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The Stigma Surrounding Money Is Dying (and That's a Great Thing)

Puffy clouds lie just below my window. I’m looking down at them. I’m on an airplane, heading back from FinCon15. I can’t see anything on the ground. There is nothing above me but blue sky. I can see my reflection in the small window. I look at myself for a moment.

Travel is a time for self-reflection. I look around at everyone on the plane. We all have a story. We were all motivated to board this plane for a reason. The woman in front of me is military. The two men to my right are moving to New York City.

Having just left FinCon, I’ve heard even more stories. Awesome stories. Some people are starting companies. Some people have quit a steady income to become solopreneurial freelance writers. Some people have retired before their parents and are now traveling the world.

Many of the most interesting stories came from millennials. Millennials and money. Some people call us the ‘me generation’. I call us the ‘we’ generation.

Many cynics dislike our selfies, tweets, and all-around flurry with our phones. But what cynics don’t realize is that social media only works if you’re social. Social media only works if you’re plugged into the world’s nervous system and actually interacting with others in some crazy awesome ways.

The YOLO mindset very real, and it’s okay when it’s properly applied.

Interacting with others is how our society advances. At FinCon we swap stories. People tell me how reasonable it is to live in Mexico. The girl to my left grew up there. The guy on my right traveled from Peru to San Diego by bus. I’m now following both on social media. I help them. They help me.

And this is where the money comes in. Is there a stigma surrounding money? Yes. For now.

What money does is transfer value. That’s it. What do people value? Pretty soon many of us transition from messaging about sports cars and coffee to messaging about money.

Millennials are better connected than any previous generation. With so many lines of communication, the subject of money comes more naturally. Have you ever noticed how it’s easier to be honest online than in person? This means millennials are talking about money much more often than previous generations. Millennials are erasing the stigma of money.

I attended a lunch at FinCon where we ended up talking largely about money for 2 hours straight. We were all millennials. The conversation started on social media and we took it further.

Besides social media, awesome events like FinCon, and of course the Road to Financial Wellness, I believe the 2008 recession helped open the conversation about money. Millennials like myself were just graduating high school. Others were in college. Other young persons were extremely vulnerable to being fired. Last one in, first one out as they say. People want to share when they hurt. It’s why friends take to Yelp to write a bad review far more often than a positive one. Furthermore, most of us were hurt by the recession. We can try to help each other.

The recession is over. The hurt is largely over but the conversation continues. A silver lining.

Millennials are taking about money. They are erasing the stigma. Thank you, social media. Thank you, recession. But there’s still work to be done. There are still people afraid to ask for advice. But many millennials are working to solve the remaining problems. The Road to Financial Wellness put on by Phroogal is accelerating the destruction of the money stigma in America.

My plane is beginning to descend. The military woman in front of me is restoring her bag to its spot beneath the seat in front of her. The men on my right are putting away their iPads and getting ready to switch their iPhones off airplane mode.

Reflection. Flights are good for that. My story is one of entrepreneurship. It’s one of purposeful living. Every day I take to websites and their corresponding social media pages. I write about all things personal finance. Nothing is off limits. Nothing is taboo. Everything is discussed. Every day I ignore what’s left of the money stigma. I keep going. But for now I must prepare to land.

The millennial to my left just asked what I’m writing about… 🙂

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