Monday, February 9, 2009

Talking About Money

I read a Debt Support message board. It's refreshing to hear other women's stories, no matter where they are on their journeys. I love that people are sharing where they've been, where they're going, and where they never hope to be again. A lot of that sharing is of ideas, concepts, and inspiration, but a lot of it is cold, hard numbers as well. Yesterday there was a post from a new member, who introduced herself and then said that she couldn't share any numbers, because she'd shared something before, and got "scolded" by a family member for giving away sensitive information online. I think that's interesting.

Talking about debt is a sensitive subject, and before I started this blog, I asked Mike how he felt about it. (He, as I suspected, didn't care in the least) Sensitive or not, I'm not ashamed of our debt. It is what it is. I would be ashamed however if I shared other kinds of financial information that other people quite freely share, not because the numbers are too high or too low, but because there's a time and a place, and all too often the line of good taste is crossed. It's kind of ironic to me that people will talk (ie: brag) about how much money they make, how much they spend on their house and their cars and their "toys", but talking about their debt is too personal. I was at a party - in a roomful of people - and someone was talking about his first post-college job that he'd just started. He then proceeded to tell the room the exact amount of his salary and his signing bonus. That to me is the kind of sharing that you just don't do in polite conversation. I'm never impressed with high salaries anyway, because it's such a small small piece of someone's financial picture... not the whole story. And what does it matter anyway? Would you think more highly of me if I said we brought home 90K a year? What if I said we brought home 30K, but we owned our house and our cars outright? What if it was actually 150K, but we owed 70K on credit cards? (None of those are real, by the way)

Who cares how much money someone makes? What do they do with it? Do they waste it? Do they use it to help others? Do they live within their means? Are they trying to keep up with the neighbors? Do they think "the guy with the most stuff wins"?

I guess I'm unusual in that I like to - politely - talk about money. I do. I never would have started this blog otherwise. Sometimes I'll share specifics, and sometimes I won't. But as long as I feel that I've shared honestly, and humbly, and remembered that at the end of the day money doesn't matter, I'll be happy.

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