Why is it Awkward When People Talk...

Why is it Awkward When People Talk About Money?

by Marianne Stephens
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Money is a deeply awkward topic. That certainly makes sense, and if someone brings up the topic of personal finance at a small discussion during work, a romantic dinner, or even a family reunion, you can bet someone will attempt to change the topic. It’s deeply sensitive because you don’t want to brag about making more money, or be ashamed of not making much money.  It can make other people feel like they’re somehow not as good as others, or the other way around. Discussing your raise at work, a vacation or a new car can lead to jealousy, envy or even bitterness. It can allow for you or your colleagues to be seen in a different light than you may want. This can happen without the money discussion, but it’s easier to not bring up the topic than carefully moderating the discussion about it.

There’s a catch: sometimes it is important to talk about money despite the awkward conversations. There’s a rise in women demanding comparable salaries with their male counterparts, especially since women are still underpaid compared to men. This gets worse if they’re a person of colour or minority. If you are valued at your job, this knowledge can help you get a raise – and to feel just as important to the company as the company feels you are to them.

After graduation, if you enter a marriage, you especially need to discuss money. The assets – but more importantly, debts (as in the amount you owe to various companies or people) can vastly impact your relationship.  Money problems are a leading cause of relationship breakups and divorces.

But back to the question: why do you need to talk about money when you’re looking at scholarships? There are numerous items: how much your parents make can deeply affect your scholarship chances – particularly since your parents or guardians are fully expected to help you contribute to school (and related) expenses. The government often requires income tax data for parents or guardians as part of the process for applying for a student loan.

After a scholarship application, you should consider several factors on the list. Some of the items will be known only after the first week, but can help you figure out a budget, especially since things can be a little tight:

  • The cost of education for the school year (which may include your residence and meal plan fees, as well as tuition, books, lab fees and the like)
  • Your school supplies (this can be technology equipment and the materials needed to keep them up to date (such as your printer); software programs, writing utensils and textbooks that are required)
  • Your rental fees (this can apply to textbooks and if you can sell them back, can be a better option than buying them out right); school equipment, or your housing rent if you are not in residence – and the associated fees (hydro & internet)

There are plenty of low-cost or free options at the university/college that you can still partake in and to have fun, or to educate yourself further in an activity you have always been interested. Your friends may even be in the same boat – and this is when it always comes into play – it’s about the company, not the activity.

And that’s what money etiquette is all about – it’s about avoiding awkward topics so you focus on one thing: your friends and the memories that you are creating.

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