Why Is It So Hard to Talk About Money?

Originally posted on The Global Circle Blog.

Whether we like to admit it or not, money is one of the strongest driving forces in our lives. Along with love, of course, money makes the world go ‘round. Here at AJWS, we wouldn’t have much of an impact in the developing world without the generous gifts of our donors. Of course, we all know the dark side of money – greed, envy, and feelings of inferiority.

Given these negative associations, it is no surprise that it is difficult to discuss money and how to manage it. Our fear of being judged for having too little – or too much – makes us uncomfortable with the conversation and has turned it into something taboo. Even among the closest of family and friends, the topic of money is not easily broached.

While there is definitely an argument for maintaining privacy around our finances, maybe if we spoke more openly about money, we’d feel that judgment and peer pressure in a good way. If a financially responsible person gave tzedakah on a regular basis – and actually talked about it – his family and friends might get inspired to do the same. Perhaps by actually talking about money and philanthropy, we could spur open dialogue about better financial management and about using our resources to help care for others. The ‘peer pressure’ to think of others instead of just ourselves can help us work through our money issues, avoid our pitfalls, and inspire positive action. (hello – debt ceiling?)

So next time you donate to AJWS or another cause you feel passionate about, tell someone. By doing so, you’ll put the (light) pressure on them to do the same. Open dialogue about money and giving will pay dividends for you and for the future of our world.

Kimberly Lustig is a Communications Pro working on behalf of non-profits and consumer brands for a large PR agency in Manhattan. When she’s not at the office, you can find her knee deep in wedding planning, visiting with family, traveling or enjoying the great outdoors with her fiancé.