A few years ago, I told someone how much I make. I’d just gone freelance and I was having what I thought was a really good year — after a glass or two of wine I had a salary swagger moment and told a close family member what I’d earned that year.
Sure, they were impressed. But for the rest of the year I ended up picking up the tab more than once at dinner — “you can afford it” were words I heard a lot from that person.
Yes, I could afford it — but it’s not like I was making tons of money, and it irked me all the same.
Part of me would love to know what people earn — it can help benchmark my own earnings against others in similar fields. It can also help set goals. The problem is that it seems really hard to share salary information without awkward consequences. For example, if people know you earn a lot, will you get asked for loans more often? Or if you don’t earn much, will people start treating you like a charity case? Ultimately, you might become just your salary in the eyes of your friends and family.
I’m all for talking with friends and family about money matters — if a close friend of mine is getting great shoes for cheap, then I fully expect her to hook a sister up. Same goes for tips on how to manage and save money — close friends of ours who paid off their mortgage early set an example for us as we try to do the same thing.
But there are lines, and salary is probably one of the biggest. Are there any money lines you won’t cross? And have you ever told anyone what you earn and regretted it (or not)? Feel free to share below.