One of the reasons financial literacy is so abysmally low among Americans is simply the fact that the subject itself is somewhat of a taboo.
Parents hide their financial woes from children to protect them. Spouses hide their financial mistakes to save face in front of their partners. And children grow up thinking money is a dirty word.
It’s a vicious cycle, and the latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index® survey shows just how far consumers will go to get around opening up about their finances.
More than 60% of Americans said they’d rather divulge their weight rather than talk about the state of their wallet. Not surprisingly, men turned out to be more self conscious about money than their pants size. Nearly 70% of the fellows said they’d rather fess up about their weight, compared to just 58% of women.
But there’s more to the picture. Men are more apt to lie about their finances in general –– 22% said they’ve lied about their money, versus 18% of women.
“It’s part of our culture to be tight-lipped about our finances. While Americans may be treating their money like a secret, they’re still focused on saving,” said Joe Buhrmann, manager of financial security support at COUNTRY Financial. “Being honest with yourself about your finances is what’s important.”
The takeaway: It’s high time Americans did away with the stigma that surrounds personal finance. It’s one thing to keep your salary private from coworkers, but the simple act of sharing a money problem or even a bad bout with a debt collector with a friend or family member could help everyone feel a little less lonely –– and hopefully give them the courage to ask for help.