Financial Literacy

Resolve to Break the Money Taboo Cycle in Your Home

I Resolve to Break the Money Taboo Cycle in my Home | www.TheHeavyPurse.comIt continues to sadden me to see how money remains a taboo topic in many homes. Even worse, so few people realize the high price of keeping money secrets. January is the month most people set goals, which frequently have some sort of financial component to them, whether it’s getting out of debt or saving money for the things you want. Those are excellent goals and give you a chance to break the wall of silence around money in your home.

The Price of Money Secrets

Sometimes we keep money secrets with the best intentions, believing we are protecting our families with our silence, but more often than not, secrets do more harm than good. They create distrust, teach kids it is okay to keep money secrets or lie and prevent goal achievement.

According to American Institute of CPAs, 46% of us who set financial goals will fail. Ouch. While there are other contributing factors, money secrets certainly affect your ability to achieve goals. This is not the good kind of secret, but the kind that weighs you down and fills you with doubt or guilt. Being able to confide in someone or seeking help can make the difference between goal success and goal failure.

Money Secrets #Infographic |

How To Break the Money Taboo Cycle

Let’s make 2015 the year money becomes an approved topic in our homes. Here are 5 steps to help you break the cycle.

How Do You Want to Feel and Think about Money?

Chris and I are committed to talking to our daughters about money but before we started, we thought about what we wanted to teach them first. Before beginning the conversations, identify what your money beliefs are and whether you want your kids to mimic them. Respectfully, you may uncover that your money beliefs need an overhaul too.

Use Goals to Ease into Money Conversations

Goals are one of the easiest ways to start money conversations in your family, either with your spouse or children. It excites us to think about possibilities, so use their enthusiasm to make positive money changes. Setting goals as a family has really helped the girls understand why we make the choices we do.

Learn about Money Together

As a parent, I sometimes feel as though I need to have all the answers, and I don’t. It can be humbling and even a little scary. You may not feel very knowledgeable about money now, but that shouldn’t stop you from talking about it. Just share what you do and do not know. Your kids will appreciate your honesty and learning together can actually be a great family bonding moment too.

Don’t Be Afraid of Sharing Money Mistakes

Remember, we want to stop keeping money secrets, which includes mistakes. Your home should be a safe place where mistakes can be shared as lessons, not for judgement. We all make money mistakes and burying them doesn’t prevent them from happening again. In fact, hiding them is what often leads to bigger mistakes.

Have Fun Breaking the Taboo Cycle

Money conversations don’t need to be lectures. They can and should be fun. Look for teachable moments to help your kids learn how to make good decisions with their money. And seek to understand when you find yourself having philosophical differences on how to use family money with your spouse.

Commit to Talking about Money in Your Home

One resolution I hope everyone makes this year is to talk about money within your home. It’s not hard or scary, I promise. My guess is that you will wonder why you waited so long once you start having amazing and open conversations around money with your family. So I encourage you to start today.

How are you breaking the money taboo cycle with your kids or spouse? What helped you start the conversation?


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January 14, 2015  •  19 Comments  •  Financial Literacy

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  1. Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
    My hubby and I have always been good about communicating with each other about money, I think in part because, as you suggest, we have common financial goals that we are working toward. Our daughter is still too young to have these conversations with (she's just six months), but we definitely do plan to talk with her about money and help her feel empowered in this area. It is also really important to us that she not grow up with an entitlement mindset, and I think having conversations like that about our family goals will be helpful in that regard too.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
      I'm so glad you and your husband have such good communication around money. It's unfortunate but that is more of a rarity than the norm. And working towards common goals makes it easy too. I know you and your husband will talk to your daughter about money as she grows older and help her avoid developing an entitlement mindset. Having her help you work towards family goals will be a great way to start.
  2. Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
    No secrets in our house! We are both an open book and I plan to keep it that way.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
      Excellent, Holly! We're the same way and I'm glad that girls are being raised to see that as our your girls.
  3. Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
    Good post Shannon! We're breaking it by not having any secrets - I saw that growing up as a kid and it only added to the financial mess my parents were in. We try and make it fun for the kids and involve them in goal setting while also sharing our own mistakes, as appropriate, so they don't feel like you hav to be perfect.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
      Money secrets really do make things worse and I'm glad you're talking to your kids about money. And it's so important that kids understand that mistakes do happen but they can overcome their mistakes and still thrive afterwards.
  4. Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
    LOVE this, Shannon! One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a family is not talking about money. I think this post perfectly explains the importance of making money a positive, regular discussion.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
      Thanks, Natalie! I agree - money should not be a taboo topic in our homes. Our girls value the conversations and I absolutely love watching them make mindful choices with how they use their money and their excitement to set and achieve their goals.
  5. Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
    This is a great infographic!! It's amazing to me how many couples I meet who are more comfortable talking about just about everything else except money, especially since money is the foundation of their relationship. I think people are always scared to share financial information because they will feel judged.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
      It's is so strange how we have such a hang-up talking about money with our loved ones. I do agree that people worry about being judged, so they feel it's safer to not to discuss it. And couples worry that it will lead to an argument, so they avoid talking about it, but that only makes it worse too.
  6. Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
    ha 38% have a budget in their head. C'mon!! Who in this world can actually really do that effectively? Unless you have some photographic memory or something. I think relying on that is a sure way to always go over budget, but you know when I ask my friends, that is their response on how they keep a budget. And it's funny overall that with reality tv and whatnot splashing all these dirty little secrets and frank sexual discussion on TV, we STILL have trouble talking about money. :)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
      I chuckled when I saw that statistic too. But I know many people who insist that they follow a budget in their head too. Of course, when I convince them to actually track their spending, they are surprised by how much more money they spent. I have no idea how many became such a taboo topic. It is strange that we would rather have the "sex talk" with kids than than the "money talk". Both are important!
  7. Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
    Hi Shannon,

    I love this infographic! I think we are well on our way to breaking the cycling in our home. My kids are young adults now and soon they'll be off on their own. Now more than ever I'm talking to them about making good decisions with their money as well as sharing our money mistakes so they won't repeat it.

    Thanks for sharing these tips with us. I used to think talking about money had to be serious but you're right it doesn't have to be a lecture. I guess I felt that way because that's how it was with me.

    Thanks again for sharing! Hope you're having a great week!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
      I'm so glad that you've been talking to your kids about money and preparing them to make good decisions on their own as they get ready to leave home. For most people, the rare money conversation they did have with their parents was a lecture and it definitely does not need to be that way. In fact, it's much better if it's not. Have a great week too!
  8. Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
    That's intense that 28% of people feel they have no one to consult on finances. Then again, it really is a taboo topic (as you mentioned) so I'm sure it's hard to find someone you trust enough to share finances with.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, January 15th, 2015
      It is high statistic and I think you hit the nail in the head - people aren't comfortable talking about their finances so they suffer alone versus talking to someone whether a friend or a professional. It's sad because there is plenty of resources and help available.
  9. Thursday, January 15th, 2015
    Fortunately my wife and I are on the same page when it comes to finances. But even though we have a similar mindset, we do need to do a better job and make a bigger effort to communicate about goals and plans. We also need to do a better job with setting more specific goals and to create a more formal budget as well as track our expenses to determine how we can get to those goals. While we're both pretty frugal and we do invest/save...not having a more precise plan makes achieving our abstract goals tougher.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, January 15th, 2015
      I definitely encourage you and your wife to create a more formal plan and budget as it will definitely help make it easier to achieve goals. It sounds like you and your wife are on the same page overall so it shouldn't be hard for the two of you to do. :)
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    "As a Certified Financial Planner, it is my passion to help individuals and families build a healthy relationship with money. I look forward to helping you raise financially confident kids.” - Shannon Ryan