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That Makes Cents: Why Do People Avoid Talking About Money?

Spencer Israel

In Episode 1 of That Makes Cents, an eMoney Advisor podcast powered by Benzinga, Benzinga’s Spencer Israel speaks with eMoney CEO Ed O’Brien and Pamela Capalad of Brunch & Budget, as they discuss the recent results of a survey that found more than half of Americans avoid discussing their personal finances

Breaking News: Talking about money is very difficult.

Ok, so maybe that isn’t breaking news. Personal finance is extremely personal. But what may be surprising is the different ways in which people rely on others to help them with their finances.

According to a recent survey from eMoney, 37% rely on parents or family members the most for advice, while 30% lean on their spouse. Overall, 63% have never consulted a financial advisor, and of those who did, 30% admit to hiding information about their spending habits.

This insecurity was the subject of the inaugural episode of That Makes Cents, a new podcast series from eMoney.

“I was surprised by how most people feel negative about money,” eMoney CEO Ed O’Brien said. “I intuitively know that it’s an uncomfortable topic, but I was surprised how nearly half expressed negative feelings, stress, embarrassment, confusion. That’s a pretty high number.”

Pamela Capalad, a certified financial planner who started Brunch & Budget to help make the conversation around money a little easier, thinks a lot of this anxiety stems from two familiar emotions: shame and guilt.

“We have made the money conversation something that we think we should feel stressed about and that we should feel embarrassed about,” she said. “There are so many shoulds in finance, and so many ‘You shouldn’t do this, you should do that.’ ‘Only spend on your needs, never spend on your wants.’ And so when people do that there’s this immediate feeling of shame and guilt despite the fact that they did enjoy spending money on the thing they spent money on.”

Among other topics discussed in the episode:

  • What areas within personal finance are the hardest to talk about, and why that’s the case
  • The shortcomings of some common financial advice
  • Why “spend shaming” is counterproductive
  • How spending is a proxy for exerting control in life
  • How technology can help financial advisors talk to their clients

Listen to the full episode of That Makes Cents below.

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