Overcoming the Stress of Talking About Finances

I bought a vehicle last night. I did not wake up yesterday morning thinking I would end the day with such a large purchase. Yet, my commute home was traversed in a 2019 Black Dodge Caravan and not the little blue sedan I drove on my morning commute. This purchase was not completely out of the blue. My wife and I had been discussing and planning to make just such a purchase ever since discovering the blessing that we were going to have a fourth child. We kept delaying the process of looking for a larger second vehicle, and the calendar kept changing until it was the month our baby is due to arrive. So, yesterday after work we went to a local car dealership and eventually left as family with a second minivan.

Once I realized we were going to be doing serious car shopping after work, I was stressed. I was anxious about it the rest of the day. It was not until after the test drive, after they had assessed my now former sedan, and after the salesman and I connected over sports that I started to relax. I was not anxious that we were making a bad decision. Although we had put off the actual shopping until crunch time, we had prepared and done our homework. We had a pre-approved offer from a local financial institution. We knew our credit scores. We knew exactly what payment would fit in our budget. We knew exactly what we wanted in the vehicle. We wound up negotiating well and getting a really good deal.

As I thought about all this on the drive home last night, I kept wondering why I felt such anxiety over the process. After all I do work in the field of financial education; I should have a handle on this type of stuff. My stress over car shopping reminded me of an important fact – finances, and specifically talking about finances, is hard and complicated and controversial. It is one of those topics we tend to avoid a lot and even run from discussing.

There may very well be parts of the curriculum which you are as apprehensive about teaching as I was about walking in that car dealership last night. Let me help. Reach out and ask about resources that might better fit and be more responsive in your context. If we cannot find the perfect match, maybe we need to start a discussion with key partners to create it. Ask me to come and guest teach for a day or to connect you with someone else to present to your students. Let’s never let our unease with any of the content ever prevent us from helping each of our students achieve the full range of skills required for financial lifelong well-being.