One of the things that I most enjoy about TFD is getting to come face-to-face with all of my most embarrassing/shameful thoughts/moments/issues with money. There is something extremely liberating about being able to talk openly about past mistakes, current struggles, financial insecurity and all of the emotional turmoil that goes with it. For so long, money felt like something that owned me — I didn’t have it, and I desperately wanted it, but was too focused on the superficial signifiers of wealth to actually build something — and now, the opposite feels true. I am in control of money, no matter how much or little I might have at a given moment, because I do not think that money means anything about me as a person, and saying “I can’t go to dinner this weekend” is not a character flaw.
The more I’ve talked about the shame around money, and listen to other people break down their former sources of serious financial embarrassment, the more free I feel. I still have friends and acquaintances who are very guarded and personal about money, who feel that the insecurities they might have, or debt-to-income ratio they live with, are things they need to squirrel away, lest everyone in their social group point and laugh. They feel alone, and are apt to agree to any number of social engagements they can’t afford, because saying no to something is the ultimate failure in their eyes. For many of these people, it’s better to go into debt than admit that you need a budget.
My goal with TFD has always been to make money as open, fluid, and unpretentious a conversation as possible. We all fall somewhere on a huge web of privileges and obstacles, we have secrets about money and things we wish weren’t true — as well as serious advantages that might make us feel guilty, or undeserving. Embarrassment shouldn’t be one of the biggest money emotions, and yet most of us have at least a few financial realities we avoid talking about at all costs. To that end, I did a video this past week where I answered several embarrassing money questions. (Lauren will be doing hers soon.) They are simple questions and answers to hopefully a) make you laugh a bit, and b) further illustrate that we are all figuring things out actively, and that no one is on the other end of some invisible line marked “Good With Money.”
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