I work in the field of sexual health, which gives me the opportunity to brush up against a lot of social taboos on a daily basis.
- Sex is something we think we know so much about because it is everywhere we look, yet when we have a problem or question, we don’t know where to go.
- Sex is something that everyone is supposed to be born knowing how to do perfectly, yet you are not ‘supposed’ to be asking your friends, family or partners if what you are doing is good or okay.
- Sex can have some major side effects-pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and the countless other non-medical outcomes- yet even when we go to our doctor or health care professional, it’s embarrassing to be honest about our sexual practices.
Sex is actually very similar to money and finances.
- Finances are something that are talked about everywhere- from credit card offers in the mail, 0% financing for cars and talk off interest rates and debt ceilings- yet when we are running into issues we don’t know where to go for accurate information, or we just deny that a problem exists and hope it sorts itself out.
- Finances are supposed to be done perfectly, yet it is taboo to ask your friends or family how much money they make, how much debt they have, how much money they put down on their house, or how much their car costs to maintain.
- Finances can also have some serious consequences! Living above your means can lead to credit card debt, defaulting on your loans, bankruptcy and jeopardizing your future goals, including a comfortable retirement. Even though it’s much more socially accepted to talk about credit cards than say, your recent bout with syphilis, people still aren’t even honest with themselves about their financial habits!
Taboos and stigma in sexual health and personal finances work the same way-
they keep us from getting the accurate information we need and keep us from doing the things that will maintain our health.
Perhaps part of the reason why personal finance blogs are gaining in popularity is because the internet provides more anonymity for learning and asking questions about these taboos.
These taboos are mostly bogus and they keep us from living the lives we want. Maybe you are not going to go out and publish your monthly cash flow, or ask your parents how much money they have saved for retirement, but you should start to talk to your friends and family about your growing personal finance knowledge. Start talking about it casually and in small ways and the flood gates will soon burst open.
Taboos mean people think about these things and want to desperately talk about it, but think they are not allowed.
Start to be the person in your circles that allows people to stop this taboo around personal finance and start talking!