Why is talking about money such a taboo in Finland? Even before we really understand anything about money, we are told not to speak about it. If you have a lot of money, you’re not supposed to show it. If you don’t have much, you’re not supposed to complain. And most importantly never ask anyone how much they make or how much is in their bank account. At least this is the way it has been for a long time. Luckily these days there is a lot more talk about how we should change that, and I personally feel, that removing the stigma around talking about money, is the biggest thing we can do to help our future economy.
When a kid is given money for candy, they don’t think about where it came from. Or even if they do, adults will a lot of times tell them not to worry about it. This is a very sweet thought, but in reality, it can be really harmful to the way children view money. I myself come from a well-off family, and the only thing my parent ever told me was to remember that we are very fortunate to have the wealth we do, and that I should not talk about it because people will see that as bragging. Right now, it’s hard to even understand, but I do remember getting nasty comments about my family being a certain type because we were wealthy.
In the book called Kaikki rahasta (everything about money) the author Julia Thurén also talks a lot about politics. One point that really stuck to me was that you can’t really understand politics without first understanding money. Without money we wouldn’t even need politics, would we? The fact that we stay quiet about money only benefits the rich. When people don’t really understand how great the wage gap is in our country, it’s difficult to try and drive for change. For example, one field that has been fighting for better pay as long as I can remember is practical nurses. The problem is that the supply of workers is so great that there will always be people willing to work for less than others, which means the demands for better pay won’t work. When you’re struggling from paycheck to paycheck even thinking about studies or a career change can seem impossible. For this reason, people with low income often stay in place in life while the rest of the society moves forward, moving to better paid positions and earlier retirement.
It is also important to understand that an individuals’ problems with money affect the whole economy. Getting overwhelmingly in dept is a seriously growing problem, sadly especially with young people. When countries go in to dept, which they can do endlessly, what they should do is keep spending money, to avoid the economy dropping even more. This also includes encouraging individuals to spend more. Of course, private people in dept can’t and shouldn’t do this, which creates a cycle that is very hard to break.
What should we then be doing to change all of this for the better? Luckily a lot of young people these days are very open to talk about money. When we break the stigma surrounding money struggles and realize that the amount in ones bank account does not determine their value as a human, we are well on the way to a more equal society.