There was a time when Americans didn't talk about money.

'We never talked about money in our family when I was growing up,' says Deena Katz, 58, professor of personal finance at Texas Tech University. Katz says she only got interested in money and investments when her father died and her mother needed help in financial matters.

Written by: Jessica Behnham

Money went unmentioned in polite conversation. Hard to believe, because money is all people talk about now. Bailouts, mortgage-backed securities, cramdowns, liquidity, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Citi and on and on. The U.S. obsession with money is everywhere you turn.

Tap on the radio first thing in the morning, and there's talk of futures trading and how the Tokyo Stock Exchange fared overnight. Watch daytime news on CNN and you can't avoid the vacillating Dow Jones industrial average in the corner of your screen. A score of international leaders met in Washington recently to discuss -- money.

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