When it comes to the bedroom, numbers aren’t withheld in conversations among friends – from the number of rounds in one night to where a particular man sits in the rankings of skill or size.
But this openness doesn’t extend to bank balances. Your best friend is more likely to know how many men you’ve slept with, or how let down you are after the first night with a new man, than they are to know your gross salary or how disappointed you are about the low amount of your annual increase. You’re more likely to know that they bought a new vibrator, and far less likely to know the remaining balance on their credit card.
Conversations about sex are detailed and thorough. Switch to money, though, and the intimacy levels change.
Having worked in the financial services sector, including money management and private equity, Palesa Ryan, non-executive director at Mathu Women Leadership Empowerment, has had many conversations about money. But, she believes that outside of her professional environment, it can be a diffcult topic amongst friends and families.
However, this hesitancy around transparency is psychological, rather than practical. “It’s a function of the attitudes we have towards money and the ingrained value (not necessarily numerical) that we attach to it that makes it hard to talk about money.”
Outside of our beliefs around what money says about status, importance and love, South Africa’s social hierarchy makes it a tender topic. “There can be a huge gap in access to and value of money accumulated amongst friends and families,”