Do you remember your first sex ed class in school? I remember mine.
I have a vivid memory of my phys ed teacher, also in charge of health and subsequently sex education, posing the question, “what is sex?”
I guess there’s nothing like walking into a room of insecure pre-pubescents and making them instantly uncomfortable.
She broke the silence with a very cheeky answer – “gender”.
That’s about as far as that memory goes, but I do know we spent the rest of that painful hour talking the sex side of sex.
It was during those pre-teen years that life became inundated with sexual references and discussions. No one was having it (at least none of my friends), but through school, innuendos, movies and magazines, everyone was speculating.
Issues of Cosmopolitan became required reading and fodder for conversations between me and all my clueless girlfriends. Even if we didn’t know what we were reading or talking about (somehow I made it to the sixth grade thinking a condom was a seat cover, long story) at least we were having the discussion.
I often hear people comparing the taboo of money to that of sex. And while to some degree I think it’s a valid comparison, an honest reflection of my teenage years proves otherwise.
I struggle to think of a time where any teacher walked into the room and asked, “How much money do you want to make?” or spent an entire half semester teaching the basic anatomy of a healthy portfolio or simple checking account.
I have no memories of huddling around the latest issue of Money Magazine with my girlfriends and discussing the latest market performance or investment strategy.
Is sex talk still taboo? Sure, but not really. It’s only taboo in certain places – professional settings, for example.
But money, that’s unfortunately still taboo almost everywhere.
To be fair, there is some discussion of money in the day-to-day, but in my experience, it revolves almost entirely around spending it.
People are happy to talk about the latest deal they snagged and pop culture is happy to flash images of “making it rain” in every other music video, but those surface level conversations are where that discussion ends.
People only want to talk about the sexy side of money.
Rather than having a forum for an open and honest discussion of money – the sexy and not so sexy side – in school, at home, with friends, people struggle with meaningful money matters – debt, savings, retirement planning etc. alone.
Why? The money taboo.
While sex talk is still taboo to a degree, we’ve had years of steps in the right direction to get that conversation going. Hello Sex and the City.
My mission here is and has always been to get that same excitement and conversation around money happening in the mainstream. Not just what money can buy you, ehem, “Cribs”, “My Super Sweet 16”, and all that other ridiculous extravagance, but what it can afford you – retirement, freedom and a life on your terms.