The Next Four Letter Word ...

By Samantha Easter

Eavesdropping on a conversation between young women at Starbucks can yield some interesting tidbits on our culture. You can get sex tips, learn about antidepressants and try and decode men. One thing that you most likely won't hear about is money. Even between the best of friends; salary, credit card debt, and account balances are taboo topics.

Why?

Growing up, whenever I'd ask my grandparents about money they'd say that talking about money is rude, and that is a social concept validated everywhere. Even women's magazines often don't touch the subject.

But since we seem to have lost our manners in many other areas, why be so proper when it comes to personal finances?

I think it comes down to fear. If we ask, we might have to admit that we aren't as secure in our finances as we'd like to be.

We're also afraid of not fitting in. Who wants to be the one who speaks up at a lunch date with friends and admit that we can't afford dessert.

The fact is, stressing out about money is much more common than we think.

So why not break the money taboo?

Instead of silently envying your friends latest purchase or wondering how they can afford that last minute trip to France, speak up.

Crack open the door and see what you find out, you may find a new side to your friends you never knew about.

You're also likely to learn that you're not alone in being financially insecure. After all, about 70 percent of us report living paycheck to paycheck. At least you'll discover the relief of honesty - and often get a reality check.

Plus you might find something more interesting to talk about at lunch than just who did whom.

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