Are Your Conversations About Money Making You Unhappy?
Lately I have become acutely sensitive to the amount of time we spend talking about money in our everyday life.
“I love your sweater.”
“Oh thank you. I got it on sale for $19, can you believe it? It cost $149.00 originally.”
“Well, this skirt I’m wearing was $5 at the Labor Day sale.”
And they’re off!
How many times a day do you say, “I can’t afford it.”
How often have you asked someone, or wondered, “Are you taking social security at 65 or 70?”
Or said to a friend, “I wonder how they can afford to take so many cruises…”
Money Talk Slips in Everywhere. It is Insidious
Look at how many articles on Sixty and Me focus on retirement finances, money issues, fear of running out of money, how to earn money when you’re over 60, how to live more cheaply.
My millionaire series of articles, which began with How to Feel Like A Millionaire, is about adopting the attitude of abundance and generosity, of finding pleasures in your life that are not related to monetary expenditures or outcomes. Living a quality lifestyle doesn’t require a fortune. Good taste, attitude and joy are priceless.
So, I tried something last month. I modeled the behavior of a very wealthy friend of mine who has beautiful values. I decided to banish the topic of money from my daily conversation.
It was a revelation. I felt so relaxed, so free. I felt great peace because I wasn’t constantly measuring myself or my finances. I “just” lived, enjoyed, shared, created, thought, participated. I felt rich in all ways. It was a priceless feeling.
So here are my thoughts about not talking about money.
Talking About Money Only Makes You Feel Better or Worse.
Talking about money doesn’t make you any richer or poorer, rather, it makes you feel better or worse. So why even go there?
We’ve been talking about money all our lives. Comparing how much you’re earning and saving to someone else. Taxes, healthcare, college education, retirement savings. Now that we’re retired we’re talking about how long our money will last, how much is our social security check, where to get the cheapest airfare, what states have the lowest tax rate.
My attitude is: It is what it is. You have what you have and it will have to do. Or, you will have to figure out a way to get more. But either way, why have it become the prime topic in our daily conversations?
There Will Always Be People Who Have More Money Than I
There will always be people who have more money than I and people who have less money than I do. We always want to see “how we’re doing,” where we fall on the continuum.
Talking about money brings nothing to the conversation. It elevates no one in any way. You either feel richer or smarter, or stupider or poorer and nothing has changed as a result of the conversation.
There Are More Interesting Things to Talk About Than Money
Like… the soul, art, culture, music, a book, current events, family problems. Money is finite but your soul is limitless, your heart is expandable, your mind can travel galaxies. Feel rich and talk about politics, ecology, global warming, human trafficking, sexual assault, education, theatre, film, poetry. Feel rich with culture. Feel rich with involvement. Feel rich with pleasure.
There Is a Time to Talk About Money
And that’s when you sit down with your banker or financial advisor, spouse, partner or close friend. That’s money talk time. A dedicated financial, business conversation.
Even Millionaires Worry about Money
Yes, even they feel they don’t have enough, worry about becoming a bag lady. They like bargains and saving money just like everyone else. You are never immune from worrying about money.
Not Talking About Money Makes You Feel Peaceful
Try it and see!
You Have Survived This Long, So Far
You’ve made it through the hardest years of your life. Isn’t it time to stop the struggle? You have what you have and, guess what, it will be enough! You have always made it. You are a survivor.
I’m anticipating some backlash about this article, because people who don’t have as much as they’d like, or need, are obsessed with how they’re going to make it. Please do share your experiences about NOT talking about money. What are your favorite “replacement” topics of conversation? Give them a try!
Elizabeth Dunkel is a writer and novelist who has lived in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico for 25 years. She is the Creative Director of Camp Liza www.campliza.com, a personal blog about stylish and creative living. “A thoughtful life is a luxe life.” Elizabeth is the proud founder of the Merida English Library. She discovered a second career as a CELTA certified teacher of ESL and is Merida’s first, only and best college coach www.superenglishmerida.com.