What is Left Unsaid

I read a post over at Thicken My Wallet about money being the last taboo. I sort of agree with the post, but what I really got thinking about after reading that was all those things in our lives we leave unsaid.

You see I don’t say everything I should some days. In some cases I just don’t think the comment would be accepted by the person I’m talking to and in other cases I don’t want to bother others with want I would consider a minor issue. Right now for example, I’m feeling a little off. Just a touch of melancholy mixed with feeling like I’m not myself. The mix isn’t all that problematic, but if I sat down and discussed it with someone I would likely feel better. Yet I haven’t.

In fact until I sat down to write this post I couldn’t even describe the feeling. And that is why I think we leave things unsaid. We lack the words and we don’t expect others to have the patience to listen while you work out what you really need to say. So it goes unsaid.

Money in particular has a thick fog of emotions that swirl around it. We don’t discuss it because we don’t even take the time to understand our feelings around it. After all money is supposed to be about numbers and logic. Yet at the same time so much of isn’t about what we know, but rather what we feel.

So when someone asks “Should you invest or pay off your mortgage?” we come out with calculators and examples and we ignore the one thing that matters the most. What is your gut telling you or how do you feel about each option? Chances are you’ve already made your choice based on that feeling in your subconscious, but you are just waiting for your conscious mind to catch up with you.

In the end it’s no wonder things go unsaid between people about money. We can’t understand even our own decisions some days because the mix of the logic saying one thing and our emotion saying another. So out of that confusion it becomes difficult to discuss with others.

Therefore to really discuss things with others you have to understand yourself. For example, I’m slowly coming to the realization that leverage investing likely isn’t for me. I just can’t seem to get comfortable with paying interest on money to invest. I understand the logic of it, but I’m having an emotional issue with it. So for now I’m going to continue my experiment to see if that changes, but in the end I might just pay off the loan and be done with it.

So what do you leave unsaid?

This post is now part of the 136th Carnival of Personal Finance.

7 thoughts on “What is Left Unsaid”

  1. That’s a good point – when I really got into personal finance blogs I started trying to do calculations on everything but that can’t change what I really want to do. All I can do is try to do what I want in the best way, even if I could be making a bit more money. But that doesn’t mean my initial reaction to something is the best; if I reason about it for even a few seconds I sometimes convince myself that something that sounds good is really not the best thing to do.

  2. You’ve had some interesting posts lately Tim. I’m still thinking about your “Quest for Balance” post (we’ve paid off our mortgage and IMO are now getting too comfortable without a debt to attack). We need to figure out what’s next too.

    As far as moeny being a taboo subject, yes I would have to agree. Luckily I’ve got a close friend with similar interests in personal finance, so we have some great discussions. Most of my other friends know I’m interested in PF, taxes, investing, etc so a lot of conversations will dip into that area, but never too far. I think there is still the emotion attached to the money and people are worried you would think of them differently if you knew their entire situation. I’ve tried to take as much emotion out of money as I can, but most people haven’t.

  3. Great post. Yup, at times you have to go back to your gut, even when it seems to defy rational thought. But you may want to sleep on it first…

  4. A thought provoking post. I know that I don’t understand all my emotions a lot of the time. If you can’t understand your own emotions, how are you going to communicate with someone else?

  5. Chris H,

    You have a point that if you can take some emotion out of your money you can often do better. I like Anjo idea, sleep on it first. Sometimes you just need some extra time and others it doesn’t change a thing.


    Excellent point. My wife struggles with that as well. It takes her a while to nail down exactly what is bothering her. I suggest you take your time and work at it. Keep asking why like a two year old (until you understand it).


  6. Terrific post. I think people discount gut feelings far too often – the human heart is often a more secure indicator than the human head. Emotion isn’t an acceptable substitute for intellect, but you have to trust your feelings sometimes.

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