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Talking to friends about money: Less taboo in a bad economy?

Categories: Balancing Act, Money


Talking to friends about money is always touchy. And as a rule, we don’t do it. Sure, we complain talk generally about stuff being too expensive (i.e. mortgages, vacations, camps for the kids) and vent our frustrations for not getting paid enough for working as much as we do, but there are never any specifics on income, salaries, or anything like that.

But I’ve noticed a trend of more friends revealing more about their financial situation as the economy has gotten worse. And as I thought about it, I realized that I’ve been sharing more as well. I think it’s the stress talking.

When my husband was laid off a few months ago, our level of financial stress went way up. And I mean, way way up. A few weeks later I had lunch with a friend where we actually talked about what we and our husbands make and how we’re going to make due if hers gets laid off and mine doesn’t find a new job soon. I don’t think I’d ever have this conversation normally.

It was a bit awkward but I also found it somewhat of a relief to be able to vent my stress in an honest way. And it got me wondering whether the economic tailspin we’re all living through gives us more latitude to talk about an otherwise less-discussed topic of money. After all, it’s THE topic in all the news, which in a way makes it less of a sticky one.

How do you handle friends and money — are there certain money-related topics you think are OK to discuss? Are you more open to talking to friends about finances in light of this horrible economic situation?

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2 comments so far...

  • I think talking about $ where one is giving advice someone asked for, or consoling or seeking consolation is one thing, and a good thing.

    In my experience though, it’s usually people just bragging or being intrusive. In public places like a workplace I find it offputting. In private social circles and personal blogs though, to each their own!

    Lindsay  |  April 7th, 2009 at 8:31 pm

  • I think it’s true that friends are more willing/comfortable to discuss finances right now–it’s as if we all assume we’re all suffering, so it’s okay to admit you’re stressed over it. To me it’s a big relief.

    Shannon  |  April 8th, 2009 at 1:48 pm