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15 Women Confess Their Biggest Money Shame: 'We Can't Afford Another Baby'

Money Wendy Robinson May 30, 2018


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Sometimes it feels like finances are the last taboo topic. Honestly, I probably know more about my friend's sex lives than I do about their money lives and I suspect I'm not alone in that! We are trained that it just isn't polite to talk about money. When I gave women the chance to share their biggest money foibles anonymously, I was taken aback by how many tales of woe I uncovered -- and how similar each person felt, even though each circumstance was very different.

The thing about not talking about money is that people can end up carrying some big money secrets. Secrets can lead to major shame, eating away at our self confidence -- especially if you think that you're the only one who's struggling. (Hint: You're most definitely not!)

We reached out to 15 women who agreed to tell us the real story of their financial lives, including the the biggest secrets or shame that they're keeping from spouses and other loved ones. From credit card debt to crushing student loans to losing a house to the aftermath of gambling addiction, these stories prove that even smart women can struggle to get ahead when it comes to money.  And getting bailed out of their troubles did not end the shame.

Click on for all the candid confessions that prove that finances are a topic we all need to talk about more.  Shining the light on our darkest secrets is the first step to changing our ways.

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1Blaming Bipolar Disease

"I spend money and buy myself things to feel better. It's a coping mechanism, and it's FOMO. I am broke and in debt and embarrassed to be friends with many wealthy people. Anyway, when I was diagnosed as bipolar last year and spending was one of my symptoms, it almost made it worse. It was like, 'oh I spend money and I can blame it on my mental illness' instead of working on managing money better or coping in a different way." -- J.R. 

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2Gambling Addiction

"Our enormous debt was a result of my husband's secret gambling problem. We are now four months from paying it off and my husband has been clean for five years. It was such a source of shame for me, but I feel like we are so close to letting go of the debt and the shame that goes with it." -- S.H. 

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3Bottomless Debt

"I am ashamed of my irresponsible spending. I've been deep in credit card debt five times and had someone else bail me out four times. The first time I got out myself. The next two times my husband paid it, with lots of tears and promises it wouldn't happen again. Now we have a baby, so we had to ask my parents for help to the tune of $20,000. I'm still spending more than we make." -- J.W. 

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4Losing My Home

"We got foreclosed on a few years ago when the market crashed. Having to have the house listed as a foreclosure in the paper was so embarrassing. We live in a mobile home now, so I hate all the 'trailer trash' jokes." -- D.R.

More from CafeMom: 10 True Stories of Money Nightmares While Parenting

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5The Ex

"My ex burned through a huge family inheritance due to an undiagnosed and untreated bipolar disorder. I exited mid crisis but still had to deal with him because of our kids and the debt we now both shared. It was so hard." -- P.A. 

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6Housing Crash

"In 2004, I bought a house with no money down and an interest-only ARM. Way more than I could afford. When the market tanked a few years later, I had paid exactly $50 toward the principal. I was so underwater, nothing survived. My long-term relationship ended. My boss shamed me mercilessly, as did several other "friends" and a few family members. I know I wasn't the only one, but I've never felt more stupid, irresponsible, ashamed of my choices, like a failure. After months of applying for a loan modification and being denied three times, the house went into foreclosure and I filed bankruptcy." -- M.M.

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7Deep in Debt

"I was ashamed of the amount of my credit card debt, for sure. At one point I had $21K in credit card debt and only made $25K a year. These days, I feel like I'm pretty open about money but I worry about being judged for not having college savings accounts for the kids and for the fact that I have over $60,000 in student loans." -- R.W. 

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8Needing Help

"I will say that my husband and I get help ALL THE TIME, in different ways. His parents or through inheritance. We would not have been able to advance forward without generational wealth. No one can do it on their own with no help from others. It is just a lot of times other people's help is hidden." -- A.P. 

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9Ashamed of Our Income

"I feel shame because of how much we make. I have so many wealthy friends. There can be a noticeable difference and a weird sort of tension about it. Like when we cleaned bathrooms at the preschool for a tuition break and the other parents looked down their nose at us." -- L.D.

More from CafeMom: 10 Money Lessons Kids Should Know by Age 10

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10Bill Anxiety

"My shame is I get anxiety paying bills. So, I don't. Then it builds up and we have all these late fees. It's terrible. " -- C.N. 

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11Baby Debt

"I want another baby but we still owe our midwife and the hospital over $5,000 from our first baby. I can't believe two college educated people with insurance can't afford a baby." -- F.E. 

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12Student Loan Reality

"My husband and I owe over $200,000 in student loans and I can't imagine how we'll ever be able to save for our kids to go to college. We just hope they'll get scholarships." -- A.C.

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13Retail Therapy

"I have a massive amount of credit card debt and no good reason for it. I just shop way too much. I make over six figures and I shouldn't have debt but I have at least $45,000." -- K.S. 

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15Hurting My Parents

"I am most ashamed that in my twenties I let my student loans go into default and had creditors after me. Since my parents co-signed, their credit dropped, and they had to dive into their 401K early to pay off the loans to avoid further credit woes. I am still trying to get out of my twenties credit mistakes. I have poor credit and my husband has no credit." -- M.C. 

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