Why Your ‘Honest’ Money Talk Is Probably Full Of Shit

Bonnie Kittle
Bonnie Kittle

The other morning was payday.

What a beautiful day. 

Do you want to know what my bank account looked like before 5 AM, PST yesterday morning?

Well, if I was a financial blogger, I would probably tell you.

Let’s be real: the financial blogger is the new “it kid” on the internet scene.

They’re there with their cautionary tales of how terrible they used to be (used to being the operative word) with money, and how they’ve figured out the secrets to saving, spending, cents, and everything in between. They’re going to save you from financial ruin! They have podcasts devoted to calling up bill collectors and beautiful Instagrams that promote the wellness that comes from making your coffee at home instead of hiking over to Starbucks in the morning. They’re next to the beauty bloggers and fashion sites…just on a budget.

Financial blogs are everywhere. Financial YouTube channels are everywhere. Financial podcasts are everywhere. Basically, no matter where you look, somewhere online someone wants to ask you about your money.

To a certain extent, I think this is completely fine! I’ve even written about money and for some of these platforms in the past. I think if you want to talk about money and you feel comfortable discussing parts of your financial life then by all means. Run fly be free with your $$$ self.

But here’s the thing about financial blogging and being “completely fine!!!!” with talking about money that no one cares to take the time admit:

It’s really easy to talk about money when you’re not worried about it.

It’s really easy (fun even!) to say, “I used to be bad with money, but now I have over $10,000 in savings.” It’s really easy to lol at yourself for spending money on lipstick you didn’t need when you know how you’re paying your rent for the rest of the year. It’s really easy to talk about your past financial indiscretions when they’re no longer affecting your future. It’s really easy to package something as being honest about money when everything is sunshine and rainbows and magically works out in the end.

It’s really easy to be transparent about money when you have it.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the idea of de-stigmatizing having honest and open conversations about investing, budgeting, taking control over your finances, and money in general is great. Fantastic. Empowering, even.

What I have a problem with is the lack of acknowledgment of the privilege of being able to talk freely about the amount of zeros in your bank account, and the pointed assumption that there is a right and wrong way to carry yourself in a financial manner.

Should you be spending your rent money on makeup and alcohol? No, of course not. That’s irresponsible and borderline illegal. But should you be getting a side eye for being in your twenties and admittedly not being super diligent about contributing to a savings account? Also of course not!

Saying things like, “Well if you stopped buying coffee you could save X amount per year,” with a judgmental undertone in Helvetica typeface isn’t breaking the stigma of money, regardless of your website’s tagline. It’s contributing to it. It’s backing people into a corner to defend how they choose to spend the dollars in their account, and it’s creating a division of “We’re Right and You’re Wrong” that is completely unnecessary.

Because everyone has to start somewhere. Even the financial blogger who’s talking about how she DIYed her supremely aesthetic office on a $50 budget.

At some point instead of internally high-fiving herself at her 700 credit score, 5 figures in a savings account, and ability to resist a good Sephora deal, she was a money mess.

No one comes into this world completely financially savvy. Everyone struggles with having the self-control that it takes to not buy another pair of boots when those boots seem like they’ll make you happy. At some point in everyone’s life, they’re really bad with money.

Even if now, today, in this moment, their relationship with money is completely amicable.

 So from me to you, financial blogger:

Congratulations! I’m sincerely happy for you and proud of you for figuring yourself out and finding a relationship with money that makes your lil’ heart flutter.

But also from me to you, money blogger?

Please check yourself. 

Please acknowledge that your journey is not everyone’s journey, and your hacks are not everyone’s hacks. Please acknowledge the people who scraped you off of the “being broke” sidewalk when you yourself were there, and that it’s okay to still feel fab even when that sidewalk is where you’re at every Wednesday-Thursday (sometimes Sunday-Thursday lessbereal) before payday.

Please do us all a favor, and stop pretending like the journey to financial freedom is a one-size-fits-all, “easy as this!!!” street. 

Please stop insisting that we all talk about money just like you, when it’s ultimately easier for you because money isn’t the cloud that hangs over your head each month.

All you’re doing is adding to that cloud, to that ugh feeling when money comes up, to that sense of insecurity around finances that you “say” you’re trying so hard to break. Because while talking about money might be easy for you, if you’re making everyone feel like shit about doing it or not doing it your way, it’s not going to stay easy for very long.

And, believe me. You can take that truth right to the damn bank. TC mark

I asked women to be honest about their Instagram photos

“The essays in this book are short and sweet, and incredible. Love love loved this.” — Alex

“I’m so in love with this book! It’s so moving and some of the stories bring me to tears not because it’s sad, but because it’s relatable and shows that we’re not alone.” — Kendra

This is the reality of Instagram...

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