Our Relationship With Money is Pretty Shitty and Should Improve!

relationship with money

I don’t know how things are in other parts of the world, but here in Western Europe, our relationship with money is pretty shit. Especially in the United States, you hear about how people just can’t handle money (in general of course). Also in my country, The Netherlands, I see more and more people having a hard time being good with money.

Cultural Relationship with Money

In our culture, it’s not very common to discuss money. I don’t know why. It’s just the way things go I think. However, it seems that things are changing.

Let me give you an example. It seems that generally, lots of people are not willing to openly discuss money topics. The best they can do is semi-joking about things like “oh yeah my salary is too little” and “whoops I’ve spent all my money already”.

In other cultures, it might be absolutely normal to talk about money with almost anyone. For example, in Singapore money is a perfectly acceptable topic of conversation.

Times are Changing

These days it seems our relationship with money is changing, but only by a little. With my parents and some very good friends, I can have open discussions about money. I know the salaries my parents make. I know how much their mortgage is.

The same is true with my friends. We openly discuss these things. When one of them was trying to move jobs, within our group we discussed things like salary and how that would impact mortgage approvals and such.

I’m quite open about money. Maybe it’s because I blog about money. Here on my site, I can be fully transparent. I mean, every month I publish my full financial picture. You can read my income, expenses, net worth statements, you name it.

I do feel times are changing and people are becoming more comfortable discussing money. But if it’s a sign our relationship with money is changing, I don’t know about that.

The Value and Use of Money

Part of our relation to money is the way we think about money, not just how we talk about it. I see all around me that people are using money just as a way to buy more shiny things. Especially these days, when the economy is great and people have well-paying jobs, they like to show off and spend all their money on stuff.

I’m not the guy preaching extreme frugality. I like my gadgets, too. Heck, I’m typing this article on a 2,000 euro laptop! Now you don’t call that frugal, right?

Although I’m the last to call people out on spending their money (I’m quite liberal, people should do whatever they want), I do think we could be a little bit more mindful about what we’re spending our money on.

“What are you going to spend it on?”

This is the question that is asked by every radio host, every time a candidate wins a prize in the radio show. This question alone assumes that people are going to spend it.

I would love to hear one day: “I’m going to buy a crap load of VWRL with it”. And then, of course, this person has to explain to the radio host what VWRL is.

No, in reality people are all about spending. Today I had a conversation with someone about what to do about accidentally receiving a double salary. This actually happened to him, and he called his company and made things right by sending the excess part back.

I would have given this person a lot of kudos for being honest with his employer. But then he quoted “I would have used it all up otherwise, and I knew it had to be returned someday”.

Yeah, that’s the problem in our relationship with money. We’re terrible savers. I hope my blog and our community are increasing the awareness of the importance of savings.

How would you describe your relationship with money? Would you call it healthy?

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1 thought on “Our Relationship With Money is Pretty Shitty and Should Improve!”

  1. Oooh, I recognize this so much!
    Both the part about being more open with friends and colleagues about our salary and the fact that even with this openness people still have an unhealthy relationship with their money.
    The first part holds especially true when it comes to friends and colleagues of a similar age as me. We aren’t “afraid” to openly discuss our salary and how we can improve it, or how happy or unhappy we are with their current income.
    Just like your example though, this doesn’t mean they actually can manage it in a healthy manner.
    I do try to at least inform them on how they can look for better ways to manage their money, but if they are actually happy with having to live on the edge and barely have any money left at the end of each month, it’s their own problem. Especially if I’ve talked about it at length with them and they really have no interest. I can only hope that they try to teach their own kids a bit more about economics and give them some financial literacy.

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