What would you rather talk about to someone you just met: Your credit card debt, your salary or your sex life?
A very telling survey has found that the last thing people want to talk about is their credit card debt. Telling a new acquaintance about a post-Friday night at the bar rendezvous or their marital problems ranks lower in icky-factor than talking about credit card debt. Here’s a survey nugget:
Eighty percent of the respondents said that they were somewhat or highly unlikely to talk about the amount of credit card debt with someone they just met. Details of your love life were a close second with 78 percent of respondents saying they were somewhat or highly unlikely to broach the subject, with salary details right behind at 77 percent. Other unmentionables: monthly mortgage or rent payments (69 percent).
Granted, I’m not about to jabber about my money habits with someone I just met—unless they’re asking for advice, and then my own finances are game—but there is a definite element of shame when it comes to the debt in our lives.
Revealing credit card debt can feel like dropping your pants. It exposes your innards. Your values. Your impulse control. Your levels of responsibility, dependability and stability. Even how trustworthy you are. Few things in our lives show so much about our personal truth than our choice of mate and how we spend our money. We’ve got a lot of control over both. If you don’t like what you see come bill-paying time, think about what that means about you. If you feel out of control when it comes to spending and credit cards, get the help you need to take the control back—and, like yourself enough to say ‘no’ to overspending.
If you’re in trouble, I’ve got an assignment for you: Tell someone about your debt. Not just how much you owe, but to who and why. One person. This week.
Keeping it taboo keeps you from getting the help you need. Talk about your debt if it’s a problem. Hit message boards. Head to the NFCC to talk to a credit counselor—honestly and fully—and write me! Sharing will get you answers, motivation, commiseration, information and guidance. It will also take the air out of that shame-bubble and give you the impetus you need to get your debt in order.
Say it loud and say it proud: “I’m in credit card debt–and I’m going to get out!”