14 February 2020
Open Up is a book that explores how our bank balance affects everything from our personal lives to our professional lives, and shows us how the power of conversation can ultimately change our relationship with money. Our intern Tamara Southward delves into some of Alex Holder’s most important points to keep in mind when it comes to finances.
1. Don’t make money a bigger beast than it needs to be. You are not your salary, your last pay rise, or where you can and can’t afford to go on holiday. Those numbers aren’t so shaming that they must never be known by anyone, and like a woman’s age or someone’s weight, by bottling them in we make them more shameful.
2. Don’t ignore your debt. Work it out, categorise it, and figure out what is costing you the most. Whilst the emotional burden that comes with debt can at times surpass the financial burden, any debt issue is solvable with a plan, by opening up to someone close to you, and by coming to the realisation that you have the ability to get yourself out.
3. Topics that fall into what Holder refers to as a “gauche conversation pile” are the ones we can actually learn from. We often have conversations that feel inauthentic, due to money-related aspects that are obviously missing. Talking to each other can teach us what to do, what not to do, and how to better understand our relationship with money.
4. Being honest with yourself and with others is the first step to overcoming embarrassment and not letting money negatively impact personal relationships and life choices. If you can’t afford a certain restaurant, you need to communicate that to your friends.
5. …and speaking of embarrassment, by being more open about money, we harbour less shame. Shame is typically something we go through alone, and opening up about your finances can prevent it from gnawing away at you. If we can gradually lift the stigma off mental health, then we can lift the stigma off money
6. “Awkwardness stands in the way of knowledge and possible liberation.” The more we share our stories and situations with one another, the more we learn. In a society where there is an evident lack of public conversation about money, the best we can do is start with personal conversations.
Holder aims to begin an imperative dialogue that isn’t happening enough in real life, and encourages us to tackle financial issues together by shedding light on what has long been an elephant in the room.