Publication date : 01/07/2019
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This is the extent I used to talk to my friends about money – I gush ‘your shoes are gorgeous!’ My friend replies whispering excitedly (as if letting me in on a military secret): ‘Only € (insert a low-ish number of euros) from (insert a shop’s name)! Such a bargain!’ Other than that, I do not know how much they earn, how they’re doing financially, how much the somewhat larger items in their life (like their house) cost them and whether they have an additional retirement plan or not. And yet, the more tender-hearted amongst you would blush at the details we go into in other aspects of our lives (if you know what I mean).
Money and culture
Maybe money talk is unusual for me because I’m British, a culture known for its restraint, modesty (and odd referendums) and the extent we feel comfortable talking money tends to be influenced by our cultural backgrounds. My Chinese friend from Singapore will be looking to find out how much her date earns by mid-main-course latest. For many though, it’s uncommon to talk money specifics openly. This information is reserved for an intimate few.
Money, worth, identity
And who can blame us? The numbers in our bank accounts and assets net-worth can be seen as symbols of our successfulness in life. Revealing our original economic background or dare I say it ‘class’ aka how privileged we’ve had it or not. The answers to the ‘how much’ questions feel entwined with our identity. These numbers reducing us to categories, which can feel divisive and cause us to compare.
Let’s drop the stigma
Beyond this, it can feel exposing to say one or many of the following: I am in debt – I don’t understand how retirement plans work- I am lost when it comes to money- I have no idea how to save or invest. Like these are our dark dirty secrets. Not to mention if just one unplanned life event occurs (divorce, health issues, your insurance didn’t cover it) and then suddenly, we feel abandoned and rudderless against the current. Financial anxiety, linked to depression and burn outs, could then lead us to spiral into thinking ‘I am the only one- it’s just me’.
Stop. It’s not just you.
It’s really normal to feel anxious about money. All of us at some point in our lives feel insecure, confused and a bit lost, especially about money.
And while we’re at it, let’s drop the jargon
For those of us who tip to the-more-lost–with-money end of the scales, take note that financial jargon doesn’t help. (And don’t even get me started on acronyms.) When I hear people speaking in numbers and percentages and using terms like ‘fiscal periods’, ‘market capitalisation’, ‘bonds’, ‘bids’, I just want to lie down and take a nap. Unless we’re talking conceptually, money is a pretty dull subject. For me, language should either be clear and concise, or interesting or beautiful. Money talk is often unclear, long-winded, uninteresting and it ain’t pretty.
‘A problem shared is a problem halved’
All this is why it’s good to talk to people you can trust and speak your language. Asking for help and talking about topics like retirement plans, loans, budgeting and investments, gives you an opportunity to learn from one other. Our self-limiting beliefs, the unhelpful voice inside who says you’re not (insert word of choice) smart/successful/organised/thin enough to deserve (insert word of choice) a home/ financial security/ a good retirement, holds us back from having important human conversations. Conversations which start with ‘I have no idea how to’.
At Birdee we want to make it easy to ask for help, we are real people:
– who answer the phone +352 20 30 16 22 from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
– answer emails: email@example.com
– or who respond by chat via the conversation button on the Birdee website.
Beyond this, there are many ways to seek support online in forums and written articles, which can help you take positive action to make you feel more in control.
I have begun a dialogue with said friends and I am pleased I have. For they are some clued-up people with their stuff sorted and I am learning a lot from them. I also realised it’s not just me, we had similar concerns and questions.
Almost everything has a price. Love it or hate it, money is unavoidable part of modern life. Talking about it to the right people can be a support to help you feel confident with money, empowering you to make the most of it. Birdee would like to support you. And perhaps armed with the right info, in your language you could begin investing your money to invest more in yourself.
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