Here’s a question for you. It’s more of a thought experiment – I’m not actually suggesting that you go out and do this.
Would you be comfortable showing your best friend your entire financial picture?
Or, what about your spouse? What about your parents?
Some of you will honestly answer this question with a resounding “Sure!” To those of you, I say congratulations. Your finances are in a situation that you’re happy with and that you’re proud enough of that you’re willing to let the sunshine in.
Now, what if you’re not comfortable revealing such information? Regardless of the reason, I think there’s almost always something valuable to find by digging into this question.
I’ll start off talking about my own situation. I’m comfortable revealing all of my financial picture to my spouse, and most of my financial picture to my parents and my closest friends.
What am I not willing to show? I’m mostly uncomfortable revealing my total income and a few specific elements of my spending. In terms of the salary, it’s mostly an issue of not wanting to create a sense of “this person makes more than me” or “this person makes less than me.” I don’t want to create a social conflict.
As for the spending, there are a few elements that I’m just not comfortable sharing. Why? Honestly, I’m not sure. It’s something that has certainly intrigued me over the past few days. I do know that there’s some element of that spending that I must be ashamed of or unwilling to share for some reason. Is it because, on some level, I recognize that it’s not a good way to spend my money?
I think there’s something to it, and it’s made me think seriously about how I’m spending my money in a few categories. If it’s something I’m uncomfortable sharing with the people I’m closest to in my life, then it’s probably very close to some distinct challenge in my own life.
What are your areas of discomfort?
Are you ashamed of some aspect of your finances? This might be a wake-up call to take charge of that aspect of your financial picture. Perhaps there are debts you need to focus on more intensely.
Are you uncomfortable revealing your specific spending habits? Perhaps those habits are pointing you to an aspect of your life or your personality that needs work or improvement. If there’s something that’s making you uncomfortable in the presence of those closest to you, that area may be one to really focus on.
You may also come to some conclusions about your relationships themselves. Why exactly are you uncomfortable about certain aspects of your finances with certain people? After some real consideration of this issue in my own life, I realized that, frankly, I would be willing to show everything to a very small group. Surprise! That small group happens to be my closest core of friends and family.
The glimpses you would allow others to have of your finances – or avoid allowing – can be very insightful, not just in terms of your own behavior, but in terms of your own relationships. As always, the better your relationship with money and the stronger your relationship with the key people around you, the better off you are in every aspect of life.