7 Taboo Topics Americans Put Before Money – The 401(k) Specialist

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Here are just a few of the cringe-worthy subjects people would rather discuss than money (seriously):

Bad marriages, mental illness, drug addiction, race, sex, politics and religion—pretty much any potentially explosive topic to avoid mentioning household earnings, retirement savings, debt and inheritances.

It’s all part of a new survey from Capital Group.

The disconnect, of course, is that each of the latter must be addressed, and preferably with a financial professional.

“Most Americans agree that talking about their finances is a social taboo. It’s time to break that habit and inspire new, productive conversations about money, saving and investing,” Heather Lord, the firm’s senior vice president and head of strategy and innovation, said in a statement. “Small changes in how people talk about their finances can yield significant returns over time. Confronting the money taboo head-on is one way to create a more financially secure future for one’s self.”

When asked about topics that are too taboo to discuss with friends, respondents overwhelmingly indicated it was those connected to money:

  • household earnings (39 percent),
  • retirement savings (38 percent),
  • debt (32 percent), and
  • inheritance (25 percent).

Politics, drug use and racial issues were considered significantly less taboo.

Many respondents said finances were none of other people’s business, while others cited awkwardness and concern about creating ill feelings among friends.

Male and female respondents provided almost identical responses when asked about personal matters that might be considered taboo, such as marital problems, religion, politics, sexual orientation and family disagreements.

However, when it came to financial topics like household earnings, retirement savings and debt, more women consider them a social taboo than men.

About one-third of those surveyed—including 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women—indicated they had discussed financial topics with friends and peers in the last six months.

The survey found that those who are most willing to talk about money are either very confident (perhaps too confident) about their finances or very insecure.

The survey found that when faced with a major financial decision or event, people discuss it with their spouse or a financial advisor. Women are more likely to turn to their spouse than men, and women are also more likely to speak with a financial advisor than men.

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