Let’s talk about money (and then about sex)
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Apparently, money's still a taboo topic for Australians, right up there with talking about sex.
At least that's what Newspoll research released over the weekend has revealed; with just 31% of the 1200 adults surveyed saying they've talked about their financial goals with friends in the last month, and 26% reporting they've discussed their sex life.
Australians are much more comfortable talking about career goals (48%) and holiday plans (56%). Even rattling on about our weight with friends is more common than discussing sex and money, with almost half (44%) of us bringing it up over the last month.
The survey was commissioned by ASIC in line with MoneySmart Week, a new initiative of the Financial Literacy Board with the help of more than 50 partners from the business, government and community sectors.
From September 2 to 8, we're all being encouraged make the most of readily available resources for taking control of our money, including the five-minute Money Health Check (And it really does take five minutes, I just did it).
But women may be the real beneficiaries of talking about money this week – namely because women are still so disadvantaged when it comes to earning and saving it.
Those of us working full-time earn, on average, 17.5% less than fulltime working men according to EOWA, while women still retire with substantially less superannuation than men. New research from the Financial Services Union finds that the super situation may be even more dire in the future for young women working today, with serious shortfalls expected on what will be needed for retirement in the future.
Elaine Henry OAM, a former chief executive of The Smith Family who sits on the Financial Literacy Board recently told Women's Agenda the need to talk about money is one that crosses women of all socio-economic circumstances, and is essential no matter what a woman's level of education.
And yet, for some reason, it's not happening. "Money is not something that's openly spoken about. It's still not a polite thing to do in society," she says. "I think it has to do with the other things that probably occupy a woman's mind more, like work, and housework, and bearing children, holiday plans and things like that."
It may also be that certain perceptions around gender roles are still lingering, that we find discussions around our own salaries embarrassing, or that we've made terrible decisions in the past we'd prefer to forget, adds Henry.
Or that we're too busy talking about everything else.
Sex, money, travel, weight, career goals. Why can we talk about some, but not the others? Have your say below.