The Briefing

Let's talk about money as if it were sex.

You don’t talk about money? Are you serious?

A bigger taboo than sex: Germany still shies away from money talk. We explain the reasons behind this and share 5 tips for taboo breakers!


June 23, 2022
Reading time 3 min.

πŸ’Ž Why do I care?

We talk openly about sex. Well, much more openly than we did a few decades ago, when topics like masturbation and menstruation were as likely to make an adult blush as they were a pubescent teen.

Today, unicorn size, Satisfyer magic and sexual freedom are discussed publicly - on Insta, Spotify or at the regulars' table. Meanwhile: Another taboo subject just can't break the silence. πŸ’ΈπŸ€«

The majority of German people don’t like to talk about money. But if you don't talk about money, you can't become money-wise. This affects your financial success, lifestyle, retirement planning, social status... basically, your whole life.

More than β…“ of 15 to 25 year olds in Germany believe that they know too little when it comes to finance. And that needs to change. It's time to break the money taboo!


β€œΓœber Geld spricht man nicht – Geld hat man.”

"You don't talk about money - you have money." A German proverb that still rings true for some, including some members of the OWWN community. This is what they had to say:


Luna, 23, Bachelors graduate

In our circle of friends, money is more taboo than empowerment. I don't know much about my friends' financial situation at all. A few of them, all in their early 20s, make 2000-2500 Euros net per month, but nobody talks exact figures and nobody talks about whether that's a lot or not. Many earn less – I know that – but they don't talk about it. They have various jobs, office based and in B2B sales.


59 percent of people in Germany have no idea how much their partner earns. There is also a strong culture of envy. For example, while people in the USA celebrate and acknowledge financial success in others, in Germany this is ground for suspicion:


Paul, 30, office worker

Imagine everyone could see all salary information across the company. That could lead to some hasty judgements. For example: Why does this person earn 1K more even though he hardly does any work?!


Why nobody talks about money

This conspicuous silence about money could have historical reasons. Although there is more inequality in the USA than in Germany, the prevailing belief is that everyone has equal opportunities and is responsible for their own financial success. Wealthy people are therefore not looked at with skepticism, but recognized and congratulated.

In Germany we were taught from an early age that money is not a topic for public space and that it’s better to stay modest. Studies report that people are more likely to talk about their money problems than to tout financial success.

Taboos are meant to be broken, and who better to do that than us? It doesn't matter whether it's sex, childlessness or illness: the young generation always manages to break with taboo – money is next. This is how:


Talking about money: 5 tips for taboo breakers

  1. Set a positive money mindset, talk about it openly and without prejudice. Money is such a sensitive subject for many, they will feel taken by surprise. Show genuine interest without judgment.
  2. Don't be afraid to admit what you don’t know. Saying confidently β€œI have no idea how tax returns work” immediately increases your chances of learning more – here for example πŸ˜‰. In addition, those around you will be grateful that someone is finally asking open questions.
  3. Talk to older people about salary and income! If you manage to break their silence, you can learn from their experiences and share them with your friends.
  4. Talk to your friends about your running expenses. If you live in an apartment or shared flat, you also have to pay for electricity and WiFi. You might be able to pick up some smart tips from your circle!
  5. Rather than thinking in terms of numbers, think about the goals that you want to achieve. Money shouldn't stop you from thinking about how to achieve your life goals.


πŸ”₯ What does this mean for me?

Be interested, challenge the norm. Share experiences, break down taboos together, enlighten each other and learn from each other – exactly as we do with sex and sexuality.


PS: To protect the privacy of this space, we don’t use the real names of the people logged.


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