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Sex, Money, Death, or Politics. What shall we talk about today?

Sex and Money.

I just got your attention, didn’t I?

People are often curious about the conversations that occur behind the closed doors of a psychologist. While the specifics of all of these exchanges and identities of my clients exist behind behind a think veil of confidentiality and are secure under lock and key, I can report that in my career I have been privy to the deepest, most personal, graphic details of peoples’ lives. Including what happens in the bedroom (or backseat). There probably is not anything you could say to me about sex that would make me blush.

But do you want to know the question that stops.people.in.their.tracks? Without fail. Every time.

“How much money do you make?”

Often people are aghast that I have what they perceive to be the boldness and “audacity” to ask them such a “private” question. They would feel far more comfortable talking about sex, death, or politics.

Talking money. It’s not polite. It’s taboo. It’s uncomfortable.

We need to feel the fear and do it anyway. Talking money matters. Helping individuals figure out how they are currently financially limited and inhibited, aiding them in articulating a vision to build a bridge to where they want to go, requires that first we talk about it.

Money is emotional currency. It is a charged topic. It can activate anxiety, insecurity, shame, guilt. Issues about identity, self-worth, and security are frequently triggered by the mention of the m-word. It can stir things up in a deep place, so it isn’t surprising that the questions around it can be evocative.

We all have a money story. Our experiences with money in our family of origin become woven into the fabric of who we are, and we carry them forward. Our stories can impact and drive our relationships with money throughout our life: spending, saving, negotiating, investing, goal-setting, planning. The models you have had (or not had) regarding money management and message you have received about it can impact what you do with it and the meaning you assign to it.

The first step in beginning to have mastery over this area of your life is to become more comfortable talking money. Without shame, guilt, or apology.

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January 21, 2020

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