Why (And How) We Should Talk About Money

Every month, I have a dinner party where we talk about the most forbidden of fruits as far as conversation topics go: money.

We eat a homemade, collective meal while we discuss how our money went that month, and then we bust out our laptops.

Every month, we calculate our net worth, which is just adding up all your positive accounts (savings, checking, retirement accounts) with your negative accounts (credit card debt, student loans, other loans).

Then I try to look over all my charges from the last month.

And that’s it. It’s just addressing a very anxiety-producing topic with anxiety-tampering activities: eating, drinking wine, and talking with friends.

Why We Should Talk About Money

Talking about money is a hugely powerful paradigm shift in our culture. When it comes to shame, I always try to ask, “Who benefits from me being shamed or embarrassed about this?”

When we feel embarrassed to talk about money, you know who wins? The people who want to underpay us. The people who capitalize on our ignorance. The people who don’t want us to realize how many of us are facing the same situations.

As I wrote in this piece for Elle, talking about money earlier would have saved me a lot of shame.

How We Should Talk About Money

I also talk in that piece about how I started keeping monthly track of my money, years ago. Then earlier this year, I found myself skipping my monthly check in. For four months. I knew why. I didn’t want to look at the numbers.

Making it a social thing allowed me a kind of fake-out to push me to do it. I can stand up myself, but I won’t stand up my friends.

Ever since starting the dinners, I decided to NOT join my boyfriend on his 3-week work trip to Korea, where I could have stayed in the Four Seasons in Seoul. It would have been amazing, but I could see I did not have the money. I have to stop pretending everything’s going to turn out just fine. I was really proud of myself for resisting.

Here’s an email you might want to copy send to your friends:

Hey, I was thinking about putting together a monthly money check-in dinner so we can all help each other reach our financial goals. I need help being accountable. Would you want to do that?

I do mine the first Wednesday of every month. Wanna listen in? Here are the episodes of my podcast, Can We Talk About Money that I’ve recorded so far doing them:

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