Debt, money and death – synonyms in American culture.

If you are new to the blog, click HERE to start at the beginning of the story.

I have had an incredible response to the blog. Many people have been thankful for my debt settlement story – for my candor and for my bravery in sharing such personal information. I want to take a moment to address this.
My friend Keith made a comment to me that made sense.  He said, to many Americans, talking about money and debt is like talking about death. It is a taboo subject.  I AGREE!!!!

Still-Life with a Skull, vanitas painting.
Image via Wikipedia

Many people have no problem asking their friends personal questions like who they slept with or what kind of drugs they took in college.  But ask someone how much money they have in the bank and well… might lose a friend.
It’s one thing for your friends to be private about their personal wealth (or lack thereof!!) but it is even worse that most of our family won’t talk to each other about it.  Growing up, I had no idea how much money my father made, how much our mortgage was, what our investments were. Maybe I was told in passing, but it was never the subject of most conversations, nor was money talked about in a way that had a positive spin. How the hell was I to learn unless we talked about it?  Oh yeah…..screw up royally and figure out a way to recover. 🙂
It is this “money is private” mind-frame that got me in trouble.


This is EXACTLY why I am being so honest and open about the subject.
I want to talk about. I want to talk WITH YOU!!!
I had an offer to be interviewed by regarding my story. All Business is one of the most viewed websites on the internet. Zillions of people read their articles. My knee-jerk reaction was reluctance to share my story with the world. But then I realized that was just the “old me” who felt like money was something you shouldn’t talk about.


How can we learn about this stuff if we don’t talk about it?

Many of you need to hear this story so you don’t make the same mistakes I did. Maybe you have already made the same mistakes and need to know there is hope.
My 2 little children won’t have a fighting chance for financial well-being if I hide our finances from them. Now, don’t get me wrong, a certain amount of protection is appropriate, especially when they are young like mine are now. I am not going to stress my kids out if I am struggling to make the mortgage. However, it is never too early to talk about money.  I am already teaching my son about saving. He is only 4 and doesn’t really get it, but soon enough he will. I am also going to insist that instead of getting a crappy job, he should start his own business.  That’s another subject and post, so I won’t go further into that here.
There is always hope. I am living proof of it. It’s hard to make more financial missteps than I made. If I can turn it around, anyone can.
Now that I am doing better financially, notice I didn’t say “well” just “better”, I am constantly re-thinking how I approach money so that I never get in debt again.
In some ways, my grandparents, who lived through the depression, were right:

Save, save, save.

That is only half the solution though. If I don’t make money, I can’t save it. This is where my father gave me great advice. When I first shared my financial pickle with him, he said, “Son, your problem is 2-fold. You are definitely spending too much, but based on your basic living expenses, you still aren’t making enough money.”
So, what am I doing now?

  • Making money

  • Questioning every expense

  • Saving money

  • Rinse and repeat

This post was more editorial than the last few and I intend to interject posts like this into the blog. Feel free to comment and offer your own point of view.
Jonathan Grossman

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *