Would You Rather Talk About Your Wallet Or Your Weight?

There are certain topics that make us uncomfortable. Weight and money are two of those subjects.

So, when it comes down to it, would you rather tell people your real weight? Or discuss your income?

According to the latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index survey, most Americans would rather talk about their weight.

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An Aversion to Talking about Income

The survey points out that 68% and 58% of women would rather talk about their weight than their wallets. Even though men are clearly more comfortable talking about their weight than women are, women still really don’t want to talk about their incomes.

But why do we have this aversion for talking about money? Well, it’s not considered polite. A lot of that has to do with the way that we often accord status to those who make more money. The more you have, the more likely you are to command respect.

I’m often reluctant to talk about my income because I live in an area where I make more than 80% of the people around me. It makes me uncomfortable to talk about money. Others are uncomfortable because they don’t want to reveal how little they feel they make.

In either case, for some people there’s an aversion to talk about income, and when the subject comes up, many people are likely to lie. I tell my family and others that we “make enough” or that “we’re doing fine.” I hedge and move on. Others, though, lie about their income. I know someone who makes a very nice income, and he tells others that he makes less than he does. He doesn’t want others to realize his net worth, much less his income.

Others, though, lie to make it appear as though they make more money than they do. The COUNTRY Financial survey points out that 10% of people have bought things they can’t afford in order to look as though they are more affluent. If money = power/importance/influence, than we all want to appear as though we’re “keeping up” — even if in some cases all it means is that we’re keeping up with debt.

Should We Be More Open with Our Finances?

One of the things that shocked me about my husband when we married was how open he was about our money situation. We had debt, and we didn’t make very much, and he talked about it. It’s true that I’ve been more open about my past finances now that they’re in my past, but the talk about financial specifics still makes me uncomfortable. I just didn’t grow up with those types of discussions, and I grew up thinking it rude to ask others about their money.

But maybe we need to be more open with our finances. If you knew that your neighbor’s awesome new car came at the cost of a huge amount of debt and the sacrifice of a vacation for the next three years, would you still be envious? Too often, we just assume that we’re “behind” when we see what others have. But what if we’re not.

What do you think? Are you uncomfortable talking about money? Why?

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Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger. She writes for a number of personal finance blogs, including Planting Money Seeds. She has a M.A. in journalism, and is the author of Confessions of a Professional Blogger. Miranda lives Utah, where she enjoys spending her free time reading, traveling and playing with her son and husband.

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Comments

  1. says

    I will happily discuss my wallet or my weight! I probably won’t divulge specific numbers, but I can openly talk about either. There are other items which I may consider more personal, but I am very secure in these two.

  2. says

    I guess a relationship conflict may develop when we divulge our financial status. Some people in desperate financial need may have a tendency to expect after knowing that you are in a better financial situation.

  3. says

    Well, I am one of the people who are not really comfortable talking about finances, much more ask people about it. For me, that is something too personal to even discuss unless that person is so close to you.

  4. says

    I truly enjoy talking about money – and blogging about it! That said, I’m not into sharing exact details about income or savings. However, I’ll be much more willing to discuss weight.

  5. Martha says

    I somehow resemble Mike in this respect as I dont really like talking about money, be it savings, income or investvents. However, I can easily discuss weight.

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