The Ancient Taboo: Why Millennials Won't Discuss Money

by Francisco Alvarez

Money can buy happiness. Society just doesn't make us feel comfortable admitting it.

If I seem brash right off the bat, please accept my apologies. It just seems as though these days, especially among Millennials, money is always flying under the radar.

It's so rarely talked about that it's almost taboo.

But, money is always on the mind of the Average Joe or Jane. If this is the case, then why are we so reluctant to express our views on it?

Is it the fear of being labeled greedy? Is it the possibility of being seen as materialistic?


They say with more money comes more problems, but, if I may speak freely, that's a problem I don't mind having.

Granted, I'm nowhere near Trump capital, but these days, I'm not making decisions based on how much is sitting in my bank account.

With discipline and education, the days of pinching pennies are hopefully behind me forever.

I recently picked up Tony Robbins' latest book, titled "Money: Master The Game."

In it, Robbins explains how he traveled the world interviewing the biggest names in finance, and why he wanted to share that knowledge with the world.

In his introduction, Robbins states his very own beliefs, which I'd like to briefly share with you:

"Money. Few words have the power to provoke such extreme human emotions. We might discuss wealth in polite company, but money is explicit. It can make people feel guilty when they have it or ashamed when they don't. For some of us, one is vital and crucial but not paramount. Others are consumed with such a hunger for money that it destroys them and everyone around them. At its core, money is about power. But on some level it's just an illusion. In the end, money isn't what we're after, is it? What we're really after are the feelings, the emotions, we think money can create."

I think it's safe to say most of us would agree with that sentiment. After all, what Robbins and I want all of us to do is change the perspective we have toward money.

That way, we can embrace the possibilities it can present to us.

Let's get one thing clear here: This is not an attempt to turn you into a money-hungry glutton who wakes up thinking and goes to bed dreaming about the cash.

The real purpose of this article is to shine a light on an otherwise dark corner, and remove the veil society has imposed on our vision about money.

The Truth About Money

Robert Kiyosaki, a brilliant economist and author of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad," shared with his followers (myself included) one of the best descriptions of money I've heard to this day. He says:

"Money may not be able to buy happiness, but the lack of money can cause unhappiness."

If you've been on both sides of the spectrum, this statement hits home. It's riddled with logic and common sense.  Honestly, his opinion is so true to most of us, it should be considered a fact.

Let's face it, folks: Being broke isn't a great feeling. I'm sure we've all been there. We feel down in the dumps, we're constantly saying no to outings with friends and life becomes limited.

The truth is money equals freedom. When our wallet feels thick and our pockets are deep, we lead a worry-free existence.

I always looked forward to the days in which I could go about my life without a care in the world, simply because money was never going to be an issue again.

I'll admit I still do my fair share of budgeting (and I recommend you always do), but knowing finances are no longer going to play a factor in my decision-making is a huge weight off my shoulders.

Money allows me to concentrate on what really matters: my career as a coach and writer, helping those around me, family and everything else you can think of that brings meaning into my life.

I'm sure by now you're beginning to think it's expensive just being alive, and guess what? You're right!

If you're a Millennial like myself, you're either close to second-guessing your decision to attend college, or struggling to get a job to pay for school loans.

To make matters worse, that Starbucks cup of coffee keeping you sane just went up $0.20!

I like to shoot straight from the hip and I'm a fan of tough love, so here's some for you: You can't pay Con Edison with hugs.

If you miss a car payment, the dealership is going to think you're pretty important. If you default on a student loan, your phone is going to blow up like the Hindenburg.

Money Is Not The Motivation

Grant Cardone, business strategist and sales guru, recently posted a short video referencing solutions.

He explained that he "doesn't really want to drill or even have a hole in the wall," he just wants "to hang a piece of art."

Similarly, money is a solution. Contrary to belief, as much as you hear rappers and bankers clamor about money being their motivator, they're lying to you.

At the end of their videos and workdays, what they really want to come home to is a different scenario than the one in which they found themselves before having money.

I read "The Automatic Millionaire" by David Bach a few years back. In his book, Bach wrote a sentence that came out of left field, but it resonated with me nonetheless.

He said, "90 percent of our problems can be solved with money." 

Being a skeptic by nature, I sat down and put his theory to the test. After a few minutes, I realized he was closer to the truth (albeit a bit stretched) than I first imagined.

Wouldn't it be great if credit card debt, car payments, school loans, mortgage, etc. would just disappear? Money can do that for you; it can bridge the gap to peace of mind.

I want you to start seeing money as a means to a better end. Money is gateway to a superior future. It is an instrument, a tool that opens the door to comfort, eradicates anxiety and relieves stress.

I want to share with you a short anecdote my very own mother tells me every time my head gets big. Back when I was little, she was trying to make ends meet working as a high school teacher.

One day, she confessed that things at home were so tight, she was scrambling underneath the couch cushions for loose change so she could take me to McDonald's.

My heart sank to the floor. There was nothing standing in her way between her son and a Happy Meal. My happiness was her motivation, not the money.

I embedded her words in my brain, and I promised myself I would repay her for all the sacrifices she's had to make in order for me to have the life I now enjoy.

"Hustle. I'm going to get it from the muscle. When they ask my motivation: I'll say struggle." — Meek Mill

Don't Be Defined By Money

I'd like for you to shed the ill-conceived notion that somehow wanting money, or even working hard for it, will stain the view others have of you.

Although it could be the case, it shouldn't be a reality. The point I'm trying to make is you should strive to have a healthy relationship with money.

Money will undoubtedly accentuate what you already think it can provide.

In other words, if you're along the lines of a Bill Gates, you'll most likely want to change the world and then give it all away to philanthropy.

On the other hand, if you are like Ben Affleck's character in "Boiler Room," money will surely have a possessive stronghold on your life.

Money is a facilitator. Yes, it has value. But at the end of the day, you define what it's worth to you, not the other way around.

Tony Robbins said, "At its core, money is about power." I wholeheartedly agree. We, however, are the ones who grant it that power. He also said, "Money can fund a dream or start a war."

If you think money can't buy happiness, tell that to the family who is about to lose their home.

Tell it to the business owner who is about to go under. I bet they'd all be happy with a little more money in their hands.

We all have our definitions of happiness; what it means to me might be different than what it represents for you. The only thing I encourage you to do is to get educated on the topic.

Follow economists on Twitter, download eBooks on personal finance and subscribe to the Wall Street Journal.

Do everything in your power to become more knowledgeable so we can put our time and energy into what life is really about: making memories.

Listen, I understand if you want to stay mum on politics and religion, but money is something we all have in common and should be talking about.

After all, it has plenty to say on how we live our lives.