Wealth Management

Money is almost as tough to talk about as sex, survey finds — and women find it especially tricky

Talking about personal finances is harder than talking about religion, politics or death — and almost as hard to talk about as sex, a new survey finds. Women are more likely than men to find talking about money difficult.

Half of women said they were reluctant to talk about money because they consider it a private topic, compared to 41% of men, according to the survey, from Wells Fargo in partnership with Versta Research. Feeling judged was another top-cited reason for 35% of women and 31% of men. 

The only money topic women were less reluctant than men to talk about is how much they earn, the survey found. Men were more open to talking about their savings, debt, specific investments, spending habits and money mistakes, among other topics.

Wells Fargo polled 3,403 U.S. adults and 203 teens between Sept. 5, 2023, and October 3, 2023.

More from Women and Wealth:

Here’s a look at more coverage in CNBC’s Women & Wealth special report, where we explore ways women can increase income, save and make the most of opportunities.

Why personal finance is a taboo topic

Asked to rank conversations on their difficulty, 60% of respondents said it was difficult to talk about sex, while 57% said personal finance was difficult to discuss. To compare, 40% said it was difficult to talk about politics, 29% religion and 28%, their personal health.

When asked directly about the difficulty of talking about sex compared to finances, 47% said having an open and honest conversation about their money is more challenging than discussing their romantic life. Privacy, not wanting others to know how much or how little they have and feeling judged were top reasons people cited holding them back from talking about their money. 

“When you think of money taboos and this idea that talking about money and talking about sex are actually almost the equivalent in their difficulty, it really just highlights the taboos that sometimes hold us back,” said Michael Liersch, head of advice and planning for Wells Fargo. 

“We really need to ask ourselves, what’s holding us back from getting the information we need to be successful on our own terms,” said Liersch.

The survey also found generational differences in how women feel about money discussions. More than half, 53%, of Gen Z women ages 14 to 26 said feeling judged made them avoid talking about money, versus 35% of women across all generations.

“Women are often penalized for traits their male counterparts receive applause for,” said Lindsay Bryan-Podvin, a financial therapist based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “When it comes to money, we are fearful that if we advocate for ourselves, such as asking for a raise or negotiating down a too-high car insurance payment, we’ll be met with hostility.”

‘There really are no stupid questions’

John Howard | The Image Bank | Getty Images

To help boost our comfort level with talking about money, experts say, consider how conversations are framed. That can help you reduce feelings of judgment, or that your ideas are wrong.  

“People feel like they’re stupid questions, but there really are no stupid questions when it comes to [finances],” said Liersch, who holds a Ph.D. in behavioral science.

Although talking about money with friends and family can be challenging, look for ways to naturally weave it into the conversation, said Bryan-Podvin, who is the founder of Mind Money Balance.

“Most people crave having someone to talk about money with but are wary of bringing it up,” she said.

“Try, ‘I’ve got my performance review coming up. Any tips on making sure I get my full merit-based raise?’ or ‘I saw you went to the Bahamas recently! It looked so fun! How did you save up for it?'”

SIGN UP: Money 101 is an eight-week learning course to financial freedom, delivered weekly to your inbox.

SIGN UP: Join the free virtual CNBC’s Women & Wealth event on March 5 at 1 p.m. ET, where we’ll bring together top financial experts to help you build a better playbook, offer practical strategies to increase income, identify profitable investment opportunities and save for the future to set yourself up for a stronger 2024 and beyond.

Articles You May Like

Are Your Aging Parents Taking Sedatives? Know The Dangers
Oracle shares jump on Google and OpenAI deals despite earnings miss
Influencer Jake Paul launching men’s skin, personal care line at Walmart
FDA advisors recommend Eli Lilly’s Alzheimer’s drug donanemab, paving way for approval
The Covid-19 pandemic worsened a child care crisis, and it’s costing U.S. businesses billions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *