We Have to Talk About Money

“While not everyone should know all our business, someone should.”

When it comes to social situations, it’s common knowledge that you really shouldn’t bring up religion or politics. They make people uncomfortable, the reasoning goes, because they are so personal and people have so many different opinions.  

Whether or not this is good advice, there is a third topic that is so taboo that we don’t even put it on the list: money. You can talk about money in general—the cost of living, for example—but it is absolutely and completely off limits to inquire about someone else’s money to their face. It is impolite to ask how much money someone makes, we definitely don’t ask how much debt they have, and we would never question how they spend. (Can you imagine? “So how much do you make a year? Do you give a lot to charity? Do you think maybe you should have gotten a less expensive car?”)

The reason we don’t talk about finances is because it feels immediately intrusive—we know intrinsically that our money is extremely personal. There is a kind of immediate understanding that where our treasure is, there our hearts are also. So asking about someone’s money is asking about their heart.  

Yet this is the same reason why we have to talk about money. While not everyone should know all our business, someone should. We might not appreciate strangers or acquaintances asking us about our cholesterol levels and exercise habits, but we tell our close friends, families, and definitely our doctors. We do that because the people we love and the experts we trust deserve to know what’s going on, so we can make sure we are healthy. In the same way, there are people we love and experts we trust who deserve to know what’s going on with our money, so we can make sure we are healthy.  

There’s a larger reason to invite people to speak into our financial lives: it’s not technically our money. As Christians we understand that “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1). Our money is God’s money. We are just stewarding it. So we can’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend what we do with our money isn’t all that important. It’s not wise to assume we know what’s best when it comes to our financial lives. Knowing that our money is God’s money means we need to put some thought in to what we do with it—and invite others to help us.