Money Talks: Are Millennials More Willing to Discuss Money?

Sex, religion, and money: three hot-button topics that are generally avoided in polite company; questions like, “How much do you make?” and “How much does your house cost?” are typically considered taboo even among close friends. A Wells Fargo survey found that 44 percent of Americans see money as the most difficult topic to discuss, ranking it higher than death, politics, and religion.

Millennials, however, are challenging these social norms by daring to get honest and transparent about their relationship with their finances.

According to findings from a study, 63 percent of Americans ages 18 to 36 say they feel free to talk about salaries with their immediate family, while 48 percent feel comfortable broaching the subject with their friends, and 30 percent with their coworkers. Compare this to all age groups (not just 18 to 36); only 51 percent would tell their immediate family their salaries, and only 36 percent would tell their friends.

One third of the age group before millennials, Generation Y (ages 27 to 36), say they divulge their compensation to their colleagues, which is virtually the same as millennials but more than other age groups - in fact, that’s quadruple the share of baby boomers (ages 53 to 71) who’d be willing to chat with their coworkers as honestly.

Why this increasing transparency? We can brainstorm many reasons. First, it seems that millennials feel more free to break social norms and be open about their real lives and desires. The rise of social media and the resulting ability to share so many aspects of life online has made privacy seem moot, even in person. Additionally, millennials grew up in the time of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, the Great Recession, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and debates over college loans. Because talk of money inundated in our lives during our formative years, it seems only natural to continue to talk about it now. Finally, millennials are the most financially literate generation in recent history, with more people in this age group than ever before learning about finance in school or from their parents (The Street). Perhaps with this increasing familiarity comes an increased comfort.

Whatever the reasons or repercussions, it seems that millennials aren’t going to zip their lips about their funds and incomes anytime soon.