Whenever we talk about money, the people involved immediately become either spoiled brats or charity cases. It’s ridiculous, really. Read any article on student debt, homelessness, mortgage woes, or minimum wage. Read the comments. In the end, the conversation about anyone who struggles financially comes down to this: Are they spoiled brats, or charity cases?
…actually, they’re people. Just people. Thanks for playing, though.
When it comes to money, folks get defensive, critical, and oh-so-secretive…mostly because we’re terrified. There’s a lot to be scared of. And there’s a lot to talk about. But we never, ever do it in real terms. Not unless we want to illicit pity or judgment.
In her article C.R.E.A.M., Nicole C. explains how this difficulty translates in her personal life:
Friends either empathize because they’re struggling, too, or they squirm whenever the subject of money is brought up, which tends to happen in the form of complaints after a few drinks. Parents try to help out, but how can you truly offer advice when you’re in a bad financial situation as well? And that’s what people don’t see: When I complain about money, I don’t want sympathy. I want someone to tell me what to do.
So, sure, for every overtime shift you’ve worked, maybe I’ve worked two. Or for every tuition fee keeping me up at night, maybe you have double the bill—and are raising a kid. Say Johnny moved back in with his parents, while the Janey moved deeper into debt.
And say we actually talked about people as individuals with options and futures, instead of as spoiled brats and charity cases.
The fact is, we need to be truly willing to discuss the reality of these situations. Click the four pictures below to discover four writers who have started the conversation. It’s up to us to keep it going.
Because honestly? At this point, we can’t afford the alternative.