Monday, February 8, 2021

Broke Millennial Talks Money

Money is an uncomfortable subject in many contexts.  In her book Broke Millennial Talks Money, Erin Lowry explains why it’s important to discuss money and how to proceed in sensitive or awkward situations.  The book covers financial discussions at work and with friends, family, and spouses.  Lowry even includes dozens of scripts to use to kick off a healthy financial discussion.  The book is aimed mainly at American Millennial women.

Even if you agree that talking about money makes sense in a given context, it’s often hard to find the right words to begin.  This book contains over a hundred short scripts to get started in a discussion.  There are also suggestions for overcoming the natural resistance people have to talking about money.

The first part of the book is about financial discussions at work.  To find out if you’re underpaid and to gather information before negotiating pay, it’s often necessary to talk to coworkers about how much they get paid.  This is a delicate subject, and Lowry gives suggestions such as asking someone if their salary is higher or lower than a given number instead of asking for the exact figure.  Given how often Millennials change jobs, negotiating pay is an important skill.

“One of the most uncomfortable truths in adulthood is the reality that you and your friends are not in the same place financially.”  This has been less of a problem for me than it has been for my wife.  I don’t know how far our experience carries over to other men and women, but I find that my friends and I just accept wealth differences among us as a simple fact.  My wife reports a lot more troubles with financial inequalities among her friends.

“Sharing your salary with friends is generally an enormous risk.”  This one applies to me.  It’s one thing to know that a buddy is wealthier, but it’s quite another to see it in numbers.  I generally avoid specific numbers for income and portfolio size with my friends.

Lowry’s warning about sharing salary figures with friends doesn’t carry over to debt levels.  She suggests that sharing debt amounts with friends can “deepen bonds,” explain why you might sometimes “decline invitations,” and give you some “built-in accountability” on your journey out of debt. However, “Loaning money to friends can be a quick way to lose them.”

The chapter I liked best was on talking about money with your parents.  One day they will likely need help with day-to-day handling of money, and it’s best to learn about their financial details and get powers of attorney in place before the first health emergency.

We’re used to hearing about elder financial abuse by family, but abuse can go the other way.  Parents have been known to steal the identities of their children to borrow money on their good credit.  “Rectifying the situation usually requires you to press charges against a family member, something a lot of people, no matter how toxic the relationship, aren’t willing to do.”

For a book that does a good job of understanding where people with different outlooks on life are coming from, I found it interesting that the author takes it as given that when it comes to child care it’s unreasonable to think “I don’t want my kids raised by someone else.”

In conclusion, this book offers a lot of specific advice and scripts for having necessary but uncomfortable financial discussions with coworkers, bosses, friends, parents, other family, and spouses.  Some parts are specific to U.S. laws, and much of it is aimed at Millennial women.

No comments:

Post a Comment