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Are Your Conversations About Money Making You Unhappy?

By Elizabeth Dunkel December 16, 2023 Lifestyle

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

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. Actually, 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. Or 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 and 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! So far, you have made it with what you’ve had. You are a survivor.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

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!

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This is wonderful. I’m going to give it a go. Really it’s all about feeling abundant, and I really do. Money has become just a topic and always insinuates it’s way into my conversation!!! I’m now aware. Thanks to this article. 👍

Ann Mary

I absolutely agree with this excellent article and the comments below. I could say I’m struggling but I don’t. I love my life and am truly happy. I know millionaires who obsessively seek bargains and complain about not having enough money. Seriously?! This article also reminded me of how I finally decided to stop talking about, and wanting to, lose weight. Good grief, it’s been a topic among friends since I was a teenager. Enough is enough! And guess what? I’m happier, healthy and doing just fine. We are what we talk about. Love this article!


As financial advice goes “Spend down” in retirement and when your money is gone, not to worry, our Democratic government will take care of you! Enjoy life and don’t worry, things always work out.

Lana Muir

Talking about money is considered gauche, which means “un-sophisticated”. I meet people all of the time who talk about subjects they know little knowledge of, or they like to brag and are as boring as dirt. When anyone compares themselves to others, it is usually a sign of insecurity, envy and jealousy.


I honestly think 2 subjects that shouldn’t come up in conversation are money and religion.

I know some people who are very wealthy but make out they’re quite poor, on the other hand I know someone who thinks it’s great to brag by saying “money is no object for us”. Another bought a house set in land over 30 years ago, intending to demolish it and rebuild. He then decided he didn’t want to spend the money despite being a multimillionaire and is still living in the house which is now falling apart. He picks up used furniture left out for collection and looks for the cheapest holiday options, I guess that’s maybe why he’s rich.

I’m actually quite glad to have struggled financially at certain periods in my life. It’s made me who I am and I don’t take things for granted. I’m not looking at a great retirement financially but I know I have the skills and common sense to get by.

The Author

Elizabeth Dunkel is a writer and novelist who recently moved back to the U.S. after living in Merida, Mexico for 25 years. Elizabeth is the proud founder of the Merida English Library. As a Cambridge CELTA certified teacher of ESL, she considers herself not just a teacher but a dream maker. “Teaching English empowers people to reach their dreams.”

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