Money Talk: Why money is taboo topic

Most people are more willing to talk about sex, politics, death, and religion than about money. Although there’s more openness now because of the internet, but for a lot of people, money matters can be such a shameful thing.

After talking about “The State of Financial Education in the Philippines” about 3 weeks ago, I decided to dig deeper. It’s easy to point at the government, educational system, opportunistic private sector and the like. But those are external factors and what about the internal-intangible factors?

Money may be on most people's minds much of the time (payday, shopping, travel & adulting funds) but personal finance — which can include income, debt, tax, savings, estate and expenses — is almost universally regarded as the worst topic of conversation based from my experience.

Sometimes a thought passes my mind that some of my friends/acquaintances/family, when they see me, they’ll probably think: "oh it's that financial planner guy, let's run/avoid him/retreat!" as if I'm a debt collector or something.

The irony of this is that we spend more hours working to make money, yet we have this ‘bury your head in the sand’ attitude towards finances. Since most of our waking hours are spent trying to make money so that we can improve our personal finances (or limit our losses), so why do we shrink from the opportunity to gain more knowledge that will potentially help us live a better life?

Possible Reasons that we don’t talk about it:
* When money is short, it can be seen as a deficiency; you do not want to be thought of as a failure. After all, money = status.

* It’s hard to admit that you’re drowning in debt or that you can’t fully take care of your family. It’s also hard not to feel judged.

* If you are doing well - you do not want to come across as a braggart OR may have a fear of becoming a target if word got around to the wrong people.

* You don’t tell people because you’re afraid they’ll hit you up for money or that they will feel judged and lacking. Or maybe you fear people will resent you. There even can be fears that greed takes the place of genuine love.

Those who seek to participate in wealth generation are not playing a game of chance, but a game of skill and information. We can agree that it is possible to improve our financial situation because some people have knowledge and perhaps even skills that others have not yet acquired. This knowledge and its implications spread gradually and unevenly throughout society.

If people are silent about money, things can only be perpetuated:

* At home/school – silence can handicap the next generation with bad habits.

* Business – for those starting, not talking about money can mean you may lose money.

* At work – people of color, marginalized & gender pay gap.

Engaging in money conversations allows you to not only gain new information for you to use in your own life but also draw upon the wisdom of others as well.

Whatever the reason for avoiding the subject - money mistakes, embarrassment, fear of conflict - silence is not a long-term solution, it can hurt you and others too.

>> Also, a shout-out to myself today; HAPPY (SILVER AGE) BIRTHDAY!

The writer is an RFP® –Registered financial planner and helps people through CERTA, Inc.’s financial education programs, estate planning & investment advisory ( He’s also a Real Estate Broker, author of the award-winning personal blog–; Vice Chair –

Originally Published in Philstar - The Freeman Newspaper last September 19, 2017.
Money Talk: Why money is taboo topic Money Talk: Why money is taboo topic Reviewed by Vernon Joseph Go on Thursday, September 21, 2017 Rating: 5

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