Let's (not) talk about sex
Certain subjects are taboo over the British dinner table. But that silence is costing us.
Are you financially embarrassed? No, I’m not asking if you’re short of cash, because frankly, who isn’t right now? What I mean is, are you embarrassed to talk about finances?
If so, you’re not the only one.
There are three things us Brits don’t like to talk about at home - sex, death and money, according to new research. So we’re not just financially embarrassed, but sexually embarrassed and mortally embarrassed as well.
Sex, death, money. What else is there?
Pity us poor Brits. Sex, death and money must be the three most compelling conversational topics of all, yet we refuse to discuss them with the people we love.
It’s very strange. You can’t switch on the telly without somebody talking about sex, but in real life it’s a no-go zone. So what exactly do we talk about? The weather? The Royal wedding? X-Factor? When to put out the recycling?
Jane Baker explains why life insurance should be your number one financial priority
It’s not as riveting, is it?
Silence is golden
Anyway, this is a money website, not a sex and death website, so let’s stick to that. Why are we all so reluctant to talk about money? I’m certainly no exception.
I never knew what my father earned, and wouldn’t dream of asking what my sisters or their husbands earn. My girlfriend does have a vague idea, and that’s that. I have only ever revealed my income to two friends, and then under duress.
Friends and family are too competitive about money (even if they don’t want to be), so I reckon it’s best to keep schtumm.
But there are times when it isn’t so wise. If you’ve got kids, you probably haven’t got time to talk to your partner about sex (let alone have it), but you really do need to talk about death and money.
Because if one of you dies, whether a breadwinner or homemaker, money is going to be a big problem. That’s why you need to break those deathly taboos, and talk about how to protect yourself.
Insurance. The last taboo
You also need to discuss the fourth taboo on the list, which is illness. If one of you suffers a long-term illness or disability, again, you’re likely to face a big money problem.
Too many people won’t discuss this. Why? It isn’t all down to taboos. The main reason we don’t talk about this stuff is that it brings us onto a subject that is unpleasant, expensive and dull.
The very worst thing you can talk about. Ever.
In an ideal world...
The research about taboo conversations was carried out by insurer Bright Grey. It hopes to highlight the fact that people are risking their finances by failing to talk about death and long-term illness.
Insurers would love us to talk about nothing but sex, death, money and illness, and this is how they would like the conversation to go:
“Darling, let’s talk about death.”
Related how-to guide
If you’re feeling the pinch, these ways of saving money on your insurance will help.See the guide
“I’ve just realised that if one of us dies suddenly, it would plunge the family into all sorts of financial difficulties. So I’ve covered us both with half million pounds worth of life insurance from Bright Grey.”
“You’re so wise, honey.”
“And I’ve bought another half million pounds of critical illness cover, in case one of us gets a serious illness such as cancer but doesn’t actually die.”
“Brilliant, darling. Let’s have sex to celebrate!”
Meanwhile, on planet earth
That’s not how it works in the real world.
“Darling, I was wondering, you know, if something was to happen to me…”
“Yes. It doesn’t bear thinking about, but I was wondering if I should buy life ins…”
“Oh, don’t be so morbid! It’s time for Celebrity Carwash, the show where top celebs come to your home and wash your car. This week it’s Dane Bowers washing somebody’s Vectra!”
“That’s more like it. Put the telly on.”
But it is a conversation we need to have. For more on the importance of life insurance, check out Mums, you’re risking your children’s future.
£60 I could have spent down the pub
Insurance companies want us to break the death and illness taboo, because they can make money out of it. And although their pet subject is unpleasant, expensive and dull, they do have a point.
Related blog post
Personally, I have tackled the taboo. Five years ago, I bought £150,000 of combined life and critical illness cover with insurer LV=, which costs me around £60 a month (I was a non-smoking 40 year old at the time, what you pay will depend on your age and health).
I’d rather spend that £60 a month on something more exciting, but with a partner and two young children to support, I’m buying peace of mind. And that's the point - life insurance doesn't have to break the bank. Have a read of Life insurance cheapest for nine years.
Don’t be shy
There are plenty of other reasons why people don’t protect their family with insurance. They’re called food, clothes, rent, mortgage, debts, pension payments… all these tend to take priority. Sadly, peace of mind isn’t a luxury everybody can afford.
Don’t let social embarrassment stop you from talking about insurance - or protecting your family with it. Financial embarrassment is a different matter, though.