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How would you feel about your friends reading your last bank statement? Discussing how much you earn, how much rent you pay, how much you spent on Deliveroo last week? For a select few the answer might be a shrug of the shoulders, but the vast majority of us – though we’ll happily discuss the ins and outs of sex, politics, religion – will clam up completely when the conversation turns financial. Because in modern society, money is the last taboo.
Talking about money – how we get it, how we keep it, how we spend it – makes us vulnerable. Often, it is tied up with shame; you only need to read the constant, tired headlines about why young women only have themselves to blame for struggling financially, what with all the flat whites and avocado toast they’re buying. And it’s not just the idea of other people judging what’s in our bank accounts that makes us squirm; a 2019 report by Barclays found that more than a third of millennials actively avoid checking their balances.
We bury our head in the sand when it comes to money, but this discomfort about the very thing our society runs on, the very thing that affects the course of all our lives (whether we like it or not), is something bestselling author and podcaster Otegha Uwagba sees as a very pressing problem. With news that millennial women have been hardest hit financially by the pandemic and the Fawcett Society’s recent warning that unless closing the gender pay gap is prioritised, women in their mid-30s may never know equal pay in their working lives, now is the time to start talking. Loudly. And so, in her new book We Need To Talk About Money, Uwagba is blowing the conversation wide open – starting with an honest look at her own complicated relationship with it.
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