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Why Aren't People Engaging in Conversations About Money?

10/13/2014 05:07 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 01:01 EDT

I honestly believe that increasing our financial literacy and understanding the mechanics of money is essential. For example, how the time value of money works, how compounding interest works or the difference between a stock and a bond. Financial literacy is something that should be instilled at a young age, however for most of us -- did we have those kinds of conversations around the dinner table? There could be 1,001 reasons why, but looking backward isn't the answer; looking ahead is where we will find the answer. Today we must catch up.

It's not just about starting the conversation on financial literacy or teaching the mechanics of money, it really has to be a different approach. It's time to spark change, change that is very needed to get better informed and knowledgeable about personal finances in order to achieve better financial outcomes.

Many people have acquired an indulgent, overspending, debt burdened lifestyle with an over consuming mindset. Simply said I believe there are many people with exorbitant spending habits and large debt levels with an unhealthy disrespect for money. The problem isn't low interest rates or consumerism. Let's face it, it's time to change. People have checked out. It's time to help them check back in.

Finance, money, debt planning, retirement saving etc., there is sufficient reading material out there on these subjects and experts in the industry for advice. Yet we continue to see record debt levels, low savings rates and lifestyles being extended through borrowed money. So I ask the question: Why haven't we been more successful in increasing financial literacy and promoting better financial behaviour? We need to have a different conversation that meets people in their community and builds their trust to engage.

Over the last couple of years, it has become very clear to me that if I start a conversation about money, people don't engage. It's either something many believe is too private to talk about, or too personal to talk about for whatever the real reason, people will politely find a way to avoid the conversation, distract themselves in another activity or engage in small talk and hope I move on to another topic. Financial literacy or learning more about money makes sense, but where to start? How to start?

When I start a conversation with someone about their life, how things are going, their social life or what new project they started at work, they have a sense of freedom and talk from one topic to another. But, people will never tell me that they don't feel as though they have enough money to live well nor will they ever talk about money. Why...why is that? If we can talk about life, we certainly can talk about money.

Taking charge of our lives is non-negotiable. When we take charge of our lives, we automatically take charge of our money. The two fit hand in glove because money matters. Life and money matters.It's more than a conversation; it's a journey towards making the right choices each and every day; having the ability to change for the good; finding more happiness; and living.

Let's have the conversation everyone wants to have and not the one everyone else is trying to have. Let's talk about life first; then let's talk about your money. People will check back in.

Let's break down the barriers that are keeping people from talking and learning more about money. Let's have the conversation people want to have. It's that simple. Really!

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