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May 06, 2021

Embarrassing money mishaps haunt consumers: study

Swiping, waiting and then having your debit card declined is one of the most stomach churning moments you’ll ever experience. If you don’t have the money in the bank, you’re now exposed as a forgetful idiot ... or worse. 

And even if it’s a bank error, that red-faced "what?" is still going to attract impatient, if not judgmental looks from those behind you -- which can be a problem for some people.

After all, many of us our self-esteem, identity or feelings of self-worth wrapped up in financial matters – all of which makes dealing with awkward money incidents particularly unsettling.

So much so that 48 per cent of consumers admit they've avoided someone or a particular situation that involved money because they knew it would likely get messy.


The top "most awkward money moment," according to a recent survey, was having a credit card declined. Forty-one per cent of respondents said that it was the most unpleasant money-related experience they'd ever faced.

Other situations that made people uncomfortable:

  • Feeling pressured to donate to a charity on behalf of a co-worker or friend.
  • Saying no to giving money to a panhandler or beggar.
  • Feeling pressured to chip in on a group gift at work.
  • Sharing salary/wage amounts with co-workers.
  • Splitting a dinner bill or check with a large group of people.

How do you cope when feeling pressured? Or are you unconcerned when faced with awkward moments like these?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...