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Ladies, we need to talk about money

My colleague in her early 20s called me over to her desk, “Miss Money Box” she said, while presenting me with a piece of paper I’d rather an accountant look at, “my payslip is wrong and I don’t know why.”

She had no fear about showing me her payslip, which I was openly surprised by. She then said something that made me so excited about the upcoming Gen Z ladies, “It’s important to talk about money, right?”

Like a Taylor Swift fan, I just died. These young ladies are the future and they totally get it.

Because I’m into transparency, we compared payslips and realised she hadn’t claimed the $18,200 tax-free threshold, meaning the government had taxed her way too much. This was quickly rectified with an email to the HR department.

Why talking about money is important

Simply put, it will help to narrow the pay gap, to help us save money, to learn how to invest and to become much better at managing money.

The Crown's Claire Foy had a pay gap from co-star Matt Smith
Earlier this year it was revealed that ‘The Crown’ star, Claire Foy was paid considerably less than co-star Matt Smith.

Knowledge is power and discussing money may even come as a huge sense of relief as we can share our fears. This in turn allows us to make better decisions, avoid money mistakes, set attainable goals and demystify the subject of money.

Talking about money isn’t sexy

Why is it we are more comfortable talking about sex, than we are with talking about money? I listen to a podcast hosted by Gaby Dunn called ‘Bad With Money’. In the very first episode she goes to a coffee shop in Los Angeles and asks strangers two questions:

  1. What is your favourite sex position?
  2. How much money is in your bank account?

The Millennial respondents had no problem answering the first question, but to the second? Silence. Offended exclamations of “no comment”.

Though it’s terribly unsexy, what we need is a Sex and the City for money and finance, a show that wouldn’t fail the Bechdel test at almost every turn, or depict poor money management practices.

Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw realised she’d spent $40,000 on shoes and had no money for a house deposit. I can’t watch this episode without getting very, very annoyed.

What can you do?

Why not create or join a group specifically about talking and learning about money? Meetup has a few of these already:

This doesn’t mean you have to divulge exactly what you earn, how much your mortgage is or how much debt you’re in, but it is a good way to learn from others how they manage money and what’s working for them.

I talk about money all the time without ever mentioning my own personal finance figures, so it can be done.

For more covert learning, read Refinery29s Money Diaries, listen to a money podcast or join the Barefoot Investor group.

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