Skip to main content
Ratehub logo
Ratehub logo

Why we should talk about money

There’s a scene in Mad Men, the popular drama show about the ad industry in the 1960s, where anti-hero Don Draper is having a picnic with his wife and two young children. Don’s daughter, Sally, asks if they’re rich.

“It’s not polite to talk about money,” her mother Betty replies.

Money matters, yet it remains a taboo topic in many conversations. But perhaps it’s time we changed that. Recent data from Statistics Canada sheds light on the importance of discussing our finances openly and regularly.

Why we should talk about money with colleagues

In today’s professional landscape, discussing money with colleagues can be a sensitive subject and, likely, your employer won’t like it. However, open communication about salaries, benefits, and career advancement opportunities can lead to greater transparency and fairness in the workplace. 

Everyone wants to be compensated fairly for their work; and part of that is knowing that their pay aligns with what others in their industry, and their colleagues, make.

Statistics Canada’s latest report highlights disparities in earnings among different demographic groups, emphasizing the importance of addressing intersectional gender wage gaps and advocating for equal pay for equal work. Women aged 20 to 54 make 12% less per hour, based on data from 2007 to 2022. Put another way, women make $0.88 for every dollar men earn.

In a bit of good news, the same study found the gender pay gap has shrunk by 4% since 2007. But there’s obviously still a ways to go.

One way to continue to minimize this pay gap is to have conversations about compensation with your colleagues, regardless of gender. It will help you, and your colleagues, ensure you’re all being paid your worth.

Why we should talk about money with friends

Let’s go back to the pop culture well for a second. Everyone’s favourite group of television friends from the 1990s went out to dinner during one episode.

Struggling with their own respective financial woes, Rachel, Joey, and Phoebe order meals that are both light on the stomach and the wallet. Their more gainfully employed friends, Ross, Chandler, and Monica, order more expensive seafood dishes.

After their meals – which left some of the gang more satisfied than others – Ross calculates that they each owe $28.

The three struggling friends complain that that wasn’t fair, based on the price discrepancy between their meals and the others. And rightfully so.

“We three feel that sometimes you guys don’t get that we don’t have as much money as you,” Joey said.

The friends then sit and stare at each other awkwardly.

While discussing money with friends may feel awkward or uncomfortable at times, it can be incredibly beneficial. Being open and honest with your friends about your financial situation will help set expectations when it comes to group activities, and make them valuable allies in navigating personal finance challenges. Sharing financial goals and aspirations with friends can provide accountability and encouragement. Whether it’s saving for a big purchase, paying off debt, or investing in the stock market, discussing these goals with friends can help you stay motivated and on track. (As described in the latest Tik Tok trend: loud budgeting.) Financial honesty will also minimize awkwardness about other friend activities, like planning trips or nights out on the town.

Talking about money with friends can help demystify financial topics and further promote financial literacy. Many people learn best through conversation and shared experiences, so discussing budgeting techniques, investment strategies, and money management tips with friends can be an effective way to expand your financial knowledge and skills.

Why we should talk about money with family

Money talks should start early. Parents should set expectations early on about their family’s financial reality with their children. This will allow them to have insightful discussions about why the family can – or can’t – afford to do the same things the other neighbourhood families can do.

Teaching children about the value of saving and the cost of everyday items will also help prepare them to become more independent adults as they grow older. They will appreciate the value of a dollar and develop healthy money habits that can help them manage their finances in a mature manner when they become adults.

The bottom line

The truth is money talks can be uncomfortable. And, the gender wage gap data from Statistics Canada reinforces the importance of talking about money - not only with colleagues but also with friends, and family. By breaking the awkwardness, we can empower individuals, families, and communities to advocate for themselves and promote financial literacy.

Have your say: Have you ever had an open conversation about finances with someone in your life that had a positive impact in some way? Let us know in the comments below.

Also read: 

Consider these investment types: