Thursday, January 16, 2014

Money and Sex: Normalizing the Conversation

When I was a teenager, I remember closing myself off in my bedroom to listen to Dr. Ruth’s pioneering radio show on sex. No one talked about such things! It was shocking. And somehow, normalizing. There were real people, getting on the phone, asking questions and admitting that they had questions and uncertainties. Wow, me too! I learned a lot from Dr. Ruth and from all of the callers.

Money and sex are a lot alike. No one talks about money. No one wants to admit their uncertainties. Most people feel they should know so much more, that their money situation could be so much better and that they are the only ones. But as with listening to Dr. Ruth, once you spend some time listening to your peers about how they feel about money, you feel some relief. “I’m not the only one.”

As a financial coach, I’ve experienced over and over new clients walking in and before the end of their first session, grabbing the Kleenex box. Talking about your money is cathartic as well as motivating and clarifying. But wow, is it hard and scary. I’m not sure why it is that we’re so fearful. It’s as if something is going to break if we tell someone else how much debt we have, how much we earn or how much we have (or don’t have) set aside for retirement. It’s a shared fear for most of us.

And if telling a financial professional isn’t scary enough, can you imagine what it would be like to tell an entire group? I’ve led countless mastermind groups through the process and it’s always so interesting and inspiring to watch everyone’s financial growth as they first admit to something they don’t know and then share some truth about their finances.  I think it must feel a little like I felt as a teenager, closing my door and listening to people talk about something I never thought I’d get to hear them talk about. I think a lot of people who’ve joined a Finance Boot Camp must think “Wow, me too!”

Here are some of my favorite strategies and resources to help you normalize the money conversation:
  • Join a support group: we of course love Finance Gym’s Finance Boot Camps, but Debtors Anonymous is a good option too.
  • Take a class: Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University groups have been successful for many or look into your local learning center for classes on investing and other financial topics.
  • Find someone to talk to: we of course love Creating Answers’ financial coaching, but there are also excellent professionals trained in financial recovery counseling, and CFPs who prioritize money conversations over charts and graphs.
  • Set a “Date Night with Your Finances:” ask someone you respect to mentor you by joining you once a month to talk about your money.
  • If you’re married, set a “Date Night with Your Finances” with your spouse. Once a month set a date, get out of the house, go somewhere special and talk about your money. Not the nagging “why did you buy this?” conversation, but the supportive “these are my hopes and dreams and fears” conversation.

And if you just can’t bring yourself to talk to other live people then take your radio into your bedroom, shut the door, and listen to a radio show on money.

-Stacey Powell

Finance Gym offers personal finance coaching in professionally facilitated peer-advisory groups. 
Reach your financial goals. Get motivated. Get support. Get results. Are you ready?

No comments:

Post a Comment