They stood in front of the green screen - people from different walks of life, with different histories, different battles - ready to talk about their relationship with money. The lights went on and the director clapped his hands together - action.
As the camera started rolling, they became guarded; protective about their stories. This is the real challenge of talking about money as we realised while shooting for the Kiya Paisa Asaan Hai series.
Each of the 5 people - women and men - who volunteered to participate spoke to us about their moments of financial vulnerability. For them, sharing their journeys with us was difficult, yet brave.
During the shoots, we observed as they selected their words carefully. Interestingly, we also noticed how gender influenced the way they spoke about their financial matters.
Women spoke more openly about their finances than men. They were more willing to admit to an inability to save, a propensity to overspend and only withheld what they thought would reflect on their families. Men, on the other hand, were more likely to follow stories of financial vulnerability with advice and stories about success. When they recalled times when they did not have access to money in the face of family emergencies, they also offered explanations about how they had learnt their lessons and started saving.
Our objective with the campaign was to explore the emotions women and men associate money. We learnt that most people feel anxious when they don't have savings, lonely in the face of financial emergencies, guilty about spending too much, and pressurized when under debt. However, more importantly, we learnt how difficult it is to talk about these feelings and, simultaneously, how important it is to have these conversations; to break taboos and barriers in order for each of us to build our finances.
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