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Taboo topic right on the money

12 October 2020

Taboo topic right on the money

Words Claire Hill

Imagine you’re relaxing at a barbecue with friends and your host suddenly turns to you and says, “Let’s talk about money. How are your finances?”

If you find yourself squirming at the thought, you’re not alone. Studies have found that money is our least favourite topic to talk about. We’d rather talk about politics, sex or even our weight!

“Money has long been a taboo topic in our society,” says Seema Sanghi, The Salvation Army’s Financial Inclusion project officer. “This is a big problem because it stops people from asking for help when they need it. You might have a friend with a huge debt, and you have no idea.”

Seema also says people may put off going to a financial counselling service like the Salvos’ Moneycare, waiting until things have “spun out of control”.

COVID-19 has triggered a surge in the number of Aussies losing sleep over money.

“There’s a whole new group of people who have never asked for help before,” says Seema. “Some of them have no idea what services are available because they’ve just never needed them.”

The following groups are over-represented in this ‘newly vulnerable cohort’:

  • People aged 18-24 and 65+
  • Migrants who have been in Australia for less than 10 years
  • Owners of businesses with less than 20 employees
  • South Australians, Tasmanians and Victorians

Mounting money stress could be affecting your best friend, your workmate or your neighbour.

This year, as part of Anti-Poverty Week (11-17 October), the Moneycare team is urging us all to help disrupt the taboo.


Each day during Anti-Poverty Week, the Moneycare team will broadcast a free, 20-minute webinar. The series is called ‘Money Essentials’ with each webinar giving a simple tip about how to get on top of your money and reduce the mental stress around it.

An action plan at the end of each webinar keeps the focus practical.

To register for the webinars go to



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