Pay inequality is obviously an issue that affects many women in several countries and industries, not just the familiar faces we see on the big screen, but I think it’s a very important topic, and I was pleased that it was brought out into the open.
That is, until I heard on the news that Kate Winslet had come out and had her say on the topic – or rather not had her say, as she was quoted saying: “I don’t like talking about money, it’s a bit vulgar isn’t it?”.
I was gobsmacked. Here we have a woman who is well aware of the problem, and who is looked up to by many other women – and she comes out with a comment like that.
So, Kate Winslet doesn’t want to talk about the problem, but I think that this comment actually makes her part of the problem.
The Problem with Avoiding the ‘Money’ Issue
In many countries, and Britain being a great example of this, money is a taboo topic. It’s listed with religion and politics as topics you don’t bring up at dinner parties. Sharing money advice and stories is considered a social faux pas.In many countries, and Britain being a great example of this, money is a taboo topic. Click To Tweet
But I’m here to tell you that it shouldn’t be!
Everyone we know has to deal with money, and many people struggle at some point in their lives with how to manage their finances properly – people get into debt, make the wrong choices, buy bad investments etc.
We have all gone through something like this at some point, and you can be sure that it’s not just you – it applies to your friends as well.
One of the main reasons for so many of us getting into financial trouble at some point is simply that they don’t teach us enough about how to manage our money at school.
So your only hope for learning about these things is to be taught by your parents – who also probably had no financial education about personal finances when they were younger.
Now add to that our aversion towards talking about money with our friends, and there doesn’t seem to be much we can do to learn about these things without having to specifically go out and educate ourselves.
Or is there?
Imagine a Different Reality
Now imagine how much we could help each other if only we shared our experiences?
Imagine if a friend had told you about the trouble she got into when she signed up for that high-interest credit card – you would’ve known not to do the same.
Or if you had shared with your friends what happened to a relative of yours when her husband suddenly died and she had no idea what kind of money they had or how to manage it.
If we share these things with the people close to us, we can learn from each other, and avoid making the same mistakes.
How to Start Talking About Money
So, how do you change this deeply ingrained habit of not talking about money at all costs?
It might feel awkward, especially at first, to bring up the topic with your friends, but you can start by finding people online who are happy to discuss finances and share their knowledge and money advice.
There are numerous Facebook groups and online forums available, and you can share as much or as little as you want – the most important thing is to ask questions and share what you already know.
Once you start looking for it, you’ll realise there’s a whole world out there, happy to talk about money, share tips and compare experiences.
Once you feel a little braver, the next step is to broach the topic with a few close friends on a more general level:
“Don’t you think it’s a shame how we’re not really allowed to talk about money?”
Maybe share some horror stories you’ve heard about things going financially wrong for people, and explain how you think it could all have been avoided if the people involved had wanted to learn more about money – and had talked about it.
So many women have told me: “I wish I’d learned this when I was younger,” or “I wish I could have taught my kids this stuff!”
Don’t worry about the past and what you should have done; just decide that from now on, talking about money isn’t a taboo, or vulgar topic as Ms Winslet says – it’s your motivating mission!
Over to You
Do you enjoy talking about money? Or do you consider talking about money is a taboo? Leave your comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
Jenni Syrjälä is a money coach who specialises in helping women re-write their money story and make friends with their finances on a practical level. She is passionate about helping women discover what she has learnt: that money doesn’t have to be stressful – it can be exciting, too!
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