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Money Talk: Why It's No Longer Taboo

Monday, 8 Dec 2008 | 9:07 PM ET
Money Talk: No Longer Taboo
Why being open about money is no longer taboo, with Jeff Rossen, WNBC reporter and CNBC's Carmen Wong Ulrich.

Keeping quiet about money has long been the norm. Whether you had a lot or a little, it’s always been considered gauche to speak aloud about your financial affairs. But the economic crisis has created a level playing field when it comes to our money pain. ‘Mum’ is no longer the word when it comes to money.

People everywhere are opening up about their financial problems – people who used to be shy, nervous or even downright ashamed, are now finding it cathartic and even liberating to discuss everything from job losses to a dwindling 401(k). Why the change? According to Terry Lyles, On the Money’s resident money psychologist, people are more willing to open up because we're all in the same boat. Whether you’re making $40,000 or $400,000, you’re just as likely to be underwater in your mortgage or worried about your job. It is for this reason that it has become easier to sit down with friends, family or even total strangers, and talk about what’s happening to all of us. And perhaps that’s a silver lining of this crisis. If we share our issues, our problems, our concerns with each other, we’re more likely to find help, Lyles says. A little empathy can go a long way.

If you’re the shy type, but looking to start the money conversation, Lyles suggests picking the person in your life you can trust the most and opening up to them first. Chances are, you will see them reciprocate, he says.

Of course, the lines of communication are always open here at On the Money. If you’ve got a money question, you can email Carmen here or share your stories in our Forums.

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