There are plenty of things women are taught not to talk about: our periods, our masturbation habits, our sex number — and the list goes on. But while body stuff indeed ranks pretty high on that list, women talking about money is also considered a general no-no.
According to a not-so-surprising 2014 Fidelity Investments survey of 1,542 women between the ages of 18 and 69+, a majority do not feel comfortable discussing cold hard cash — even with their closest confidantes. Eight out of 10 women revealed that money talk doesn't happen within their inner circle, and yet 92 percent admitted that they would like to learn more about financial planning.
A growing body of research also suggests that women just don't ask for raises as much as men do, either. A survey of graduate students found that female students were more likely to accept their first salary offer, while male students were eight times more likely to negotiate for a higher starting salary.
Whether the reason for all of this is because money is still viewed as a man's game or because we don't want to ruffle any feathers doesn't matter: if women want to make more money and be financially independent, we gotta open up and say $.
Here are five reasons women should talk about money more:
1You'll Start To Demystify Money Talk
Remember that SATC episode where Carrie finds out all of her friends have some degree of financial planning in place but her? Do you think it would have turned out that way if she had maybe, you know, brought up the subject of money once in a while at one of the gang's lavish brunches? According to Julie Prince, a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management, even the simple act of bringing money into a conversation with friends can have an impact. She told Forbes that the first step to demystifying money is getting comfortable talking about it with your besties.
2You'll Find Out How Your Salary Measures Up
Another thing that happens when you start talking about money is finding out how much other people make. The first time I ever thought to ask for a raise was prompted by a conversation with a co-worker where I discovered she worked part-time and made more than I did — at a much lower level job. Income disparity is very real, and the only way to find out how you measure up is by being open to an honest discussion.
3You Get Financial Pointers
Advice doesn't come your way unless you summon it, and sometimes the best tips about financial health come in casual conversation. Just last week I learned about a young women's financial meet up event in my city while I was out drinking with friends, and I also learned that I can write off a lot more on my taxes than I thought from a fellow freelancer. Sharing the wealth is often as simple as sharing information.
5You Feel Empowered
Knowledge is power, and when that knowledge helps you become more independent, it translates to empowerment.
Being in the dark about your finances never helped anyone, and if you're already the feminist type down to break the taboo which says women can't talk about sex, why not keep going and break through the old money taboo, too?