In the news this week – a the Chancellor admits the country’s financial position is worse than previously thought.
I don’t know about you but the country’s finances are not a regular topic down the pub, except to moan about our pay or how high petrol prices are.
I think part of that reason is ‘cos economics are seen as complicated and most people steer clear of forming an opinion on what is happening to our money. Yet should we ignore it? After all as blokes we are quick to have an opinion on other political issues, such as the Iraq war, our closeness to America, the competence of the Prime Minister, even our relationship with the French!!
I think that part of the problem is that talking about the country’s economy almost automatically then leads to discussion of our own finances – and that is one of the last male taboo subjects. We’re happy to discuss the latest Ferrari bought by Becks, or to fantasize about what we would do if we won the lottery, but actually discussing our own money issues with mates is very rarely done.
We seem to have an in-built reluctance to talk about our own money – or in most cases our lack of it – possibly in case we get into a “mine’s bigger than yours” conversation!! And that’s perhaps why it is one of the last male taboos.
Did you know that in one Scandinavian country – I think it’s Sweden – the Government publish annually everyone’s income for the year. Anyone can look this up for free – thus breaking down the divide. Perhaps we should do that in this country?
In my experience, actually talking about the issues and problems facing us is liberating, since you often realise that you are not alone in your situation and worries. In my job I see and hear terrible horror stories of people and business who have built up huge debts and yet have not been able to admit to themselves that they have a problem, often hiding the situation from a spouse or business colleague. Talking about it won’t solve the problem in itself but sharing experiences and opening up is the first step to addressing the problem. There is NO problem that cannot be solved one way or another – and it is often true that the longer it is postponed, the more painful the solution is.
Sometimes, even as a bloke, we have to swallow our pride and seek help.
And that can be tough, can’t it? Who said being a bloke was easy…….!!