Most people avoid talking about money. Some of us change the topic when it comes up to prevent any awkwardness, while others deem it so impolite they might have it out with you for bringing it up.
A Turbo #RealMoneyTalk survey showed that 51% of respondents do not talk about their finances with either their friends or family, with 43% saying they didn’t feel comfortable talking about money or financial status with their friends. In comparison, 27% were not comfortable talking about their finances with family at all.
Money is, in many ways, intangible. It is intricately involved in our relationship, our conversations and, of course, our businesses. It is a man-made construct created to trade and create a ‘tangible’ value on goods and services.
But it’s more than that. It is part of our identity, our way to create connections and assimilate into society. Money is an identifier we use consciously and otherwise to judge intelligence, beauty, success and trustworthiness.
So why don’t we talk about it?
Rather than discuss all the reasons we as individuals do not talk about money, we should rather dive into the root issue and look at how money reflects our place in society. It shapes our decision making and in turn the way we speak about it.
The truth is that we are not actually scared of money itself, we are just all raised with certain views on how it may impact our perceived (or real) role in the social hierarchy. To illustrate, let’s look at the dynamics between millennials and baby boomers. Two wildly different upbringings which included different social environments, political norms and relationships with money.
Baby boomers were generally raised on the premise of security – acquiring anything that would offer you and your family security, which for most people meant houses. Homes were bought and families stayed in the same city or town until they retired (something they invested in for this exact reason).
In contrast, millennials grew up with less job security, more technology and globalisation. Buying homes and staying in one place your whole life is simply unattainable and therefore not the norm. This affects their relationship with money and reflects a completely different decision-making process.
These different decision-making processes and its reflection on our place in modern society creates a miscommunication – between generations, between companies and customers – because we don’t keep our differences (when it comes to relationships with money) in mind. We’re simply not aware.
How to talk about money?
Introducing the topic with family and friends is one thing but talking about money online or to the media can be tricky to navigate – especially if you’re aiming to make an impact and want people to listen.
In short, if you’re going to talk about money online or to a journalist, you need to add value. You cannot simply start talking about numbers and problems without putting them into context. In the context of money, no one expects you to provide financial advice – and quite frankly, nobody wants you to but you should be offering insight into what money means and touch upon the underlying issues, stories and developments surrounding it.
In other words, you need to understand. You need to understand your audience’s wishes, needs and struggles. Once you understand this, then you can start educating your audience.
For some, that means educating your audience on specific topics and niches; for others, that means broader industry commentary. For example, popular topics in the media dissect new forms of money, such as cryptocurrencies or NFTs.
It is also important to remember that sometimes your audience is not your target audience, it’s the media itself who needs to move the conversation forward with your help. Your job is to remove the mystery and add value.
So how can you talk about money and make it matter?
- What is your why:
Why are you talking about this? Why is it necessary, and why is it relevant for your audience to know about this? First, you have to qualify why you are speaking about it. By identifying why you are talking about this topic, your audience and the media will have a clear picture of what you intend to offer them.
- Start a LinkedIn blog series:
Write a weekly or monthly blog on what your views are and offer insight into a specific area. Sharing this with your LinkedIn audience can create valuable interactions that will move the conversation forward. An excellent example of this is the recent opinion piece written by Yorick Naeff, who wrote about the role of finfluencers and why we should not dismiss them.
- Write opinion pieces and send them to journalists:
Scan news channels or social media and write opinions on what you see (if relevant) and send them to journalists. Of course, you will need to find the right journalist and create a newsworthy story and to do this; you need the right tools. Sign up for the free 30-day challenge, where you will get tangible steps to getting your stories published in the media.
- Make it real
Create tangibility when you offer your opinion. What can your audience do after reading this? What is the call to action? Who are you appealing to? You have to make the discussion one that encourages action.