Three reasons your money story matters

Three reasons your money story matters

Would you tell your neighbor your annual income? Would you ask theirs?

Probably not. Talking about money makes most of us cringe: 70% of us consider it rude to talk about money. It’s considered a “taboo” topic, right up there with politics . . . maybe even beyond.

But there are plenty of benefits to bringing up money around our family and our friends. Sharing your own money story can actually be a real gift to those around you.

Here are three reasons to open up about your own money story:

1.) Sharing your money story helps normalize a typically taboo topic.

Our American money taboo seems to stem from the British, who considered it very rude to talk about finances. But the more you talk about money, the easier it gets for you and for everyone around you. A little bravery on your part can help empower others to bring up the topic too.

Consider the positive ripple effect: if you share your money story with a friend, he may feel more confident about asking for that raise at work. If you tell your wife about your history with debt, she’ll feel more comfortable discussing her fears about not saving enough for the future. Taking that first, important step helps chip away at the taboo we’ve built around money, little by little.

2.) Sharing your stories can encourage and inspire those around you.

Your accomplishments and hard-won battles can empower others to make progress in their own financial lives. If you mention to a friend that you finally paid off your mortgage and are living debt-free, she may be inspired to do the same — and, by sharing your story, you’ve made it easier for her to ask how you did it.

Similarly, sharing your money story can help others move past the financial shame they may be feeling. When you talk about your own money missteps, you allow others to feel less isolated and less alone in their struggles. And they’ll know they can come to you as a trusted friend and confidante when things get tough.

Recently a friend of mine opened up on Facebook about personal financial struggles. They were honest about the real fear they were feeling. What amazed me were the comments that this triggered, particularly from people that I thought of as being rather financially fit. These commenters shared about similar experiences they had traversed and suggested resources that had helped them through. The friend’s candidness helped me see beyond surface level.

3.) Talking about money equips future generations for success.

Saving, budgeting, investing and spending are critical life skills, skills our children need to thrive as adults. Arguably, these are the twenty-first century’s version of survival skills.

Teach these with your own real-life examples, and the skills come to life. Teaching Junior how to make a budget is helpful. But when you tell Junior the story of how your own budgeting allowed you to buy your first car, the lesson is more likely to stick.

Furthermore, sharing your own money story paves the way for your children to trust you with their own money concerns. Of course, no parent wants their children to stumble. But when they do, we want to be there to support them and help them bounce back. If your children know about your mistakes, then they will feel comfortable approaching you when they make their own mistakes.

So who should you open up to today? Make a conscious choice to share your story and help someone else.

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