinct instead of the saving/investing habit. And to be quite honest, in most cases there is nothing left after basic needs to save or invest, and things that aren’t experienced or practiced aren’t learned, and can’t be passed down to children. Another cycle.
What I absolutely love about Gaby is that she talks about money issues that would make people very uncomfortable, but in doing so she makes me feel like I’m not alone. When we shine light on things, they become more clear and often we take control back from whomever was trying to keep things in the dark to begin with. I see this happening in the overweight/obese world and the increase in body positive movements. That insistence that no, you can’t shame me anymore because often there are cycles and inequities in place that prevent me from overcoming your shame. Speaking about money in this open and honest way should also push back the shame related to this very touchy subject. Bravo Gaby, keep up the excellent work. I’ll definitely be listening.