10 September 2008

Talking about money isn't easy

I love talking about money. It was not something that was ever appreciated at my house growing up. For a long time I was angry at my parents for not teaching me the value of money and how to handle it. Especially since they run their own business, it would seem like fertile grounds for learning about finances. But my current theory is that they've basically taught me all they know, it's just not that much. I don't think my parents have ever been comfortable talking about money, so it was never a subject that came up unless it really, really had to. And even then the basic premise of the conversation was always: "things are tough all over, what can you do? Life is tough and money is hard to find. That's just the way it is."

It's a strange and complex subject, similar to talking about sex I suppose. It's deeply personal but also universal and important. I'm endlessly intrigued by how people react when the subject of money comes up. The most common reaction is a blank stare into the distance and no comment.

The trouble with talking about money, is that unless the other person shares a stake in your situation (room-mates, spouse, business partner, co-investor) it's really hard to relate. People who are worse off, or think they are worse off, can only react with "what are you complaining about, you've got it good" and those who are in a better financial situation can't understand why you would sweat over $100. Not that I complain about money a lot, it's just a subject that intrigues me and often comes up, as a related subject of investing, real estate, and business. And there are a few people who share my scarred-for-life student-debt situation, so every now and then we do commiserate over a beer.

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