That's Just The Way It Is

That's Just The Way It Is

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“That's just the way it was”. It was a simple response to a complex question, but it makes sense when you consider they’re called the “Silent Generation”. The first person I can remember telling me that talking about money was tacky is my grandmother Linda. She was raised in the 40’s and 50’s and asserts that personal finance was considered a family concern and was never to be spoken about outside of the home. She believes that this commonly held virtue was translated to society at large throughout the 60’s and 70’s. She noted, however, that her children (Gen X’ers) were the first cohort to start to loosen their lips a bit (much to her discomfort). She could have never predicted that the entire value system surrounding the subject would be flipped on its head by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren just a few decades later.

I’ve been thinking a lot about personal finance lately, and the taboo we as Americans have layered on top of discussing it in polite conversation. Financial openness is a foreign concept to me (being raised by my grandmother), and I have never quite understood why we didn't talk about it more openly and more often. I learned what I know about finance from family and close confidants. It wasn't taught in school, and it's not typically discussed in social environments until very recently… Enter Gen Z.

As Generation Z moves into adulthood and financial independence, the entire conversation has shifted. “Loud Budgeting”, a practice in which individuals share intimate financial information online with complete strangers, has taken social media platforms by storm and conversations about finance and salary and investments have become much more common and much more public. With a rather egalitarian worldview, this new cohort of adults finds tremendous value in crowdsourcing information in an attempt to elevate their peers (and brag a little, I'm sure!)

While it makes my grandmother squirm, I do see this newfound openness to be empowering for a lot of younger consumers. I can understand how seeing peers excel financially and learning the inner workings of how they have accomplished their goals can help others overcome their own challenges. As a REALTOR©, I see particular benefits in building up savings for down payments or home renovations. I have seen numerous “Loud Budgeting” examples that aim to motivate folks to save for a down payment and offer structure to do so. These often come in the form of a challenge: “Save $20,000 in a year Challenge” for example. 

While I probably won't be speaking about my financial situation on the internet any time soon, I am thankful for anything that can help my clients build wealth in a more structured and meaningful way. Afterall, my success is hinged on theirs.

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