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Americans Would Rather Talk About Anything Besides Money

People would rather talk about anything other than money, including marriage problems, mental illness, drug addiction, race, sex, politics, and religion. In a survey of 1,202 American adults conducted by Capital Group, survey participants ranked financial topics such as household earnings, retirement savings, debt and inheritances as the most taboo topics of discussion. When asked about topics that are too taboo to discuss with friends, respondents overwhelmingly indicated it was those connected to money: household earnings (39%), retirement savings (38%), debt (32%) and inheritance (25%). Politics (17%), drug use (14%) and racial issues (8%) were considered significantly less taboo. Many respondents said finances were none of other people’s business, while others cited awkwardness and concern about creating ill feelings among friends.

Male and female respondents provided almost identical responses when asked about personal matters that might be considered taboo, such as marital problems, religion, politics, sexual orientation, and family disagreements. However, when it came to financial topics like household earnings, retirement savings, and debt, more women consider them a social taboo than men.

About one-third of those surveyed – including 30% of men and 40% of women – indicated they had discussed financial topics with friends and peers in the last six months. The survey found that those who are most willing to talk about money are either very confident (perhaps too confident) about their finances or very insecure.

The survey found that when faced with a major financial decision or event, people discuss it with their spouse or a financial advisor. Women (50%) are more likely turn to their spouse than men (36%), and women (50%) are also more likely to speak with a financial advisor than men (41%). By generation, millennials are nearly twice as likely as baby boomers to turn to friends or extended family to talk about managing money. The survey also found that millennials are more likely than Generation Xers or baby boomers to turn to their parents, co-workers or online resources for financial advice.


Amazon has gotten some backlash lately, taking criticism for its treatment of warehouse workers, as well as for its year-long contest across the country to find a second headquarters only to choose New York City and just outside Washington, D.C. But Millennials still love the company, with a new Max Borges Agency survey of adults ages to 18 to 34 finding that 44% said they’d rather give up sex than quit Amazon for a year. Additionally, more than three-quarters, 77%, said they rather give up alcohol for a year than Amazon. Despite some of the recent bad headlines, Amazon was named America’s most loved brand for the second year in a row in Morning Consult’s annual report.