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Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Be Vulnerable About Money

Money has never been an easy topic to talk about, but there can be a powerful meaning that comes from sharing our skills and financial knowledge.

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Our conversations today are increasingly fraught with emotion. This new reality means that our relationship with work, family, our hobbies and passions, and our future as a whole is suspended in a new balance.

And yet, despite these challenges, I have never been so inspired by the outpouring of compassion and assistance to those that need it most. Women, a group that is known for resiliency and leadership, are at the helm of many of these impact-driven movements. And it is during this moment that I hope we can find new ways to learn from each other—inspiring greater vulnerability and confidence when it comes to personal finance.

For millennials, and women in particular, I hope to encourage this generation to feel not only competent but also confident when it comes to money. Pre-COVID, a report by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave found that 61 percent of women would rather “discuss their own death than delve into money matters with associates and friends.” It would not come as a surprise, then, if this statistic was further compounded by the spread of a global pandemic and its subsequent economic fallout.  

Money has never been an easy topic to talk about, but there can be a powerful meaning that comes from sharing our skills and financial knowledge. Cultivating open, vulnerable conversations about money not only supports our own goals and those of families we help lead, but it also greatly leverages our ability to impact the causes we care about.

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In an effort to grow my own understanding of how our upbringing, family dynamics, race, economic status, gender and personality affects our financial lives, I tapped some of today’s leading CEOs and thought leaders to ask them about their own experiences in my new podcast, Money Stories with LDT.

We all have a money story. During each episode, I challenged guests to shed their talking points and get open and vulnerable about money. In a world where 61 percent of women would rather talk about anything else but money, it’s critical that we give women the tools to sustain these conversations within their own networks, whether that be between friends, family or colleagues.

After speaking with a host of experts, here’s what Money Stories can teach us about normalizing vulnerable conversations about our financial well-being among women:

Start With Yourself

Farnoosh Torabi, leading personal finance expert, author, journalist, mother and podcast host herself, encourages us to remember that this is a two-way conversation. She explains: “It’s important to give before you receive in any conversation—especially ones about money.”  

After posing a question, first follow up with your own experiences and ideas. This approach offers a moment of reflection and encouragement for your discussion partner to get comfortable with the topic. 

Connect Money to Your Passions

In my conversation with Bola Sokunbi, founder of Clever Girl Finance, we spoke about how to meaningfully connect financial literacy to millennials. Many of these women are, rightfully so, focused on creating impact—whether it be in their own lives, their community, the environment or beyond.

As Sokunbi shared, we cannot create the impact we desire unless we first have access to financial resources and the understanding of how to employ these tools.

Broaden Your Network

When we talk about women’s money lives, it’s important to remember that these issues impact more than just one gender. As Amy Nelson, founder and CEO of The Riveter, shares: “When we talk about the pay gap, we talk about it as if it’s a women’s issue. But the way I look at it, it’s a household issue.”

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Don’t be afraid to open up these conversations to networks you might not have considered before, like your coworkers, male friends or children. Transparency is key to creating a roadmap for progress.

What’s your money story? How can you break the ice on conversations about money? As COVID-19 radically transforms our lived realities, there has never been a better time to practice more openness and transparency. I encourage you to tap into your own network and discuss your experiences—borrowing the insights shared each week on Money Stories with LDT. 

Linda Davis Taylor is the CEO and chairman of Clifford Swan Investment Counselors. She is the author of The Business of Family and podcast host to Money Stories with LDT.

Note: All opinions expressed by Linda Davis Taylor are solely her opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of Clifford Swan Investment Counselors. You should not treat any opinion expressed by Ms. Taylor as a specific recommendation to make a particular investment. Ms. Taylor’s opinions are based upon information she considers reliable.

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