Forget the silly Fight Club rules:
Talk about money
The first rule of Personal Finance is:
you do not talk about Personal Finance– A common misconception in society
Banks and businesses love consumers who do not have strong financial literacy. According to data from research firm R.K. Hammer, in 2020, 43% of profits in the credit card industry came from interest fees.
That’s $76 billion from people who use a credit card and do not pay the balance in full each month.
Many of us enter adulthood without a basic understanding of personal finance. Financial acumen is not a priority in schools in the United States.
According to the 2022 Survey of the States by the Council for Economic Education,
23 states require students to take a course in personal finance to graduate
We move along through life, silently struggling to learn how to improve our financial position. Talking about money is taboo. In fact, more people would prefer to talk about politics with friends than anything related to money.
I can’t think of anything more painful than politics to discuss.
The reluctance to discuss money matters makes worries about money even worse. When we do not talk about money, we don’t learn about money.
Employers have been secretive.
If you work a W2 job, you likely have no idea what your peers are paid. Employers probably created this behavior to cover practices that led to significant inequities in pay. It’s no longer a secret that gender has played a big role in what an employee receives for compensation.
Some major companies, including FedEx, Amazon, United Airlines, and Publix, have adopted the practice of advertising salaries in job postings. The state of Colorado mandates that all job postings for employees in the state include salary information.
These changes are a move in the right direction. They could help break down the discomfort of discussing salaries with friends and coworkers.
Parents haven’t been helpful to their children.
Perhaps parents don’t share financial information with children because they also feel uneducated. A 2015 survey by Spectrum Millionaire Corner revealed that only 17% of respondents said they would share their income or net worth with their children.
I’ll admit I wasn’t comfortable talking about money with my child. There’s a stigma related to talking about money. I never recall talking to my parents about money as a kid. I’ve finally broken through my walls in the last year and began talking to my son about money.
I do not want my son to enter adulthood with the same financial blinders I had when I was a young man. I’ve picked up on a few things over the years that will benefit him. I’m also aware that there are some lessons he will have to learn on his own.
There are more online resources available today than ever before.
If you want to learn about personal finance, there couldn’t be a better time than now. There are so many great blogs, podcasts, books, and publications that strive to share knowledge.
Sharing knowledge and continuing to learn is the primary reason I started writing about personal finance after I walked away from my career.
Reading and listening can greatly improve your financial awareness. You can improve your personal finance story by consuming content no matter your situation.
There is no guarantee that you will retire by 29 or turn your flaming financial mess around to retire as a millionaire. However, knowledge is power.
You can use your newfound ability to improve your situation significantly.
You have to communicate with your partner (if you have one).
Money problems are often cited as a top reason for a failed marriage. While you may not be comfortable talking to your parents or friends about money, it’s crucial to have those conversations with your partner.
Both parties have to work together on financial goals and challenges. Money is much less stressful when everyone in the relationship feels their concerns are being addressed.
Find others who want to learn about personal finance.
I live a few miles away from what some would call Personal Finance Mecca, aka Longmont, Colorado. I recently joined a group of people on Meetup who coordinate in-person events for people looking to learn more about personal finance.
The benefits of spending time with people who share similar interests are immense. You dramatically improve your learning curve by spending time with others who are learning and people who have the experience to share.
I know that chooseFI, CampFI, and Mustachian groups exist in many areas of the United States. Spend some time researching and find a group near you.
Realize that you probably walked into adulthood without an adequate level of financial literacy, and you need to improve.
Find a way to get more comfortable talking about money. You don’t seriously want to talk about politics, do you?
Consume content to help boost your personal finance knowledge.
Make money conversations with your partner a priority. Money is much less stressful when both parties feel their concerns are being addressed.
Look for local groups focused on personal finance education that meet in person. You can boost your knowledge when you spend time with others eager to learn.
If you want to get serious about improving your personal finances, you need to talk about your personal finances. Forget the silly Fight Club rules.
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