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2 reasons talking about money is more taboo than sex

Compilation image of couple with close faces on a bed and pile of $100 notes
Money vs sex: Which one are you more comfortable to talk about? (Source: Getty)

For years, talking about sex and money was taboo. It was simply understood that nice girls didn’t talk about it and certainly don’t own up to wanting more of it. Yet, over time, that changed, for sex at least.

Thanks to Sex and the City, Girls, Cleo & Cosmo and other books that dealt with it irreverently and cleverly, sex became simply something else we talked about. I, for one, would love money to be given the same treatment.

Breaking the barrier

For a moment, I thought that had happened. When Covid first hit, we had to talk about money.

When you’re facing the possibility of no income and no savings, you can let go of your polite veneer really quick. The problem is, after dealing with lockdowns, stimulus payments, rising interest rates, declining financial literacy and rising cost of living – it’s easy to become financially fatigued.

Perhaps that’s why I’m seeing women particularly reverting back to their pre-Covid positions that talking about money is crass and abdicating responsibility to their partner (if they have one).

Yes, part of this movement backwards is financial fatigue, but I also believe it’s because of the financial shame and vulnerability many of us feel.

Why shame? The reason so many women leave the lights off in the bedroom to have sex is the same reason we’re also leaving the lights off on our finances. By talking about money, we’re ashamed that someone will see and judge us.

Here are two reasons why, that many of us can relate to;

1. Our perceived deficit makes it hard to talk about money

There might be shame because you don’t have enough money, you’re not earning what you think you should, or you have too much debt.

Perhaps it’s because we worry what people will think of us if they see the financial mess we’re in.

Or perhaps we don’t think we’re earning enough to keep up appearances for the suburb we live in, the school our kids go to, or the people we associate with.

Whatever the reason, we’re ashamed because of our perceived deficit.

2. Judgment makes it hard to talk about money

Or perhaps it’s more to do with the opposite extreme.

While it seems to be quite acceptable for men to say they want more money, is it OK for a woman to say she wants to be financially successful and wealthy? Particularly if, say, like me, she has chosen not to have a family?

Or if she is a working mother? Does that make us selfish somehow, or less feminine?

Is there judgement involved with women wanting to have more money, in the same way that, pre-Samantha, women might have felt about coming out and saying they enjoyed sex and wanted more of it?

Or if you’re a man and your wife is earning more than you, does that make you feel less of a man? Or just if your mates found out?

What about if you chose to stay home and look after the kids for a year? Do the (mainly) women at school pickup think less of you because you’re not a provider?

The truth is, there’s already so much judgement involved when it comes to money - we may as well talk about it.

5 tips to talk about money

How can we start talking about money in a non-judgemental way?

1. Share our money stories

Talk about the money stories and myths you’ve picked up from your parents, your peers or society and whether that is serving you or sabotaging you. Be curious about each other’s stories.

2. Share our money wins & losses

Normalise talking about your wins & losses whether that’s finding a great grocery app or shutting down a buy now pay later account so that you eventually work up to sharing the big wins.

And work up to sharing the not so good things with people you trust – whether that’s leaning a little too hard on credit or numbing by clicking buy now when you’ve had a glass of wine or two on a Friday night.

3. Create healthy money environments

This might mean unsubscribing, unfollowing & unfriending from those online who are causing you to spend as well choosing who you’re going to have money conversations with and putting boundaries around what you’ll discuss with the money vampires in your life.

4. Find money communities

Follow and join communities that are talking about money to normalise it for you. Bring those tips back to the money wins and losses conversations you’re having.

5. Get interested

Listen to podcasts, join courses & read books. Like my Uncensored Money Podcast or maybe join me for 7 days and let’s get you financially focussed with my Financial Self Care Challenge.

It’s all about moving you to a place where money is simply another thing that you’re comfortable talking about.

Melissa Browne is an ex-financial advisor & now financial educator. If you want more help, make sure to join the waitlist for her My Financial Adulting Plan at www.melissabrowne.com.au

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