In the pantheon of uncomfortable, taboo and inappropriate conversation subjects, money ranks right at the top. Yet talking about finances with family, potential spouse or a close friend is often essential for one's stability, long term or short term. In this election year where economic stability has been frequently discussed, the timing of The Talk video seems apt. Created by SoulPancake (actor Rainn Wilson's feel-good production company) in partnership with Northwestern Mutual, The Talk has been circulating around the internet inspiring people to have "the talk" about finances.
To find out more about The Talk, I interviewed Shabnam Mogharabi, General Manager of SoulPancake, a Daytime Emmy award winning company that produces more than 35 hours of video content annually, and has received more than 300 million video views.
Xaque Gruber: Where did the idea for The Talk come from? Was it from a personal experience or office conversation with coworkers? SoulPancake is known as a 'feel-good' production company, and tackling the subject of talking about finances seems at first to be 'not-so-feel-good.' Was there awkwardness or hurdles in figuring out how to make this subject user-friendly?
Shabnam Mogharabi: SoulPancake wants to explore life's big questions with every piece of content we make, and sometimes that means tackling the harder, important topics, albeit in an uplifting, positive way. Money and finances are an important element of human relationships, but for some reason, we treat them as very hush-hush topics, even among the people closest to us. So when Northwestern Mutual approached us to create a video that digs into why talking about money is so hard, we were excited to dig deep.
The Talk video
XG: What exactly is "the talk?" How do you have it?
SM: The Talk is simply an open, honest, sincere conversation with your partner, family, or other loved one about money. The specific conversation can be talking to your parents about their retirement; discussing how to merge finances with your significant other; opening up with your girlfriends about how best to save or invest; or building a plan as a family for the future. A lot of families are taught that money is a taboo topic. This was our way of talking about money and finding ways to make that conversation a positive and helpful one. XG: With reports that most divorces happen because of money, it would seem obvious that talking about finances would be essential for relationships -- and yet many couples don't. Why?
SM: We're often taught that money is an "impolite" topic of conversation. It can make people uncomfortable, so we don't bring it up. I think before a couple gets married, how to handle and think about finances should be a serious conversation. And if it's not, then that can lead to tensions and misunderstandings. XG: Is talking about money a taboo subject worldwide? Or just in the United States? And do you feel that the taboo about talking openly about money varies for different generations?
SM: I think in a lot of modern families, especially among older generations, talking about money can bring with it a lot of emotions -- of pride, humility, shame, and comparison. I think it's the responsibility of Millennials, who have tons of information at their fingertips about how to think about money, to share that knowledge and education with the people in their lives. XG: The families in The Talk all claim to be either best friends or very close and all seem loving and upbeat. Considering that there are many families out there who are not close or loving, wouldn't discussing money would be even tougher? What advice do you have for families who don't at all see eye to eye to have 'the talk?'
SM: Having a talk about money is important, whether you are close to your family or not. Even if it feels awkward or emotional or uncomfortable at first, you just have to remind yourself at every step of the way that it is an important and necessary conversation, and I think that, in the long run, it will make your relationships stronger.
Find more about SoulPancake at http://soulpancake.com or on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat via @soulpancake. #TheTalk