Women are afraid to talk about money. That’s the tweet.
Think about it: when you’re out with your girlfriends, is it a topic that gets brought up? And if it is, how openly do you discuss it?
It All Started At Home
To be honest, I shut down and contribute as little as I can. It makes me uncomfortable because I was constantly told as a kid that talking about money was rude.
I never knew how much my dad earned and relied on my parents to tell me what we could or couldn’t afford. So when it came to handling my own money after I got my first job, I didn’t know how to save or budget.
Speaking with a friend, she also recalls how money isn’t a common topic in the household. That is, the openness about talking about money is heavily influenced by our upbringing and cultural values. Now, as a facilitator for MoneyGirl, an Australian social enterprise that provides education to young women, she has discovered a healthier relationship with money.
“Like with everything, I think conversations and understanding about money need to start [at] home. I’d love to see parents openly talk about their money struggles or successes with their children, and incorporate them into the family’s journey with money. This will break the taboos and stigma associated with money that we face in society,” said Gayertree Subramaniam (29).
Money Maketh “Men”?
As cringey as it sounds — and a step backwards for feminism — we should be honest with ourselves. Are we afraid to talk about money or are we just running away from a question we don’t know how to answer?
Growing up in a household where the man of the house mainly bore the brunt of financial responsibility, it affected the way I perceived money matters. This heavy reliance on a male figure for financial dependence may have subconsciously caused me to internalise it as a “men’s job”.
But I’m not the only one. Many face a similar situation and society usually puts more pressure on men to be the breadwinner. It doesn’t help that gender pay gaps only serve to reinforce this idea.
Women, then, relieved of that pressure, avoid talking about money or show disinterest in it. This lack of knowledge, perceived or otherwise, leads me to my next point: a lack of confidence.
Women Think They Don’t Know Enough
Perhaps it’s because we feel that we do not understand enough to talk intelligently about money. Thus, we lack the confidence to start or contribute to conversations about finance.
But here’s the thing, knowledge is power. We don’t have to feel foolish for not knowing things. We all have to begin somewhere. Start by asking family that you trust, and friends who have shown good financial acumen.
Be curious and find out what information, resources or tools are available online – like MoneySmart, The Woke Salaryman, and MoneySense – and educate yourself.
It’s time we start creating a culture of talking about money candidly. The more you talk about it, the more confident you’ll get. Not to mention, it’s another way we can empower ourselves and our (financial) independence.