I find that when it comes to money, transparency is conditional. People love to talk about how much money they have, what they spent on things or what fancy stores they frequent. Just the other day, some guy on Facebook wrote: “I’m 25, make $95k a year, drive a BMW, and just bought a 2,100 square foot house.” Why aren’t people this open about money they don’t have? Being the curious person that I am, I clicked on his profile and saw that he works in Toyota Sales. Considering sales tend to be heavily commission-based, I am wondering why he didn’t clarify that he may not make that amount every year. Then I realized that I knew why: in a superficial and consumer based society, what we have defines us. However, it’s what we DON’T have that harms us and we often choose to not talk about it.
Growing up, you don’t know much about money. But all the kids who are well-off tend to know it and are very open with that fact. Those who are poor either don’t know it or are taught to stay mum on the subject. Sadly this teaches us that there is only one way to be: rich. And if you aren’t, well you better damn well live like you are. Of course, this is how we get into trouble. We focus on keeping up with the Jones and invest a lot resources into items of no intrinsic value. We are consumed by what we see on other people (expensive shoes, designer bags, fancy jewelry and luxury cars). We have little to no insight on things that really matter and can impact us in the long term (our retirement account balances, adequate emergency funds, looking for additional sources of income.)
People will tell you what their car cost but won’t talk about their retirement contributions. Could it be possible that they aren’t contributing at all? And if so, is that someone you should really be emulating? I’m sure we’ve all asked friends to refer us to a good dentist or a good hairdresser. How about we start asking, “do you know a good financial planner? Do you think I should start a Roth IRA?”
I challenge you to be candid about your finances. It find it to be helpful in different ways. For starters, if you are honest about what you do and don’t have, there’s no pressure to keep up. Everyone knows what you can and cannot afford. It could also be helpful to those in your circle who may lack the courage to come forward about their own situations and are just waiting for a much braver soul to take the first step.
I’ll start! 🙂
My husband and I a very blessed with good jobs as well as self-control lol. We try to be good stewards of our finances because we know the importance of saving for a rainy day. God-willing, in less than a year, our second car will be paid off and we’ll be note free! I make it a point to do automatic contributions to my retirement account to avoid any temptations. Unfortunately, I am working on my grad school loans so I’m not putting away as much as I would like but I know it’s a temporary situation. We had a nice vacation this summer but that also translates to me having to pass up on a year-end trip. Until I find a way to travel for free or cheap, I’ll limit my big trips to once a year because I’m not racking up debt for Instagram photos. Jet-setting is nice but it also costs money that I’d rather put towards my student loans or paying for my house. This is where self control comes in: making choices that will benefit us in the long term rather than spending what we have to build a facade.
What’s your truth?