Let’s Talk About Money!
Growing up money was rarely talked about in my household. In fact other than balancing a check book and saving money I wasn’t taught any financial principles at home. Over the years I have traveled many places and interacted with various individuals and believe I can safely say the majority of households in America are like this. I mean think about it, I was always taught
- Asking how much someone paid for something was rude.
- Never ask or tell someone your salary.
- Money isn’t to be discussed at the dinner table.
The list could go on for days!
Talking about money is like talking about sex. It’s taboo and impolite yet every single family is actively engaged in both and I don’t know about you but both are a very important part of my marriage. But if these things are so important to people then why do we shy away from talking about our problems, concerns, goals, and methods? I believe the old adage goes “if you do not learn from history then you are destined to repeat it.”
If a child knew that his parents:
- Accrued significant credit card debt and witnessed the negative effect, maybe they wouldn’t engage in the same activity.
- Saved 10% of their paycheck so they could attend college, perhaps they would do the same for their children.
- Invested in Dividend Kings every single month to build wealth, possibly he or she would start investing as soon as they started working full time.
I’m not saying all children will mimic their parents but at the very least they will be exposed to situations early in life so when they finally do find themselves in that situation they will have some experience.
If a friend knew one of their friends:
- Placed a 50% down payment on their home in order to avoid paying substantial interest, they might be inspired to do the same.
- Obtained a home equity line of credit (HELOC) and saw the negative effects it had, maybe they would politely decline when their banker offered it to them.
- Was in the same industry and similar position yet making $20k more a year, they may decide to renegotiate their salary.
Yet conversations like these rarely take place because we are afraid of being judged and possibly ridiculed. Today I want to leave you with some timeless advice that I learned the hard way as a young soldier.
During my basic training we were given basic combat lifesaver skills. This consisted of CPR, dressing combat wounds, and a couple other life saving measures on the battlefield. Long story short we were on a training exercise and we had a simulated casualty, it was my duty to tend to this casualty but in order to simulate real battlefield stress I had two cadre members screaming at me during the evaluation.
- “What are you doing Cadet!??!”
- “OMG you’re definitely going to let him die!”
- “Are you sure that’s what you’re supposed to be doing?!?!”
My stress level was high, from what I can remember I had very little sleep and for some crazy reason I took it upon myself to yell back “Look I’m not an expert I’m doing the best I can!” Man was that a mistake, the cadre members stopped the evaluation immediately and proceeded to run me through a quick 10 minute session of push ups, flutter kicks, bear crawls, mountain climbers, and a whole other list of calisthenics as punishment for losing my composure. After the lead cadre member informed me that I had failed the evaluation he pulled me aside and told me this…
“Cadet, I know you were stressed out. That is the point of the exercise, but you must understand you are the expert until someone else with more expertise arrives. Until then, this soldier’s life rests solely on your shoulders.”
I will never forget those words. My point with this story is when it comes to financial advice you don’t need to be an expert in order to talk with friends and family. On the flipside someone doesn’t need to be an “expert” in order for you to listen to their advice. All to often I see individuals disregarding advice that would benefit them tremendously just because that person isn’t a licensed financial advisor or planner.
It doesn’t hurt or cost you anything to talk about money on a regular basis.
How often does your family discuss money? Have you ever been disregarded when giving financial advice to friends or family members?
Here’s to our Wealth!