Our Fear of The "F" Word - Finances!
It's no secret that we are a tight knit community that shares our opinions about everything - education (where should we go?), weddings (what should we wear?), and of course, parties (what should we eat?). Our culture prides itself on community and collectivism. But there's a critical conversation that's missing from our dinner tables. A topic so taboo that the silence lingers across our lifetimes. The terrifying "F" word that we never address, but that intimately drives so many facets of our lives - FINANCES.
This week our Executive Director, Rachna Khare, had the privilege of speaking at FreeFrom's first annual Survivor Wealth Summit in Los Angeles, CA. The conference brought together funders, executive directors, advocates, and survivors to break the silence around wealth- what is means, why we fear it, and, most importantly, why we deserve it.
Financial abuse occurs in 99% of domestic violence cases. It can mean restricting access to money, prohibiting a spouse from working, controlling how the money is spent, and using the victim's identity for loans and credit. And a big part of our adult relationship with money and finances are shaped in our childhood.
What are our first memories about money and what are our feelings about wealth rooted in?
In many families, finances are not discussed. We're told we're too young to understand or that it's too private of an issue. Parents are often trying to protect their children- they want to keep them from having to worry about money. But this cloud of secrecy isn't protecting our children. We raise well-educated young adults who know nothing about interest rates, investments, savings, or credit. This leaves them more vulnerable as they grow in their careers, combine finances with their partners, and start families.
So what can we do to demystify finances and raise autonomous, wealthy children? Here's four ways to end the fear around finances:
1. Communication is key Let children ask questions, share your salary with them, discuss the challenges (and the wins!). Bring them into important family discussions.
2. Model positive behavior around wealth Demonstrate the true richness of life by prioritizing attributes of wealth outside of money. Enjoy experiences, strengthen relationships, and promote a holistic definition of "quality of life".
3. Empower your children at every age
Build a budget with their allowance, help them open their first bank account, role play with them on how to ask for a raise.
4. Face the fear together
Finances can cause anxiety. Secrecy makes it worse. Share what you know, but also what you don't know. Be humble and open. And, when you don't know something, research it together.
Wealth is much more than money - it's access and knowledge. Ultimately, wealth is freedom. By starting the conversations in our families, we can build a healthier and wealthier community.