My husband doesn’t know how much I weigh.
At least, he lets me think he doesn’t know how much I weigh. I’m pretty sure he knows that at 6 feet tall and a size 12/14 I don’t weigh a buck twenty. I’m shy about the number. I’ve always been a large person and it’s not something I like to discuss.
While I’ve got a problem with weight numbers, as you can see from the ticker on the right and all of these posts (not to mention this article in the Globe and Mail and our interview on Pinched), I don’t have a problem discussing our debt number. It wasn’t always like this.
The more I discuss my debt the more I notice how others navigate around theirs. One moment a friend is lamenting about a line of credit or student loans and the next they are boasting about the magnitude of their family’s household income. From casual conversations it’s difficult to tell if people are barely making rent or have a cool million socked away for retirement. I’d say this was my MO about financial discussions until we decided to get real with our debt and commit to paying it off. I didn’t want people to think we were having trouble paying our bills, because we weren’t, but my student loans looked like they would never be paid off and every time we paid off a credit card we seemed to run it back up within the year. *It felt so good to have my student loan statements arrive for tax season and have all of them listed as paid off. I almost posted them on the fridge so I could enjoy them for a bit.
A few of my friends have always been fairly transparent about their finances. Even if they had trust funds or were at some point in debt, while they didn’t wear t-shirts with their net worth on them, they’ve always been honest about how their finances were going. When I think about what these friends have in common it’s that they grew up with parents that were financially savvy and money was discussed openly.
Finances, and especially debt, are taboo subjects for most people. We attach a lot of self-worth to the dollar signs. Having a lot of money means we’re in control and “good” people. Being in debt or struggling with income means we’re “bad” or underachieving.
Why is it easier for me to discuss our debt now? I incorporated. Now that I’ve opened up on this blog about our finances, and subsequently to friends and family, I no longer feel like the number owns me. I don’t attach my self-worth to my debt, my investment account or the value of my home. It’s just a number. I’m not a number, I’m a person.
Obviously I need to take this personal growth in the area of finance and apply it to my weight. Baby steps.
Do you discuss your finances openly or shy away from the topic?
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