Tuesday, 20 September 2011

I don't wanna talk about it...

“It’s the one topic we can’t bring ourselves to talk about” I heard Jenny say on Woman’s Hour last week. She was talking about incontinence. I won’t say more here – this isn’t weeconomics – but it reminded me of that other big taboo: money.
Did someone mention the M word?

Women aren’t as comfortable talking about their earnings as men, according to new research from the Money Advice Service. But neither sex is too fond of shouting their salary from the roof-tops. Just 5% of women and 10% of men would tell a stranger how much they earn.

We have our hush-hush places too – one in four of us feel it’s wrong to discuss money at the hairdressers (where we'll share every other intimate detail of our personal life), others wouldn’t bring it up at a party or down the pub with friends (28%).

As I've said in earlier posts, it really is time we tackled this taboo. Why? Because money secrets wreck marriages and make people downright miserable. And money problems and mental health problems seem to go hand-in-hand.  According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists:
 - One in two people with debts has a mental health problem.
 - One in four adults with mental health problems is in debt.
And being in a financial mess can make you feel:

  • As if everything is out of control and there's nothing you, or anyone else, can do about it.
  • Hopeless, especially if you have debts that are growing.
  • Embarrassed to talk to anyone about your financial situation.
  • Guilty - that the problem is your fault, even if it's due to mental or physical health problems.
  • Anxious and depressed.

Talking about money problems is the first step to sorting them out. Our friends over at the Money Advice Service are running a Money Chat campaign. They want to break down the big taboo and get people talking more about money*.

They even have this fab Money chat map so you can view the regional figures

So, if you have been keeping mum about money, maybe we can help you open up?
Check out the downloads section of our Sheconomics website for useful tip sheets.
Tip sheet no 5 is about How to Talk to Your Partner about Money and Tip sheet no 6 is How to own up to a Money Problem.
Plus in Sheconomics we devote a whole chapter (Share Financial Intimacies) to tackling the great taboo. The money taboo that is. Sorry - we can’t help with incontinence, although you may be able to catch the programme again.

*The Money Advice Service has Money Advisers available on the phone or face-to-face. To help get the conversation started, there’s a personal action plan produced by their free online health check, which identifies a list of short and long-term money priorities. Available online at moneyadviceservice.org.uk and on the phone via 0300 500 5000

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