Do you find money talk boring? Try this instead

50 thoughts on “Do you find money talk boring? Try this instead”

  1. Now that you mention it, we generally talk about the easy side of money like our investment contributions and how much debt we’ve eliminated. We’re never find ourselves talking about P/E ratios or quarterly earnings reports. That stuff doesn’t excite us, either. We like to practice the K.I.S.S. approach when it comes to talking about our money. And I definitely like your idea of focusing more on the tangible goals at the end rather than the financials of getting there. I actually think I’m going to use this tactic on our 7-year old to get her FIRE’d up. If she can envision a world without school (her work equivalent) where she can spend all day with her friends playing in her tree fort, she’ll be much more excited when I make her “buy companies” with her birthday money. The earlier she stars the better!

    1. You and me both, MMM. Keep it simple, all the time. And good technique to try with your 7-year old. Keep her focused on the goal, not the money. 🙂

    2. With index investing you don’t need to talk the major details of investing. That’s one thing that I find keeps things simple and interesting. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to vet stocks by yourself. It’s also usually an exercise in futility as the index funds often out perform single stock picks.

      1. Good point, Stephen. Just invest and forget it. I’m a huge fan of index investing for just this reason. It’s built to be as care free as investing can naturally get!

  2. Scarily enough in real life I’m one of those people that actiually enjoys talking about both the soft side and the numbers. It’s my wife who generally dislikes the numbers side of money. As such she gets the soft side. The main driver for my blog was actually to be able to have an outlet for a mix of both which is what I enjoy. I wouldn’t want all numbers, as it would bore me, but I enjoy a healthy mix.

    1. I can respect a little money talk here and there, but certainly nothing too deep. I like to think of money as the *tool* to the end goal, sorta like a screw driver is the tool to building a house. I like to talk about the house, not the driver – even though the driver is an integral part of getting there!

  3. I love talking all things personal finance. I could talk about the yields and but I especially like talking about what money can do for you. But then again I was a finance major in college so this is up my alley.

    Interestingly enough, talking to people as an introvert is normally an energy drainer for me but when I talk personal finance I actually gain energy. It’s the only area of my life that I’m an extrovert and could talk about it all day 🙂 Maybe I need to find a job in that area until I reach FIRE.

    1. There may be some wisdom in that, MSM – so long as the salary potential and job market is up to par, of course. There are some things that turn me into an extrovert as well. Photography is one of them. 🙂

  4. Come on, Steve. You run a personal finance blog and you don’t like talking numbers? 🙂 Just kidding

    Whenever I talk specific numbers with my wife her eyes just kind of glaze over. So we do a lot of what you talked about in this post. We talk about what we’ll do in the future. Where we’ll live, what our days will look like, etc. It helps her stay motivated and see what we’re shooting for.

    1. “It helps her stay motivated and see what we’re shooting for.”

      I think that’s the most important part in all of this. It’s about finding a way to stay focused. To keep driving towards the goal…whatever it happens to be. 🙂

  5. Setting it up right and putting it on auto-pilot can be the key to success! Investing strategies don’t have to be difficult (Vanguard index funds are simple) and neither does spending money (be conscious about where your money goes) nor saving money (auto transfers!). Money may be boring, but so important to not ignore it and shut-down all conversations on it!

    1. Indeed. You’ll never be able to completely shut out all conversation about money…and you shouldn’t, either. Talking about money is healthy and necessary, especially when it’s simple and straightforward. 🙂

  6. I’m with you, Steve. Money is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Automate it, and (almost) forget it. Spend your time living life, and dreaming about what you want your life to become. Then, make it happen. Even if it’s laying naked in the sun, with that $10M from Poor Uncle Sal pouring out of your sweat stained pores…..

    1. Ha! Love it. And I agree, money is definitely just a means to an end. When we focus entirely on it, things get overly and unnecessarily complicated. Who needs it? 🙂

  7. Come up with a plan and set it on auto pilot. That is what worked for me. Any timing strategies or other schemes likely wont make any difference for the time and effort spent.

  8. I love talking about the ways money can benefit my future. It’s not just about the money, but how I can use it to reach my goals. To your points listed above, it’s about figuring out your goals and dreams, and how money can get you there.

    Thanks for the post, have a good one Steve.

    1. Thanks Erik. Appreciate the read – it definitely sounds like you have everything in perspective. Focus on your goals and things tend to line up nicely.

  9. Like you, I get so bored about money talk. I am actually more intrigued by people who live with less, and do more good in the world.

    Also, for me, instead of talking about money, I enjoy talking about how ‘f-ed’ up the corporate culture is, and how to escape it. 🙂

  10. Steve – We are on the same page here. I don’t dig into individual companies for investing purposes. I am an index fund investor. I enjoy talking about what I will do with the money, how to save more money, contribution rates, and how to minimize fees instead. I would rather spend my extra time I save by low-cost index investing on activities I enjoy doing. That said, if one likes looking into individual companies, I don’t fault them for it. I keep my early retirement aspirations to myself unless I’m with a closed circle of like-minded friends or family. I am always surprised by how many people think it’s not possible.

    1. Amen to that, JD. Like you said, to each their own. But for my money, life is so much more interesting when we’re focused on our goals and ambitions. Those things are much more motivating to me, after all!

  11. I don’t find the personal side to money talk stuff too boring. Sure if I’m digging into the details of stocks, bonds, mutual funds etc I’m sure I’ll lose most audiences, but when I’m talking about killing debt or changing your future with your money I think the potential can be exciting. I do like the idea of focusing on your goals, your future self, where you want your money to take you. It is the sexy side of the conversation for sure.

    1. Definitely the sexy side, but like you said, there is still room for some of the numbers talk, too. You’ll never completely avoid it. And that’s good. A little money talk here and there is a good thing, I think.

  12. I like talking money (easy to medium easy stuff, not the truly hardcore XXX stuff). Mr. BITA is not a fan. When I first discovered FIRE, and needed to get him fired up (sorry, couldn’t resist), the way to do it was to talk goals and dreams and possibilities.
    In the end money is a tool, like say an axe. There is just so long that you can talk about the grain of wood that makes up the handle and the sharpness of the blade. It is important to keep said blade sharp enough to do the job, but in the end the focus is on walking through the woods on a crisp autumn day, focussing on the trees.

    1. I think you’re exactly right – money is a tool. Use it the best you can to achieve what you want, like a carpenter might use a saw or a battery powered driver to perform his work. But don’t focus on the tools. Focus on the end product! 🙂

  13. It’s funny you included a picture of Uncle Scrooge, because as an avid Donald Duck reader in my early years, I’m pretty sure that Scrooge’s pile is part of my money fascination! I’m obviously not in the category you’re talking to here, because I’m entirely fascinated by money, and have been for as long as I can remember. I’m educated and work in corporate finance, and see myself starting something in the personal finance space someday.

    But, I think this is really important advice you’re giving here, Steve. Money has no value to you other than the value you assign it (I’ve learned that in more recent years!) and, despite popular opinion, you’re entirely free to deviate from the norm when assigning value to money. So think about what you like and want to do, and use money as leverage to do that as much and as often as you want.

    1. “Money has no value to you other than the value you assign it.” — Very well said! And yes, deviate from the norm, unless you want to spend like a traditional American and retire in your 60s. Deviation is good!

  14. It’s funny as my girlfriend and I were just discussing this literally yesterday. We do not share bank accounts or anything such as that yet, however we are both very open with our discussions on money and our future together with it.

    She is more of the “leave it and it will work” and I am more of the numbers nerd…which in turn, gets the glazed over smirk of “Are you done rambling yet?” Which, is usually just when I am speaking theoretically.

    But, at the same time, money does not dominate our conversations (its a means to an end) and I feel, most of the time, there are way more fun things to talk about, like beer or places to hike the dog!

    When it comes to major decisions though, I definitely think you said it best with “it should be easy and straightforward.” No reason to complicate matters by beating around the bush.

    I really dug this article, Steve! Great perspective!

    1. I think you’re smart not to share bank account information yet…you never know what’s going to happen in the future, after all. But chatting about money can definitely be a positive thing. It lets you know what you’re getting into. 🙂

  15. I’m severely challenged when it comes to numbers. That’s probably a horrible thing for a personal finance blogger to say, but it’s the truth. I think the best approach is to make number-talk digestible and real. I love the suggestion to talk about items RELATED to money (career, goals, etc.) that aren’t necessarily money-oriented. Talk about stocks and S&P and dividends makes my mind wander.

    Hopefully that will change once I start heavily investing though. 🙂

    1. Thanks Mrs. Picky Pincher. Yup, talk about the fun stuff. Keep things more light-hearted and stress free. It definitely helps me to keep focused!

  16. I really like to talk about money, but there are times when it just gets too much and I get tired of it. Maybe that’s just the introverted side of me telling me that I need to recharge. But other than that, I also like to talk about the future, about what I’m going to do with my life, and just how fun it would be if I could explore the world and see almost everything.

    All in all, while I can talk about money for a long time, I still think it’s always great to have many other things to talk about as well, as it can expand your perspective on the world and learn more about the other person and possibly, yourself.

    1. Yeah, I think talking about the future and careers lets us more easily see the forest for the trees. Without a direction, the choices that we make with our money become compromised. A direction is key. A goal. A point in the future that we want to get to.

  17. I have to admit, I’m the exact opposite. I really love the details of business and investing. To me, the numbers are fascinating.

    An evening with some new accounting statements is like a fresh new novel to read….because that’s what it is. A story told with numbers.

    Yes, the terminology is a little different, but that’s no different than any field with significant complexity.

  18. I love talking about money, compound interest, expense ratios, indexing, etc. – but no one else wants to talk to me about it! 🙂 Probably because they find it boring. So I do things like an in-depth analysis of my 401k funds for fun.

    I actually wish that people were more comfortable talking about money openly. Things like how much did college really cost you, how were you able to afford that second home, what’s your 401k like? I’m really interested in learning about other peoples money reality. We think people are likely rich (or broke) due to their external spending habits, but you never really know. Maybe that person with three expensive homes and multiple SUV’s is barely hanging on, going into debt every month – or maybe they own a suite of rental properties and have no debt. Or maybe they inherited some money. When we don’t talk about it, people make assumptions based on their personal experience, and we can’t learn from each other.

    1. Yeah, I think the book The Millionaire Nextdoor does a good job at discussing this very issue. Just because you have a lot of “stuff”, doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t fighting tooth and nail against debt. In fact, when I see expensive cars or huge homes these days, my first thought is debt, not wealth.

  19. I am so this person…I hate money talk when it gets down to the details. Well, actually, I hate any finite discussions when they involve details – about anything! I just had a total aha moment – I am not detail oriented. Haha – I was just thinking about what I would do for work after flying an thought perhaps I could work at a hotel…I think I can erase the maid idea from my list! Who wants a cleaner that isn’t detail oriented?? 😉

    Anywho, when it comes to finances keeping the focus on the parts that interest you while having a basic understanding of the rest is probably a good place to start. I feel like many people just say they don’t like to talk about money because they can’t look past all those details. Last year I might have said the same (though finances being taboo to talk about was more an issue) but now I see how far I have come and some of the things that seemed so confusing and boring before now seem like I have known them forever. Changing perspective is huge – focusing on your interests broadens your brains capacity for certain things. I am almost to the point I am ready to learn about dividends as they pertain to my finances…almost.

    1. I think money is intimidating to people. Maybe they are in debt and they know it. Or, maybe they just think that it’s a lot of “math” or something. Or, they just don’t care much for the details. But hopefully, once people have a more firm idea of what they want out of their lives, their motivation to begin at least SOME money focus will be their next pursuit!

  20. Haha certainly generated a decent amount of interest with this topic here Steve! I must say that while I do enjoy talking about money occasionally it’s something that I appreciate gets old very quickly including when I’m talking and thinking about it.
    For me I agree with you, it’s about the narrative and purpose behind what money achieves and how to get creative about it, which sounds similar to the way that you feel about it.

    1. Totally, Jef. It’s about what money can DO FOR ME, not about p/e ratios or compound interest. Those things are important, but certainly not to me. 🙂

  21. What I started doing when talking finances with my sister was relating it to something we both can relate to, Pokèmon. From there I started my blog off of that concept, taking about money from a different angle. I however love the money jargon, so it has taken me a while to blend the two.
    Your tips make a lot if sense. I like the tip about focusing on the things we want and then talking about how to use money to get us there. Thank you!

    1. You’re very welcome, Ace Trainer! And yup, finding a way to relate to more technical concepts is an awesome way to get your point across and to understand these types of subjects.

  22. I am with you on this. That’s probably why 80% of our definition of wealth is about subjects totally different than one-dimensional financial terms. Money is important to creating a wealthy life, but really, like you said, you really just have to master the basics. Retirement accounts, vanguard, savings goals, buying and then selling undervalued assets. The rest of creating a wealthy life is really about disciplining your mind, heart, and soul, to pursue the unquantifiable values in life such as happiness, love, and purpose. I believe that’s where real wealth is found. That’s what gets me excited. Not boring financial talk.

    1. Amen to that, Bill. Very well said. Finances really is about mastering the basics, that’s it. No deep understanding of financial jargon necessary.

  23. This is a really great article. Indeed, if we are just talking about money, it’s boring. It’s the same whenever we talk about anything complex and we’re not interested in it, we lose interest quickly. But focusing on what we aim for and want to achieve in life, it’s much more interesting and we can incorporate money into the topic easily!

  24. Great article TSR! I love the topic of money and investing, but it can be exhausting after a while. I cannot constantly live, think, and sleep finance. I need my entertainment fix as well to ease my mind. This article made me think of my wife. She likes talking about finances, but she finds investing talk extremely boring. So our conversations are very basic about investing. Instead, we spend out time talking about saving, keeping our grocery bills as low as possible, and other small frugal things that I know she will enjoy and stuff that we can enjoy together.

    Thanks again for the great read!

    Bert

    1. Thanks Dividend Dipomats, appreciate the comment. Yup, talking about the influence that money plays is something that a lot more people can actually relate to. And, maybe, have some inherent interest in! 🙂

  25. While I do love chatting about money time to time ( 🙂 ), you’re right about focusing on the goal.
    I’ve found that it’s easier for us to get on the same page and more fired up when we’re brainstorming where we want to go and why. It also helps keep money in its place – a tool. Thanks Steve for this reminder!

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