Kyle and I have had a great time this week visiting friends and family in his childhood home of the greater Los Angeles area. I have particularly been surprised by the candid conversations we’ve been able to have about personal finance. My interest in this subject area has grown with the age of this blog and I enjoy hearing about the view of money from people in my who are not personal finance professionals or enthusiasts.
Some of the subjects I have discussed over the past week have been:
- annuities within retirement accounts
- financing cars at low interest rates
- Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University
- living within one’s means (or not)
- how to negotiate compensation at a new job
- money lessons parents taught or failed to teach
- the marriage penalty
- roommates who won’t make rent
- outsourcing household labor
- separate finances within marriage
- foreign transaction fees
- psychology vs. numbers in generating wealth long-term
- the power of compound interest
- teaching PF in schools
- how financial product salespeople act in their own best interests, not yours
- and of course THE FISCAL CLIFF (dun dun dunnnn)
I’ve actually had very positive responses to bringing up PF-related topics over the past few months. Far from the expected awkward clam-up, the people I’ve spoken to tend to open up and talk very openly without much questioning from me. I do try to ask gently probing questions to start or continue the conversation (“Why did you choose to do things that way?” “What do you think about this vs. that?”) and people seem very responsive. I’m not sure if it’s something about my approach (or that most of the people know that we are very open on EPF about all these subjects) or just that the general stigma around talking about money is dropping away, particularly for young professionals. I also stay away from lecturing or expressing my opinion in a “you’re so wrong” way – not that I often feel that inclination because I recognize that my values aren’t the same as everyone else’s! Generally people ask for my opinion at some point so I give it when I feel it would be received, and certainly I keep my mouth shut if I don’t have much knowledge in the specific subject under discussion.
I love talking about money because how you handle it and think about it really exposes a lot about your personality and values!
Have you talked about PF-related topics this holiday season? Has anyone asked for your opinion? Do you like to encourage conversations about money?