Money — for the first time — is no longer the biggest taboo topic of conversation, according to an international poll.
In the global survey conducted by deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organizations, 48% of those polled ranked politics as the most difficult subject to discuss with family, friends, and colleagues.
It came ahead of personal finance (34%), sex and relationships (9%), religion (5%), and health issues (4%) in the study of 750+ clients. The respondents came from the U.K., Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Australasia.
In the 2019 survey, 56% of those asked cited money as the hardest topic. It was the same in previous years too.
It’s clear that this has been a year of immense political polarization around the world.
Governments’ handling of the pandemic, and events such as the U.S. presidential election, Brexit, tensions in South Asia and in the Gulf, among other factors, have made things seem more divisive and partisan than ever.
Therefore, it is perhaps of little surprise that 2020’s biggest conversation taboo is politics.
It’s been a highly unusual year and it’s very encouraging that personal finance — which includes income, taxes, pensions, debt, savings, expenses, and estate planning — is now regarded as less taboo than in previous years. This is a good thing.
The subject of money needs to be destigmatized. Wealth provides people and their loved-ones with incredibly positive, life-enhancing opportunities, and if it is seen as unseemly to discuss there’s more chance that financial goals will go unrealized.
One area of personal finance which has traditionally been regarded as "awkward" to talk about is wills and estate planning. This mindset has also shifted in 2020.
First, is the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing up a will is not something anybody really rushes to do. But with alarming death tolls, infection rates, and confirmed cases, there’s been an unprecedented focusing-of-minds in this area. People are more aware than ever about what really matters: your loved ones.
And second, the Great Transfer of Wealth. Tens of trillions of dollars of assets are to be passed down from the baby boomers — the wealthiest generation ever — to their children and other heirs over the next few years.
As such, increasingly individuals are taking appropriate estate planning advice to avoid paying unnecessary inheritance tax and having beneficiaries miss out on their legacy.
Money is a critical part of our lives, it gives us freedom, security, and opportunity.
It appears that 2020 has taught us that we need to get more comfortable discussing it.
Nigel Green is founder and CEO of deVere Group. One of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organizations, de Vere does business in 100 countries and has more than $12 billion under advisement
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