I’ve heard it said that it is unwise to talk about religion or politics at work or at parties. Some would add money to that list as well. I have to assume that people are so thin-skinned that these topics will offend, and so they shouldn’t be discussed. I can add a lot of things that should also go on that list: Health, Education, Personal stories about children (those kids will grow up someday and might not be so glad to hear that strangers know about that one time they did something embarrassing), Sex, or anything where there may be a disagreement of any kind.
Put that way, the whole thing sounds silly. I love to talk religion with anybody who wants to. I’m secure in my faith but I really enjoy learning more about the faith of others. Even if I don’t follow your faith, if you are my friend, or even a close co-worker, the fact that YOU follow it and are willing to discuss it should be enough. Of course, I also decorate for Christmas and Hanukkah, (even though I only celebrate one, and even though nobody sees my house except my wife and I). Similarly, I like to talk politics. Once again, I enjoy talking politics more with people whom I disagree with than those that are lock-step in line with my views. Those kinds of discussions bring forth more common ground and allow people who see things differently to agree on big things. In fact, out of all those listed, the only ones I get a little uncomfortable with are those personal stories about children and sex. I don’t have kids, but I was one once, and I know that there are things in my past that my parents might think funny or cute that I’d rather not have discussed openly with people I don’t even know. As for sex, I can imagine that nobody wants to hear my stories anymore than I want to hear theirs.
But money makes no sense at all. Of course, generations of people who wouldn’t talk about money have inspired F4Y. If more people talked about it, there would probably be no need for F4Y in a few years. Guess what? I’d be okay with that if that were the reason.
A few days ago, I went to a Christmas party that I go to every year. In years past, I would sit in a room (preferably alone) and wait for the party to end. It isn’t that I didn’t like the people or anything, I’m just a quiet person by nature. I’d been told for years all the things I shouldn’t talk about, and there didn’t seem to be much of interest left. As the years went on, other people would drift into my hiding place and start conversation. After a while, there was no place safe. I had to interact with the other party people. So, back to last week, I found myself in a conversation with a few people including my wife, a family member, and two neighbors. The conversation touched everything from politics to children, to my favorite– money.
One of the people we were talking with kept saying things like, “I didn’t even know that”, or “Well where could I find […]?”, and she wasn’t a kid or dumb. She was a grown woman, a mother, a wife who just didn’t know some of what we were talking about. She didn’t know about how WALMART AND 7-11 ARE TRYING TO SCREW THE CONSUMER. She didn’t know about DIFFERENCES IN BANKS AND CREDIT UNIONS. She, like many others, wasn’t aware of the BENEFITS OF DEBIT CARDS, or the DOWNSIDE OF USING DEBIT. Okay, I could show off and put links to almost everything we talked about, and a few links that would have helped out with other things we talked about, but you get the idea.
Once again, this isn’t about the people in the conversation. This is about the years that have gone by where this stuff should be taught in school so that twenty years from now, her child isn’t going through the same conversation. And when I say taught in school, I’m talking about compulsory education by someone who knows what they are talking about, not a sales pitch by the cute bank employee , not another class taught by P.E. teachers who just want to finish out their twenty years so they get full pension.
Of course, we don’t have that currently. What we do have is a bunch of readers to this site and others like it. So don’t be afraid to talk about these issues with friends, family members, and even co-workers. When you do, remember to https://finance4youth.wordpress.com or http://finance4youth.com.