5 Generational Money Taboos That Must Die

Sorry, Mom and Dad. Some of your long-held financial truisms really aren’t all that true, and they’re no longer helpful. So dump them, and follow these useful mantras instead.

A woman holds her hand over her mouth.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While often afraid of becoming our parents, the truth is, we typically inherit our relationship with money from them – as they did from theirs. Many of us were raised to think that talking about money is taboo, but this idea perpetuates financial illiteracy, and avoiding money conversations can have a lasting negative impact on our own money attitudes, relationships and life goals. Only 24% of millennials demonstrate basic financial literacy, according to a report by the National Endowment for Financial Education (opens in new tab), which translates to three-quarters of a generation being ill-prepared for their retirement or other financial milestones. Having forthright conversations about our finances can help us learn, grow and better prepare for our future.

Money wasn’t really talked about in my own family growing up. Being raised in an Asian household, a significant emphasis was placed on education, but oddly enough, no financial education. It wasn’t until I graduated college and entered the “real world” (and had to pay my own bills) that I began to adopt my own foundational truths. Since then, I’ve shared these with countless families over the years in my work as a financial adviser.

Simply put, some long-held beliefs about money no longer hold. Many of these ideas that have been passed down through generations should be put out to pasture. Here are five outdated taboos, in particular, that need to be banished, followed by some more helpful mantras that can serve as replacement for them.

This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

Julia Pham, CFP®, AIF®, CDFA®
Wealth Adviser, Halbert Hargrove

Julia Pham joined Halbert Hargrove (opens in new tab) as a Wealth Adviser in 2015. Her role includes encouraging HH clients to explore and fine-tune their aspirations — and working with them to create a road map to attain the goals that matter to them. Julia has worked in financial services since 2007. Julia earned a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude in Economics and Sociology, and an MBA, both from the University of California at Irvine.