Financial Discretion

in Banks, Money, Ponzi

In these days where discretion seems to have been lost on most of my generation and completely on the following generation (in my opinion), I wonder what this might mean for society in general, but in Personal Finances in specific.

What do I mean by Discretion? The dictionary says one of its definitions is: the quality of being discreet, esp. with reference to one’s own actions or speech; prudence or decorum: Throwing all discretion to the winds, he blurted out the truth.

This loss of the social mores and verboten topics has meant a lot more frank discussions about some subjects that needed much more inclusion as part of day-to-day discussions, specifically in terms of how Financial Institutions do business and the huge business of Financial Services in general. I applaud the frank talk and think this kind of lack of

Loose Talk & Indiscretion Can Hurt

discretion is very much needed (i.e. full disclosure). We have seen that many Ponzi Schemes thrived on this diescretion when it came to how they operated (i.e. it was a secret how you were making more than the market, and thus you should not be telling anybody about how you are doing it).

Are you discrete about your money? I am somewhat, in that I don’t typically talk to friends and acquaintances about the specifics of my money, and I think I inherited that ideal from my Parents. I never knew how much money my parents made, or what financial issues they might be having, and I still don’t know much about their finances, but is that any of my business? When I was a child, I would argue, no, it wasn’t my business, now there might be an argument that I should know more, and I am finding out some things slowly but surely.

Given the current generations need to talk about everything (on Facebook or whichever social networking site is now the next big thing), will this change how Money and Finances are talked about? I hope so, but I suspect that some of the more nefarious folk out there may learn that it is very easy to hide in plain sight (i.e. doesn’t matter if everyone talks about you, if they don’t know what you are really doing), and in fact open discussions about you add a level of legitimacy that will help you put more wool over more folks eyes (I hope not, but my guess is that will be the case).

Discussion usually causes change, but in this topic, will frank discussion change things for the better?

What do you think?

If you have got it flaunt it, seems to be the catch phrase these days, but I like the idea that folks really don’t know much about me and my money, for some odd reason it makes me feel safer.

Do you openly talk with your children or others about your money? Are there any taboo subjects in the area of money out there any more? I leave this open to you good reader to comment about whether I am full of wind, or whether you agree.

{ 8 comments }

  • Paul O June 8, 2015, 4:14 PM

    I think I had the same upbringing. There were pros: We were warned about credit card debt, and living outside our means. We never got into fights about money because we just didn’t talk about it.
    The one thing we didn’t talk about at all was retirement savings and I kinda wish we had. He went into semi-retirement at 55, but we never discussed RRSPs etc. He just told us to not worry about it so much in our 20s while we were getting established. Now, in my 30s I’m scrambling to catch up, realizing that I should have started investing earlier.

    Reply
    • bigcajunman June 8, 2015, 4:26 PM

      Yes, time works well for you when you are 20, when you are in your 50s? Not so much….

      Reply
  • Credit Cards October 27, 2010, 1:43 PM

    I have tried discussing the financial plans with friends but it is really dangerous since people plan to imitate without even knowing about the risks and understanding their needs.

    Reply
  • Credit Cards Canada October 26, 2010, 6:22 PM

    I agree with you bigcajunman.

    It’s one thing to talk about your the various financial plans that you use, the reasons behind the financial decisions and such other topics which informative without providing any specifics. Your friends, family or listeners will benefit from such discussions as you would from them talking about their plans.

    Each one of us is not knowledgeable in every aspect of financial decisions and talking with others and sharing our thoughts gives us a better perspective. But then people tend to across the line and go into specifics almost bragging things or sometimes giving out unnecessary details.

    The trend of discussing financial plans and goals is great but we need to tread with caution here too just like any another aspect of life.

    Reply
  • SophieW October 26, 2010, 10:05 AM

    I think open and frank conversations along the lines of: ‘this is what I learned’ ‘this is where I learned it’ ‘this is what I did’ ‘this is how it worked for me’ or even better ‘this is what I did and how it didn’t work for me’ are what is needed.

    A few months ago a group of us at work had a talk like that and it seemed to really help one of the guys who was looking into buying a house.

    However, bragging up the bling you bought or how much money you ‘saved’ by going to this one snazzy southern resort is just that – bragging! It just leads to more consumerism and keeping up with the Joneses…

    Reply
    • bigcajunman October 26, 2010, 10:17 AM

      Advising someone about the pitfalls of house buying is a good thing, telling them about how much each appliance in your house cost is Indiscrete.

      Telling somone you enjoyed a vacation at a specific resort if asked is OK, but telling someone about what you ate at every meal is Indiscrete.

      Reply
  • Beth October 26, 2010, 7:20 AM

    Not having a spouse to talk money with is hard, so I rely on my parents and a good friend to bounce ideas off of. If anything should happen to me, my parents know where my savings, investments, benefits, etc. are. In turn my brothers and I know what to do if anything should happen to them. I don’t think it’s necessary to know specifics, but I think it’s smart to know to have an emergency financial plan with your next of kin.

    Funny you should mention facebook! I’ve hidden the feeds of friends who constantly talked about their trips, their latest purchases and every little thing they buy their kids. I’m not envious — I just don’t care. It’s sad that they don’t seem to have much else to talk about.

    Reply
    • bigcajunman October 26, 2010, 7:33 AM

      I might be envious, but I don’t care either. Stop telling me how great it was in Punta Bunta or wherever you went (at least not on Facebook), no one really cares!!!

      Reply

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