I don’t normally talk about our fights (not that we have a ton of them) because like most couples, they’re private and not usually worth sharing with the whole world. But in this particular instance, Erik actually suggested that I bring the topic of our argument to the blogosphere to get some input.
Our fight was about The Twelve, but it wasn’t about what we were choosing to include or what we were going to sacrifice over the next 52 weeks. Our fight was about how I was planning to blog about it. Now, I have been blogging for a good eight years now and I’m used to putting a lot about myself on the Internet. Not everything, mind you, but a lot of things. And one thing that I never really had an issue with talking about is money.
I think talking about money is healthy and should be encouraged, because I think there are a lot of misconceptions and assumptions about how people live the way that they do. I know that I spend more time than I should judging others for what they have, where they live, what they do, etc. than I should. Because of that, I feel like if our society was more open about money, then there wouldn’t be such a stigma around it.
I think if people were more open with where they got their money and how they spent it, it would be easier to learn the lessons about financial pitfalls and successes. If more people could see how those who are successful with money did it, then maybe we could all be a little more successful. I suppose you don’t need hard and fast numbers, but sometimes I think it would be a little easier and straightforward than the vague financial advice that you often seen on personal finance blogs.
When I came up with the idea for The Twelve, I was under the impression that I was going to blog about everything. And I mean everything. Maybe not an itemized list of everything we spent in every category, but at least some solid numbers about what we were bringing and what we were spending. I wanted the accountability that comes with being totally and completely honest about life because I felt it could only help us stay focused on what we were doing.
Erik was not okay with this.
Toward the end of our fight, I had to admit that indeed I hadn’t seen very many people talk about their financial life with any hard numbers. I also conceded that it probably wasn’t necessary for us to completely bare our financial souls to the world to prove whether or not The Twelve project was actually working. Instead, I may talk occasionally about a particular area, perhaps how much we spend on groceries or on fitness. But it would be more about our habits and our impressions about our new life, rather than the numerical specifics.
To be honest, I don’t understand why people don’t want to talk about specifics. A few weeks ago, I asked my supervisor at Pier 1 how much a Sales Lead makes, which basically meant I was asking how much he made. He wouldn’t tell me. I asked him why he wouldn’t tell me and he said he just didn’t like to talk about those things. That’s basically the same answer Erik gave me about why he didn’t want me to list specific numbers about our income. He wasn’t comfortable with sharing our income and spending habits with strangers, it wasn’t how he was raised, and he didn’t think it was okay. I asked why, but he couldn’t explain it.
So my question to you all is how comfortable are you with talking about money with people? Is talking about your salary or how you spend your money something you’re okay doing? Do you keep it private? And why? I suppose that’s my real question: What do you believe and why?