I was thinking about this the other day, about how much people in our lives know about our money.
Almost nothing, and yet, almost everything.
They know I make money at about $20,000 a month (when I work), they know I spend it on traveling, but they don’t actually know how much I have in terms of net worth.
I’d say my siblings are smart enough to figure out that I have at least $100,000 saved in addition to having paid off my debt in full (of which they had no idea how much I owed), but are probably imagining I’ve burned through half of that by barely working in the past 3 years, trying to “find my permanent home”, so to speak.
They probably estimate me to have about $50,000 at this point.
They know I don’t spend extravagantly the way they do with their million-dollar houses, or their new cars every 5 years. They know I’m pretty frugal in comparison, even though I take time off and travel, I still do it on a modest budget.
I tend not to say anything about money (especially now, with my greedy, self-entitled, selfish father in the mix), and it’s kind of sad that I can’t be proud of my accomplishments in making money as well as being able to save it, without having to fend off jealous rage from my siblings or dodge my money-grubbing father.
I know exactly how much my parents have as a net worth, assuming my father hasn’t hidden away 15 bank accounts stashed with cash (who knows!?), and I always encourage my mother to continue when she proudly shows me how much she has saved each month.
They know it all down to the penny, and I am especially grateful and happy to have them in my life because it’s the one group of friends where I don’t feel uncomfortable talking about money with at all.
We don’t have a problem saying: “I can’t afford that this month“, to each other, and that kind of open, financial honesty is hard to find in friends.
Heck, I follow their money on their blogs too! 🙂 I think it’s great that it’s a topic we bond so well on.
They may have a rough-ish idea, but we don’t talk about it.
My one friend upon hearing that I banked $130,000 net in a year (for the record, she asked), was so excited for me that she started asking where I invested the money because she had some money saved too, in addition to her company stock options that she bought in that have since doubled in price.
Then she and I started comparing notes on where to invest our money, and it became an extremely enjoyable conversation. We’re even closer than before, being able to help each other by talking about money and learning from each other’s mistakes.
My other friends I talk to on occasion, have no clue how I deal with money or how much I have.
What I DO know, is how financially responsible they are.
A friend I have, has her $500,000 house paid off free and clear, her $150,000 student loans done, all in a space of 3 years because she worked like a dog in a very high-paying profession. Her husband is equally good at bringing home the bacon, and they’ll be millionaires (jointly) in 3 years, I bet.
Other than that, most of my friends don’t know how much I make and I don’t know what they make (nor do we care), but they don’t worry about that stuff because they come from very rich or well-to-do families, and have never had a problem with debt or money.
It’s why it’s a non-issue, because they’ve never had to think about it.
I don’t have any, but I sure don’t let anything slip about how much I have.
In my profession, it is taboo to talk about money especially as a freelancer.
Keep it professional, I say.
I just pretend I don’t have any, I’m living on ramen, driving a beat up car, and everyone is relieved to assume the same because they too, had student debt and troubles at my age.
I smile, say nothing, and I don’t talk at all about investing or money.
If I find a kindred money-gushing spirit, I’ll talk without giving away numbers, but I’m still very en garde.
The only ones who may have an idea of how much I make, are the ones who write my cheques, but even they write the cheques to a third-party, and not to me directly, so they have no idea how much of the pie I’m taking.