Growing up, did you know how much money your mum or dad earned? Did you know how much was paid out for your family's mortgage or rent?
At our house it was an unspoken ground rule that these subjects were somewhat off limits. Sure, we might celebrate a parent's promotion or a new job, but getting into the particulars was simply not done.
Even nowadays many things about money stay unsaid, and this can work against us. Most of us need help with making savvy money decisions, so talking to each other or getting professional advice can give us just the support we need.
With this in mind, this week Sorted launched its new community forum. It's aiming to be a safe spot to discuss money and share ways to get ahead. Happy to report that we can all stay anonymous on it with a screen name if we need to, since there's something about discussing money that still can bring up anxieties and leads us to evade. It's a bit weird.
The awkwardness is not just about our earnings - it's about the past decisions we've made with money, too. We really don't particularly want these out in the open. It might be a debt we took on, the investment that tanked, or even the things we feel we should have sorted a long time ago but still haven't got around to (I'm thinking wills or insurance).
We may be thinking about money often, but we're sure not talking about it.
Getting comfortable with the conversation
"Dad, how much money do you earn?" I get this at home these days, and I have to counteract my initial impulse to shut the conversation down. Some of that comes with the judgement and comparisons that often come with putting one's cards on the table. People may think less of me if I earn less, or expect more of me if I earn more...
Let me just declare the obvious: people are so much more than just what they earn. When you think about it, how many times have any of us been entirely in control of how much we took home? Not many of us have a licence to print money, so it's not really fair to judge or compare. We're all just making the best we can of the options we've found.
I really want the kids to see the flow of money, and the decisions we're making with it for the future. Their future.
Finding ways to talk
It's time to overcome these hurdles to discussing money. Not necessarily divulging our income or past decisions we're not proud of, but rather supporting each other along the way with solutions. The world of money keeps getting more complex, and we're being left more and more to our own devices to navigate it.
The new forum on Sorted already has some key personal finance topics on there, like digging out of debt, budgeting tips and raising a money-smart whānau. Start your own thread if you like.
In the spirit of everyone getting ahead financially, let's get talking and sharing what works!