People Are Funny About Money: Part 2 of 2

Before I start this post, I have to first say that the comments on Part 1 of this series made me both sad and inspired.

I haven’t had much time to reply, as I just got back from a trip to Vancouver, but I read everything via email while I was away and found each comment more surprising than the last.

Some of the thoughts for that post had been in the back of my mind for months. I’ve mentioned before how I think the world could be a much richer place if everyone was willing to talk about money. Based on your comments and some dialogue over Twitter, I absolutely believe that is true now. And while Sex and the City may have avoided the conversation altogether, HBO recently premiered a new show that is finally willing to go there. Big time.

At first glance, Girls seems to have an unoriginal plot. The show follows four early twenty-something women living and working in New York City. Wow, haven’t heard of that before, right? But the difference between Girls and basically anything else on television is that it shows what it’s really like to be a twenty-something. There are unpaid internships, cases of HPV and very questionable relationships. It’s all awkward. And what I love most: it shows that there is debt.

In fact, the first episode opened with a scene I imagine many millennials can relate to: the protagonist, Hannah, being financially cutoff from her parents. While not all twenty-somethings are subsidized by their families, there is a good chance many were given opportunities to live at home during school, etc. and there is always a conversation about when it’s time to finally move out. This is the beginning of Hannah’s adult life.

That episode had more realistic personal finance quotes than I can ever remember hearing on its older sister (SATC), including:

“Do you know how crazy the economy is right now? I mean, all my friends get help from their parents.”

“I went to college too. You know where it left me? I have fifty thousand dollars in student loans. That’s how deep in debt I am.”

“I have enough money to last 3.5 days. Maybe 7 if I don’t eat lunch.”

But the conversation didn’t stop there. Throughout the first four episodes are a number of mentions of debt, money, pay, work, etc. And what kills me is the amount of criticism this show is getting. Is it something to gawk at? Hell yes! Because it has been described as, “White girls, money, whining”? No. The girl who plays Hannah is also the creator of the show and she is starting a conversation. And it is a conversation worth having.

It should come as no surprise that comedies like Girls and 2 Broke Girls are on television right now. The economy’s (both the U.S. and Canada) have been rough, and it is harder and harder for young people to find work. And while Girls is decidedly more realistic than 2 Broke Girls, both have received an unimaginable amount of criticism. So, again, I have to wonder…

Why are people so uncomfortable talking about money?

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