I’m a firm believer that you have to hand over your problems in order to receive your solutions. Most times, we’re all pretty good at doing this. When we’re feeling in the dumps for no reason we confide in our best friend about what’s going on. When we’re worried about something in our relationship, we seek the support system that we know won’t make us wrong. When we need some help growing our businesses, we find the right advice. From relationships woes to career struggles, we may not talk about it at first but we’re pretty comfortable once we do.
There’s one very real problem-area in life that we’re not talking about. And it’s the same area that gives all of Americans the most amount of stress, 92% of them in fact.
Yup, it’s money. And while I’d love to believe that my generation, who prides themselves on public (over?)sharing and wide transparency, is more comfortable with this topic… it was oh so heartbreakingly clear to me from a recent twitter chat I hosted with Umpqua Bank, that it’s not. We don’t know where to turn. We don’t know who to trust. We don’t want to talk about it. It’s “tiring…exhausting…terrifying”. Their words. Not mine.
I found myself wondering after reading the survey data from Umpqua, who conducted a study exploring the relationship between money and stress, and by reflecting on my own conversation with 20+ dynamos via our #M2Gchat, why this is.
What are the reasons you’re not talking, 77% of American’s don’t walk about money to be exact, so we can figure out the solutions. Together.
You think you’re alone
If you’re ignoring the money talk because you think it’s just you, you’re so wrong. Over three quarters of Americans would rather ignore than open up. Like, they’d pick getting into the dentist chair over discussing their finances. Are we mad?? If we are, we’re mad together. Because this is something every. single. person. is going through or has been through in their own way at some point. Sure, they may not have student loans but they’re financially supporting their parents. They may have a killer career but they have insane debt from grad school. They might be making six-figures but are spending beyond their means using credit cards (which you’re three times more likely to do than if you’re making less than 100k). Everyone has their own version of this mulah obstacle. And everyone has their own way of getting through it (or not getting through it). But refraining from the discussion because you think you’re the only one just isn’t true. You’re not. Which you’ll realize once you speak up.
Been there. Done that. I’ll never forget my first call with my financial advisor a few years ago who was helping me create plans, budgets saving plans, and priorities. I literally had to fight myself to get through that conversation without “glazing the truth”. I didn’t want to talk about my student loan. And I didn’t want to talk about the balance I kept on my credit card at the time. It nauseated me from shame or embarrassment or some mix of the two. I don’t know why we all just assume we’re supposed to be good at this stuff. As Americans, we’re not taught it in school. And unless you’re a personal finance expert by trade, you’re not going to learn it unless you ask, inquire, and talk. It’s probably these tied up emotions to money that result in only 18 percent, eighteen, seeking help from a financial advisor or bank when stressed about the cash.
You don’t know who to trust
I’ver heard it. I’ve said it. I get it. Who the hell do you trust when it comes to this stuff? Do you just walk into a bank? Do you pay more money to have your not-enough-money-as-it-is money reviewed? As millennials, only about 5 percent of us seek expert financial advice. My guess in large part is because we have no idea who to let in on that subject. As I’ve been asking around, it seems like the people I know operating in that 5% are turning to personal bankers or financial planners that come recommended through their network. And hi, I would never know either of those things unless I was willing to talk about it.
We will go broke in silence if we don’t start talking. Worse, it’s stressing us out. The silence. The cash. All of that can be fixed through a couple conversations… with someone you trust. With an expert that someone you trust trusts. 70% of people feel better after the simple act of talking about. So start handing over your problems and I bet your bottom dollar you’ll find solutions that immediately make you feel just a little bit better.
This post was written as a part of Umpqua’s ‘Made to Grow’ campaign which is opening up the conversation about money. Break your silence. A good place to start is their Open Account podcast hosted by Umpqua Bank and SuChin Pak.