• BoA, Bloomberg
  • comfort, greed, ease
  • dependence, corruption
  • dollars, bank
  • dollars, cash, dough
  • expensive, trouble, fun
  • Food, green, expensive
  • future, stress
  • green, desire, corruption
  • happiness, desire, rich
  • job, clothes, happiness
  • lots, greed, green
  • Mansion, Wall Street, Green
  • need,worry, important, comfortable
  • Presidents, Bank
  • Problems, Worry
  • stressful, job
  • success
  • trading, monopoly, buying
  • arnaques, banque, économies
  • banque, économie, inégalité
  • besoin, dépense, assez
  • cher, riche, économie
  • conflits, pouvoir, vivre
  • consommation, tristesse, billets
  • consommation, capitalisme, société
  • dollars, euros, mondial
  • euro, difficile,
  • euro, loyer, crime, avide
  • l'or, commerce
  • luxe, inégalité, guerre
  • nécessaire, inégalité
  • on s'en fiche
  • or, riche, royal
  • possibilité, avarice, capitalisme
  • possibilité, problème
  • problèmes, supériorité, chance
  • richesse, pauvreté, société de consommation
  • travail, construire l'avenir, se faire plaisir
  • travail, effort, problème
  • travail, manquer, se priver, plaisir
  • travail, projets, avenir
  • travail, souci, nécessité
  • économie, travail, or


It seems that the French often associate money with the idea of responsibility and duty. This is reflected in the frequency of the word representing jobs, duty and the future. Money is also associated with many words of negative connotation. Is money generally viewed as a burdensome, negative item?

I was thinking the same thing. I looks like Americans are generally more optimistic about money. While Americans tend to associate money more with happiness and comfort, the French tend to associated it with pleasure, at most. I was wondering what happiness sounds like from a French point of view.

Il est vrai que les mots de la colonne de gauche sont un peu plus positifs que ceux de celle de droite. Je ne sais pas pourquoi mais je pense que c’est un peu tabou de parler d’argent, voire mal poli. Peut être que vous les américains, vous êtes plus décomplexés par rapport à l’argent, que vous avez moins de problème à en parler ?

Je rejoins Hugues dans ses propos. Par exemple, il est très mal vu en France de dévoiler le montant de son salaire. L’argent n’est pas un accomplissement, mais un moyen d’obtenir quelque chose. De plus, le montant du salaire perçu n’est pas toujours en adéquation avec le travail fourni. On ne juge pas de la qualité d’une personne au montant de son salaire. Il y a comme un tabou autour du mot “argent”. Carine

In America, I wouldn’t say that there is a taboo surrounding money. In the general sense, people are comfortable talking about money, though it is generally considered rude to ask someone what their salary is. It seems like in American culture, having money is an achievement that people feel proud of, which is quite different from the French perspective. There is a somewhat universal goal in our culture to have enough money to be comfortable; I have heard very rude comments directed towards people with minimum wage jobs about how they should “get a real job” that are probably based in this unfortunate attitude. People who have a lot of money are generally respected rather than seen as greedy.

So I agree with solshine that it isn’t exactly taboo here, but I also agree with Hugues on the rude part, and I understand why it would be rude to talk about money, especially depending on the circumstance in which the subject of money has risen. I believe the reason for why in America it’s seen as an achievement people feel proud of is because of our social norms and the association money has with happiness. If money didn’t get us anything that made us happy, then would people really feel proud of having all that money but no happiness??? And Carine has a point, money isn’t a true indicator of who a person is, yet many judge a person for the job they have, i. e. minimum wage job, or the lack of money they make, but in reality we don’t know the real reason why said person is working in the min wage job, or why a person doesn’t have much money. A person with much less money can be a person worthy of more respect than a person with all the money in the world, and vice versa. It’s all up to circumstances which befall people and how we choose to handle them. What do you think?

As solshine said, it is often considered rude to ask a someone what their salary is. However, this is often different among friends, as I have often overhead close friends discuss salaries with no sense of discomfort. Are discussions about money among friends still frowned upon on in France?

When I checked out the success-réussite section, I noticed some evidence for the idea that RockAChuy mentioned about the association between money and positive emotions. Being able to have money appears to be strongly correlated with happiness, pride and success in general. Money seems to be strongly viewed as a tool for empowerment rather than one for creating disparity in America. We seem to think more about what could occur with the presence of money while the French seem to be thinking about the instances where one lacks money. Is there a reason why your minds immediately turn situations of those who lack money?

Même si les deux côtés présentent des différences, je pense que le sens général donné au mot est négatif. Au moins, ce sont des mots comme “préoccupation”, problème” et “avarice” qui coïncident. Après, c’est vrai que le côté français l’associe plutôt au travail (moyen d’obtention) qu’au succès (conséquence, résultat attendu) comme le font les Américains. Il se peut bien sûr que cette particularité soit attachée à des stéréotypes, mais je crois que les deux sociétés sont quand-même des sociétés de consommation.

I agree, I don’t correlate money to happiness, so I also see it as a means of sustaining oneself only. Then again, I’m not from the US entirely. About the salary, it is rude to ask strangers, but perfectly fine with close people. Same for prices of objects. If your friend has a new watch and you’re thinking of getting one too, it’s fine to ask how much did it cost. Also if you’re walking at the beach and your friend suddenly says “Oh no! Your sandals ripped!” it’s also fine here to say “Oh, don’t worry about it. They were only one dollar.” Which might not be appropriate in france, I don’t know. Definitely no country is wrong, it’s just cultural. Don’t you find the differences interesting too!?

I also think that money is a lot more important here when it comes to barriers of entry. For example, college tuition here cost up to 60,000  dollars while in France and Europe in general, I beleive it is much cheaper because the government helps pay for the students to get an education.

I also think that money is a lot more important here when it comes to barriers of entry. For example, college tuition here cost up to 60,000  dollars while in France and Europe in general, I believe it is much cheaper because the government helps pay for the students to get an education.

MysteryMan : En France, nous ne payons l’école qu’à partir de l’université, si nous choisissons d’étudier dans une école publique. Nous commençons à payer pour apprendre à l’université. En Licence cela coûte 180€ et en Master 260€, pour une année. Ce qui est vraiment peu, presque “gratuit” comparé aux $60.000  que vous payez !! Mais, avez-vous le droit à des bourses ou des aides de l’Etat ?

A lot of schools are increasing their efforts to make education affordable through financial aid, scholarships, and other awards. However, the system still isn’t perfect and many individuals are still carrying tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt years after they graduate. If someone more knowledgeable about financial aid would correct me/chip in that would be great, but from what I understand, oftentimes, the people belonging to the middle class get the short end of the stick simply because they make too much to be considered for large amounts of financial aid, but still too little to afford the 60k a year tuition. Furthermore, things get complicated when a family is trying to send multiple children to college as the costs adds up really quickly and sometimes schools don’t understand that just because a family makes 100k a year doesn’t mean that they can pay for three kids’ worth of college tuition.
Given that post-secondary education appears much more affordable in France, do the majority of young adults decide to go to pursue higher education following high school graduation?

I think another interesting factor in the connotations we give to money is its identity in our socities. In France, the franc has given way to the Euro, which is tied in with the rest of the European Union, so it seems likely that worries about divides in prosperity and income levels between countries would affect the view of money to be more pessimistic. In contrast, the U. S. dollar acts as a standard not only in the U. S. but globally, with many countries pegging their currencies to ours. This seems reflected both in the increased association with words grounded in the U. S. on the American side - Wall Street, White House -and the greater use of words that correspond to generalized, system level concepts like ‘society’ and ‘economy’ on the French side versus more individualized, objective-related words like ‘greed’ or ‘happiness’.

It is not surprising to me that in France, a country where the government is big and responsible for protecting its citizens against things like unemployment, medical bills, school tuition, etc., much more so than the in the U. S., people are less worried about money. But is this the most important reason? or is it more of a culture thing?

Hi Romane,
Yes, you are correct. It can be very expensive to attend a university here in the United States. On average state universities cost less than private universities ( MIT is a private university). Most universities have what is called financial aid. For example, MIT gives students a scholarship that helps them to pay for the $61,000  cost. The amount of money MIT gives depends on the income of you and your parents. A lower income means that MIT gives you a larger scholarship amount. There are many scholarships available for students. There are private scholarships, government grants, and loans. I would say most MIT students don’t have to pay the entire $61,000  cost. I have applied to scholarships and I have reduced my tuition cost to about $6,000  for one year. So it is possible to reduce the cost of paying for school.

Bonjour !
Mochabear, il me semble qu’environ 15% des lycéens arrêtent les études après l’obtention du baccalauréat. Je ne sais pas si c’est par problème financier ou par désintérêt des études.
538cultura, je pense, mais ce n’est que mon avis, que ne pas parler d’argent en France est plutôt quelque chose de culturel, mais je ne saurais pas l’expliquer. Peut-être qu’un de mes camarades français à la réponse ?
Mr.Bilingual : merci pour tes explications, je comprends mieux maintenant comment fonctionnent les bourses. Existe-t-il aussi des bourses pour les sportifs ?

Je suis surpris par le fait de 60,000  dollars par année!!! Je ne sais pas pour les etudiants américains que l’éducation coûte si cher. Pour les étudiants chinois, il faut vraiment un très bon support financier pour aller aux états-unis, hors que pour ce qui vient en France, c’est vraiment beaucoup moins cher, le charge est comme les etudiants français, par exemple, pour mes études, j’ai payé 474 euros pour cette première année, c’est encore moins cher que la Chine, mais les universités chinois s’occupent de logements, ici en France est à notre charge.
Pour le sujet de“demander le salaire à quelqu’un d’autre”, il est aussi impoli en Chine mais il y a toujours des gens qui aiment demander, en ce cas là, ou bien on dit que c’est individuel, ou bien on donne un faux chiffre. Mais entre des amis proche, on peut discuter le salaire sans problème.
RockAChuy a dit “A person with much less money can be a person worthy of more respect than a person with all the money in the world, and vice versa.” je suis complètement d’accord. Entre un homme âgé et pauvre qui adapte encore des orphelins et un homme riche qui montre toujours sa richesse, je respect plutôt l’homme pauvre.