Sometimes I have to stop and realize that not all people feel comfortable discussing personal finances. I’ve always enjoyed discussing money matters, but this may be because I feel that money management is separate from a person’s character.
Unless someone is intentionally being dishonest, learning to properly manage money is typically just about learning how.
I recently learned that a young man I’m close to is planning to move out on his own soon.
His mom called to tell me about his plans to leave the family nest. She said that she asked him to meet with me first before moving out to get a budget together.
In my excitement, I sent him a message asking him to come to dinner this Sunday. He responded that he was happy to join us! Then I asked him to bring information about his last three months pay checks and his student loan payments so we could figure out a financial plan before he moves out.
After all, who wouldn’t want help setting up their finances before stepping out into the world independently?
Here is how the second part of the conversation went:
Me: “Awesome! Figure out your last three months worth of pay checks and student loan payments and I’ll help you figure out a financial game plan!”
Young Man: <crickets>
I’m sure you’ve had a similar experience in your own life. When you see an opportunity to help a loved one, don’t you get excited?
This young man is an athletic kid/man. I don’t know much about sports, so I could never help with that. But money management is something I know and enjoy. And I would say I’m pretty darn good at it.
One reason I’m passionate about personal finance is because I know first hand that being financially savvy can make your life more comfortable and enjoyable. Knowing how much money you have coming in and going out can help you avoid making a decision between having your electricity turned off, or eating.
Before I moved out on my own, my dad sat down with me night after night teaching me the ins and outs of personal finance. It was seriously the best housewarming gift he could have ever given me.
I understand that sometimes individuals simply don’t have enough money to pay for necessities like food and utilities. But that is not the kind of situation I’m talking about here. I’m referring to the person that runs out of money before running out of month needlessly.
I’m talking about watching your online banking balance to see how much you have to spend, but forgetting about that check for $300 that has yet to clear your account.
It’s such an empowering exercise to create a financial plan for yourself. It’s reassuring to know how much money you have to spend at any given moment. It makes for restful sleep to know that you’ll absolutely be able to pay your rent/mortgage this month because you’ve already pulled it aside.
I feel so strongly about the power of personal finance, that I would say that for most people, being knowledgeable (and putting that knowledge into action) can make the difference between a life of relative comfort and a life of struggle.
So tell me, do you think personal finance is something too personal to discuss? Personally, I think making personal finance taboo to talk about is part of the problem our consumerist, debt-ridden culture is facing today. What do you think?