Talking About Money With Friends

I made a trip to California to attend two weddings, and I’ve been able to catch up with a bunch of old friends who I haven’t seen in a long time.

When they ask me what I’ve been up to, I mention The Billfold, and the ones who’ve read the site instantly start talking to me about their financial situations, and the ones who haven’t read the site also instantly start talking to me about their financial situations. It’s interesting to me because I forgot that there was a time when we were all really cagey about our finances, and I think it’s really great that people I’ve known for so long are now having real conversations about it. 

I learned last night, for example, that a college friend inherited a nice amount of money a few years ago, but hasn’t really done anything with it except put a portion of it into a business that didn’t work out. He has a sizable amount of money in savings account, but he wasn’t sure what the interest rate on the account was—a small detail that could make a big difference given all the different things he could do with the money.

Another friend asked me about where I lived in New York, and asked, “Do you mind telling me how much you pay in rent?” It was funny to me not because I didn’t mind, but because there really is no harm in telling each other how much we pay in rent—especially in New York where you can pretty much guess how much a person pays in rent based on the neighborhood he or she lives in (which reminds me that I need to do a rental history for you guys).

I see these friends maybe once or twice a year, and we’ve decided to talk more about money every time we get together. Because another thing I’ve learned last night from my friends is that the ones who are good with money aren’t really sharing the information they’ve picked up on how to get it together with the ones who are just getting by. And there’s really no good reason that that’s how it should be.

I’m curious to know if The Billfold has caused you to discuss money more openly with your friends, and if we are actually starting to break this last taboo.

Photo: Flickr/Los Gatos



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