So how come you’ll never hear a talk-show host ask a movie star how much money she made on her latest film? Because money is still considered one of those taboo topics and it doesn’t play well on the circuit of celebrity chatter.
But what if we bring the topic closer to home. If someone asks how much you make, do you tell them? Does your answer change if the question is posed from a friend vs. a family member? If you decide to answer the money question, do you round up? And if so, by how much?
One Frugal Girl had something to say about this topic. She writes, “The topic of income is usually taboo, but I bet almost everyone has been asked about their salary at least once in their lives. In college my friends and I talked openly and honestly about money. We discussed increasing book costs, rent, and utilities. I even remember celebrating the 15 cent raise of one of my roommates. No one objected to talking about money when we were working in low-paying, part-time jobs, but it seemed no one wanted to discuss salaries when we started our ‘real jobs.’ When graduation dates neared a few of my friends discussed their starting salaries, but most kept their new incomes to themselves.”
My experience was a bit different. In my twenties I still remember discussing income with my friends. But at some point in my early thirties it stopped. On both sides: Friends stopped offering this information, I stopped asking and vice versa. I recall a close friend once mentioned that she was interviewing for a job promotion and the package was over $300,000. We never talked about income after that. At the time I felt like I couldn’t keep up (so I didn’t really want to talk about it) and perhaps, it just seemed in poor taste to be disclosing these details… even with a close friend.
Family is another story… especially my family. Maybe it’s because I grew up with lots of sisters and we shared a bathroom and nothing seemed sacred or too personal in their midst. This past Thanksgiving, one of the table topics was how much I would potentially make if I closed a big software deal by the end of the year. By the way, I didn’t close the deal in time, but thinking back, it was a bit peculiar to be talking dollar amounts with my working class brother over turkey and stuffing.
The guy has saved practically every penny earned in adulthood, owns five houses and will probably retire with more money than all of us combined. I know what he made last year and it was pretty good for a dude building bridges in Toledo, Ohio. But it’s still weird to be talking about all of this in front of my parents, the seven nieces and my small business-owning brothers-in-law. Everyone treated it like such a normal topic… my income (or should I say potential income) of 2006.
But now I’m off on a tangent with the personal commentary, so back to the question… If someone asks how much you make, do you tell them? I like how One Frugal Girl answers it. She simply says, “I make enough.”
We want to know what you would do? Please feel free to comment below.