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Actual Cash Speak: It's time to let go of those taboos

Let's get down to business right away – there is so much to talk about when it comes to finance. While we may not want to admit it, we don't have all the answers. Before the internet and social media, you relied on phone calls and face-to-face interactions. However, the likelihood of discussing what might be considered personal information (especially money conversations) was a big no-go. How can we break the stigma of taboo money talks in a fast-forward fashion to this day? See how we can normalize the discussion about finance.

Understand the connection between money and mental health

Ever heard the phrase, "If you look good – do you feel good?" That same opinion sounds true when it comes to finances. When there's cash to comfortably cover expenses, a nest egg in reserve, and some leftover cash, your mind is at ease. On the other hand, when there are more bills than income with no margin it creates pressure not only in your head but also in your life. How do I deal with my expenses? What if there is a financial emergency that I cannot cover?

The inability to answer these questions with certainty affects your mental health and decision-making. When emotions are high, the tendency to make irrational and hasty decisions is increased. To keep this as low as possible, you should set up regular check-ins with your family, friends and colleagues. Ask simple questions like, "If you could gauge your relationship with mental health and money, what would it be?" Or "How have you been pursuing your financial goals and how are you feeling about anything?" The answers to these questions could easily be too great Have conversations about money. You will also find that the more you discuss, the easier the conversations are.

Be open about salaries and wages

People often equate their self-worth with what they deserve, and this couldn't be further from the truth. Depending on your upbringing, money could have been a normal family issue or it could have been reserved for adults only as entertainment. Earnings have been a silent issue for a long time and that does not contribute to our personal and professional advancement.

Do you remember your first job offer after graduation and how eager you were? Up until that point, that was probably most of the money you've made. Consider this – what if you had a community of people doing your job posting? Not only would this provide valuable insights, but it would also increase your personal confidence to make the best and most informed decision for your career. These discussions honestly and openly address the many issues related to pay, such as below market pay and the gender and racial pay gap. The earlier these things are brought up in your career, setting a standard and a progressive track in terms of money.

Whether fresh out of school or with professional experience, we all deserve to earn an income that meets our needs – and that starts with a conversation. Still not convinced? If you have yet to grapple with the topic of salary, discuss the steps to increase your earning potential. Help someone working toward their career goals. This could be achieved through higher education, certification, or networking. Regardless of the method used, be as transparent as your convenience allows to serve as a resource for others. While we can easily look up this information, there is nothing more valuable than confiding in those around you.

Discuss the cost of living

Some of us really don't like being curious, but asking questions can save you thousands of dollars. Even if many of us are not new to the phenomenon of bill payment, one thing is true – you can always learn and apply new information.

Here are some examples of open questions:

What percentage of your rent or mortgage do you take from your earned wages?
How much do your ancillary costs cost on average per season?
What methods have you used, or are currently using, to reduce your cost of living?

These answers vary based on many factors, such as: Family size (if applicable) and other financial commitments, but that doesn't mean the conversation can't be effective. Simple conversations can help us all make more informed financial decisions going forward. Also add some information about your spending for context. Nobody wants the feeling of giving information but not receiving anything in return. Reciprocity is the key.

Share savings goals and strategies

While we all have different circumstances, nobody wants to go through life without support, and creating an atmosphere for conversation about savings is important to our financial wellbeing. Make saving a topic of discussion during regular conversations, get-togethers with friends, and family gatherings. It can be as general or as in-depth as the conversation naturally flows – but the most important thing is that we focus on short- and long-term goals.

Life events can make everyday tasks daunting, let alone discussing strategies. When we open the word to clear communication, we remind ourselves of what we are working towards and what needs to happen to make sure our goals are met. The adoption of new practices from these financial discussions can accelerate our growth individually and collectively. Don't you want this to be a one-time exercise? Create a small accountability group with those you trust or who have similar interests to help keep you and your goals on track. Setting a regular bi-weekly or monthly schedule gives you your own time to share all of your progress, mistakes, and lessons learned. This not only creates a sense of community, but also encourages healthy conversations that otherwise could not be discussed.

When your initial instinct is telling you to withhold details, please think about the positive results that can happen when information is freely shared without judgment. We can all benefit from these open money talks. As you teach someone else, you get new information too – a continuous cycle of growth!

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Marsha Barnes (25 posts)

Marsha Barnes is a finance guru with over 20 years of experience committed to empowering women worldwide to be financially successful. Financial literacy and education are a passion for Marsha, providing practical information for clients that will build their overall confidence in their personal finances.

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