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Dirty Talk


It feels like we've gotten to the point where we can now discuss most topics openly with people we love. Mental health, sex, politics, infertility and even religion are all fair game. 

The one topic that still struggles to make it into the club is money. Discussing personal finance still remains off the table. Sharing your salary with friends or coworkers is blasphemy. Telling people your net worth is tacky. You can share that you've gotten a raise, buy you may never tell people the dollar amount. My female friends who have recently become Moms have no qualms sharing funny stories about how childbirth changed their bodies but they don't dare tell me their salary. How did torn taints and involuntary urination become safe conversation topics but money hasn't? Why is money so taboo? Who decided money was too dirty to talk about?

As a financial advisor, I'm one of the few people who get to peer into the world of people's finances. It's fascinating. I get to learn how much people make, how they spend and how much they've saved. I get to watch how different groups handle their money and learn their beliefs around it. Because I discuss money so openly with my clients, I often forget that I'm not allowed to discuss it with my friends. I'll often turn to a friend and casually ask, 'how much did you make this year?' They look at me confused and offended and usually respond with, 'that's none of your business'. Even though it's literally my professional business. 


There's a mountain of research showing that when we talk openly about money with our peers, we become wealthier. When we talk and learn about money we have less shame around it. Two quick anecdotes on the power of sharing financial information.

Anecdote 1

I work with a client, we'll call her Imani. Imani makes hella money. I noticed that Imani essentially has the same job as my wife (Sami), but was making twice as much. I shared this info with Sami. Sami did not believe me. Sami then applied to Imani's company, landed a job with them and doubled her salary overnight. 



Anecdote 2

One of my clients wanted to buy a house. We'll call him Felix. Felix didn't have enough for a down payment. I asked him to hit up his parents for some money. Felix was confused. 'People ask their parents for money to buy a house?' Felix grew up in a waspy family where money was never discussed. I explained that most people use generational wealth to buy their first home. Felix hesitantly approached his parents for some money to buy a home and they happily cut him a check. Now Felix is a homeowner.

Also here's an amazing Youtube video about a bad ass who paid off her cripplingly large student loan debt. If you skip to the 2 minute mark she shares that asking her friends about their salary was the most helpful tool in earning more money.



This was all a buildup to me getting on my soapbox to say: 
We need to remove the stigma around talking about money.

We should feel comfortable sharing information about our salaries, investments and debts with our peers. To honor this intention, I'm going to talk dirty to you: 

In 2023 I made $248,000.
Sami made $195,000.
We file our taxes jointly but we keep our finances separate.
Here's our monthly budget.
We do not own a home.
Our rent is $4,500/mo.
But we sublet one room in our apartment to a traveling nurse for $1,500/mo.
We put $60,000 in each of your kids 529 college savings accounts when they were born. 
I put $24,000 into retirement savings every year.
I donate 10% of my salary to charity.
I'm 40 years old, and I've saved $458,000 toward retirement.
We purchased our first home with a huge 0% interest loan from my parents.
And while I hate crypto and heavily advise against it, I still own $1,300 of Bitcoin.

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