The internet is full of taboos. It is our place of recluse where we can be our true selves by reading and discussing all the things we wish we could in our real lives. Safe behind a colorful avatar, we feel comfortable to discuss our love for My Little Pony.
All of us do it, but the funny thing is you’re probably not even aware you are doing it at this very moment.
In fact, you are actually participating in the single largest taboo our society has……
This post has been written by guest writer, Brandon Carey of 30and0.com
Why Are We So Afraid of Money?
Money is the thing that we all crave, but no one is comfortable discussing it openly and honestly. Imagine you meet someone tomorrow and during your awkward handshake they look you in the eye and say “How much money do you make?”
What would you say?
Odds are, you’d freeze and give a sheepish grin as you change the subject. Yet here you are frequenting a dirty den of the internet where you can get your financial fix as the writers splay their financial lives bare for your entertainment.
Some people are so afraid of money that they do not even know anything about their own wealth! The thought of seeing their entire financial picture in a graphic raises their heart rate as if Jason Voorhees was hiding in a pie chart. We know that retirement exists somewhere in the hazy distance but we simply cannot bear to actually plan for it.
The first step is to remove the taboo and stop being so afraid of money.
The easiest way to do this is to normalize its place in our lives and learn how we can use it. We all need some amount of money and what that amount adds up to is dependent on what you value.
- If you value the things that you are using your money for, you should not be ashamed to speak about them.
- If you don’t value what you are using the money on, then STOP!
This may sound like common sense but you will be amazed at how much money we spend on things we do not value. If you analyzed your spending for 2017 you are almost certain to find a trend of purchases for something you could not care less about. Usually these purchases are small individually and it is only on reflection that we see the damage these purchase have done.
Your level of openness about discussing specific salary and income is a decision I’ll allow you to make, but talking about money topics should feel relatively comfortable for you.
- ways to save more money, or
- any number of finance topics should be comfortable.
We’re afraid of money conversations because we haven’t had them with ourselves first. Remove the taboo and allow yourself to discuss these topics openly. Imagine someone being an Ohio State fan and never telling anyone. Sounds a little ridiculous right? (O-H!!) So by omitting these topics are we saying we are not a fan of money? I find that equally ridiculous. I can tell you now no topic will light my fire and turn me into the most avid listener than money.
Do You Know When You Can/Want/Plan to Retire?
It seems the majority of bloggers are interested in the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) lifestyle these days and for many people, that can be intimidating.
Many people have not even thought about retirement, let alone retiring early. This is a shame because having an idea of when you want to clock out of the office for the final time is one of the first steps you can take towards being honest with yourself about money. Knowing this date allows you to begin to focus on what getting there looks like.
Once you open this conversation with yourself it’s time to rip off that Band-Aid. Let’s look at where you stand today.
Is your net worth negative? Don’t be overly discouraged because a lot of American’s net worth is. Now that you know where you stand you can begin to plan for how you can get to where you want to be. It’s important to keep a positive outlook on this because no matter how bad the situation is, ignoring it will not improve it.
Now we start to make moves.
We find retirement calculators and focus on bringing our numbers in line. This may mean adjusting our retirement date, retirement lifestyle, or even our current lifestyle to get there BUT you can get there! Set realistic goals and begin to knock them out one by one. In no particular order the usual suspects are:
- Build emergency fund
- Pay off debt
- Invest in a 401k (at least enough to get the match)
- Invest in a Roth/Traditional IRA
- Consider after-tax investing
- Look at alternative revenue streams
“People fear what they don’t understand and hate what they can’t conquer.” – Andrew Smith
This quote captures the majority of the reason we’re so afraid of money.
We fear it because
- we don’t understand it, and
- we hate that we can’t conquer it.
You’re already taking the first step of getting past this fear by educating yourself. Understanding money will alleviate that fear and remove the taboo. Money is merely a tool that provides us the ability to accomplish things; nothing more nothing less. Money itself has no value.
Stop being afraid of the thing you crave. Allow yourself to have a healthy relationship with money. Maybe take it for a picnic sometime and listen to its needs. At the very least stop shuddering when someone mentions it and know what your money is doing to help you achieve your goals.
Are you done being afraid of money?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.