Polite conversation does not include religion, politics, or money. Why nobody talks about money?

I’m sure that many of us grew up hearing some version of this lesson, especially us ladies. 

Welcome to 2017! Discussing religion, politics, or money is no longer considered a social taboo the way it was 20 years ago, especially with close friends. We are rewriting the rules around social norms, including how we spend, save, and talk about money.  At Nav.it we believe this is imperative for the next generation of thinkers and doers to understand the system we live in and solve the problems we will face in the future. 

Nobody Talks About Money – The Next Wave

As we all know, technology and globalization have greatly altered our world, in really only one generation. Happily, this means younger generations are also creating different etiquette that reflects our uniquely contemporary circumstances. While I learned great financial habits from my parents, they navigated a much different financial climate when they were my age than my friends and I are currently experiencing. We are staying single longer, earning 20% less at the same age than our parents, and 7 out of 10 of us who graduated from college have student loan debt.

Therefore, having open, direct conversations about finances with friends and office peers to understand how they are nav.ing similar financial experiences, like paying rent, saving for retirement, and building their careers, is a helpful way to gain some financial wisdom.

So here are the new Nav.it rules regarding financial talk with friends:

It’s ok to ask questions.

Approaching conversations with friends from a place of curiosity and a desire to learn, sets a foundation for open and honest communication about finances.  For example, you can pose the question; “Do you have a 401k plan through your employer? I’m trying to figure out how to make my employee retirement savings plan work for me, and I’m curious how other people are investing in their plans.”

Asking the question this way doesn’t put the person on the spot. They can answer your question without divulging specific salary or investment numbers if they aren’t comfortable talking about those specifics. Decisions about employee benefits are sometimes the first major financial decisions you make, and it’s a topic many people have questions about, so starting that conversation may be mutually beneficial for you both.

Be honest.

We all come from different financial circumstances. Being transparent with close friends builds upon mutual trust and can help you avoid awkward money conversations. When you have conversations about finances, be sure to ask open-ended questions that are seeking financial information and “how to” answers not questions that are asking for specific dollar amounts. Equally, don’t ask if you’re not willing to share your own financial strategies so there is a shared dialogue!

 

Don’t compare yourself to your friends.

Financial security and success is personal and means something different to everyone. Again, see above. It’s important to support your friends and peers during these conversations. No one likes a one upper!  

At Nav.it we believe money is money and just a tool. There is no judgement or competition in it, we’re all trying to get to the same end goal: a happy, comfortable life (and ideally fulfilling, but that’s another conversation!). So open-ended questions that avoid judgement (good or bad) or competition (with) your friend’s financial path but provide you some extra education are ideal. 

Be a resource.

Sharing an article (or a Nav.it blog post 🙂 is a great way to have a conversation about finances with friends. If you show people how to demystify these conversations they will learn from you and hopefully pay the experience forward. 

We have talked a lot about how financial conversations are sometimes easier for men with their peers. If we want this world to advance to a better place, women need to start having real, honest conversations about money, with each other and with their male counterparts. Equality and a shared understanding of money benefits both men and women, and gathering information (becoming informed) is essential for everyone to advance.  

Celebrate successes together.  

Congratulate your friends when they get a promotion or when they buy that new couch they’ve been saving up to buy. I like to live by the motto; “Don’t forget what you don’t know”. It can often look like your friend who is living in that swanky apartment is livin’ the life – but you don’t know the sacrifices they have made or the hard work that they have done along the way to get there. When one person wins, we all win.  There is enough space for us all to succeed. Oh, and being supportive of other people’s success is also just good Karma.

Summary

To sum it up – it really is okay in this crazy world of 2017 to talk to friends and peers about finances. I don’t know nobody talks about money. It can be fun to talk to older generations about their financial successes and failures as well. You may be surprised at how much information an older person is willing to share. Learning from previous generation’s experiences can be valuable in informing our own. It’s how we learn and grow and improve – by sharing ideas and information. Our generation is the information generation, so let’s continue to share and all get smarter together!