In Discussions, Money

How much do your friends or family know about your money?

I was thinking about this the other day, about how much people in our lives know about our money.

MY FAMILY:

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.

Hong-Kong-Dollars-Cash-Fanned-Out-Money

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.

MY FRIENDS:

Bloggers?


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.

Non-bloggers?

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.

MY CO-WORKERS:

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.

HOW MUCH DO YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY KNOW ABOUT YOUR FINANCES?



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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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Posted on January 25, 2017

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34 Comments

  1. Do or Debt

    My parents, friends, partner and some coworkers/friends know how much debt I’m in, they even know the number. I used to complain about it a lot, but know I’m putting my energy into my blog instead of just complaining 🙂 Also, because I have worked in mainly non-profits, it’s pretty common (in my experience) to know what others are making. Non-profiters are constantly bemoaning the low salary, comparing with friends, speculating at who makes more and why and dreaming of better pay. As a contract employee currently, I know everyone in my position is making the same.

    I am pretty open about money as I think people should talk about it. But I also know people are funny with money and relationships can be ruined over it.

    Reply
  2. MakintheBacon$

    My mom is the only one in my family that knows the nitty gritty details about my finances. She was the one who got me into investing. My sister knows that I’m quite frugal, but she doesn’t know my net worth or exactly how much I make. I work for the government, so it’s a modest salary. 🙂

    A couple of my friends know how much I make, which is definitely a lot less than what they make, however I moved out on my own before, will be finished paying off my car next year and managed to save for a down payment. Most of my friends don’t know how obsessed I am with learning as much as I can about investing, (love your investing series posts, btw), tracking my expenses, and aggressively saving like a mofo.

    Reply
  3. M
    Michelle

    My friends will ask occasionally, we just started to get in the hang of talking about money. They do know that we make a decent amount of money. I guess you could say my family knows? My family only consists of my sister and yes she knows. And bloggers/readers of my blog know almost everything!

    Reply
  4. fabulously frugirl

    My parents know that I know about money, but they don’t know exactly what my networth is. They know that I save money and they know that I invest it, and they are fairly confident that although I spend money on traveling, I’m not squandering it away. Though, my dad keeps trying to convince me to buy real estate still, instead of renting.

    A few people in my real life know about my blog, but I’m not sure if they read it. 🙂 BF and I are pretty open about money, and I also recently told me sisters about this blog, too. But that’s about it.

    Reply
  5. Michelle

    My parents know everything because they keep reminding me to pay back my student loans. lol…

    However for some of my friends… it always puzzles me why they never talk about money. I could tell them my salary (and it’s only $14/hr so nothing to brag or anything). However, when I asked them, they become all defensive or give vague answers “not that much”. I know they make more than me too (better careers). Why is it such a taboo to talk about money/salary? And the thing is, I am considered “close” to them. Then I do have friends that tell me their salary (and I’m not as close to them as the others). Are my close friends scared that I might judge them or something? (But they know that I’m not a judgmental person…)

    Reply
  6. Anne @ Unique Gifter

    My parents know roughly what we make and where we’ll be with our major savings goals. My brother and SIL know a bit, because we talk about finances and stuff and give them some of our advice, as they’re younger than us. My in-laws know exactly what we make/save/spend (FIL is a personal income tax accountant). People who know us through work will know pretty close to what my spouse makes, as it’s fairly regulated, but so many fewer ppl have my position that it’s a harder guess. Our (many) min wage friends just know that we make way, way more than them. Friends from out of town have a rough idea how much we make, but no real specifics. Basically, we are much better off than most of our good friends, so we don’t really talk about it. We DO talk about our savings goals, strategies and thoughts on finances, just not numbers really. Except for the friends we saw this wknd, who know when we will pay off our place and its value… so they have a solid idea of where we’re at.

    Reply
  7. S
    Sara

    Family- My parents know my student loan debt will be in six figures and how much Liam makes, but I think that’s it, for now. Assuming I’m able to find a job in my field of study, my parents will have a good idea of my salary regardless of whether I tell them because my dad is also in the profession. They know we have credit cards and that L has a student loan, but I’m sure they don’t know balances. I think they would overestimate the student loan and underestimate the credit cards. All L’s family cares to see is that I have a good chance of doubling our current income when I graduate, which will mean we’ll make more money than anyone they know.

    Friends- Hard to say, because we don’t really discuss money at all. I’m the last one left in school, so I imagine they assume we’re weighed down by the cost of attendance and don’t think much past that. I sense that a good friend of mine is also interested in money, but I’m not going to “go there” until I finish school and we’re both in the working world. Rent is not an uncommon discussion among my school friends, because we are always looking for the best spots in the area.

    Liam and I have joint finances, so we each know everything about the other.

    Reply
  8. L
    Liquid_Independence

    That’s insane how much you make in a month. Nice job (^_^) My family knows roughly how much I make, but they don’t know much about my net worth. Friends and co-workers don’t know my income nor net worth. I’m pretty hush hush when it comes to my finances lol. As for blogging buddies, I disclose my net worth every month 😀 I don’t reveal what my exact income is on my blog but it’s pretty easy to guess within +/- 5% to what I’m making from the charts I post about my financial history.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      Thanks! But please note that I don’t work all the time. 🙂

      On average I can expect to work 6 months, which is about $120K. Nothing to sneeze at, but also not what you are imagining.

      In a good year, I can hope for 9 months.

      In a bad year, 0 months = no money at all.

      Overtime also makes a difference because it’s an hourly rate.

      I think it’s pretty easy for most people to guess what others make, especially if you work backwards from the taxes they pay. Unless their taxes are complicated (like mine in dividends), it is less evident.

      Reply
  9. S
    Shovellicious

    This question made me to think about that because the answer wasn’t so simple. My first reaction was “my parents!” but… no. I talk with them about their finances, they’re quite good with them but not about my situation. I think my boyfriend is that person who knows everything. When it comes to friends, we don’t talk about the details but, as Leslie said before, it’s quite popular to talk about rents.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      Oh my BF knows everything, as he is my partner 🙂 It’s also nice that he is encouraging rather than jealous for any reason.

      I don’t necessarily discuss my money details with my parents, but once I tell one, the other one finds out. I told my mom to stop her from worrying about me ending up destitute in the gutter, and she didn’t believe me, so I had to show her a cheque.

      Then my dad found out….. and then that whole fiasco happened.

      Reply
  10. Suki

    If my family and friends read my finance blog posts, they know where my finances stand. I talk money with my mom but usually not specifics just because neither of us cares particularly. I don’t ever talk numbers (except how to be frugal) with my two oldest sisters because we make more money then they do (put together….).

    My close friends all have students husbands or poor in general. They are happy with what they have and one of them likes to declare how she believes happiness isn’t tied to money. I agree but I’m not going to follow up with “and my husband makes three times that”. But they may read my blog.

    I’m just open in general. Finances in general might not be in such a bad place if more people were open about them.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      I think finances are tricky to be open about, because as I discovered it is great to be open about them with people who aren’t going to hold it against you in some way.

      It is not so hot when they start expecting handouts. It’s like winning the lottery — they say that winners start discovering family members they never knew existed because it draws them out of the woodwork.

      Net worth to me is a more important number than income itself, seeing as it is harder to save than it is to earn (relatively speaking).

      I would LIKE to be open, but I know it is not possible in all cases.

      Reply
      1. Suki

        Yes. If talking about finances are going to make things awkward, I tend to avoid it. I don’t overshare, just share when asked. Or if I feel like posting it on my blog for hardly anybody to read.

        Reply
  11. P
    Pauline

    Family: most know about all the properties/investment I own yet still ask if I need money like I am a broke student. Not seeing me in an office is weird.
    Friends: close friends I am really open and they know the same as my family, other friends think I am a broke student and my family supports me every time I buy lunch or a property.
    Coworkers: on my last job I bought a property so needed work paper for the bank, that’s all they know.
    I blog publicly so they can google me and find out, which a creepy number do according to g analytics, but you would have to read lots of posts to make an educated guess, I don’t publish NW updates or list everything in a post.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      Oh good point! If you don’t go to an office, they think you live on sandwiches and ramen 🙂

      It’s kind of a nice shield against avoiding people who want to pick at you.

      I post NW updates but that’s because I don’t have a name or face to them. You on the other hand, are absolutely more cautious to avoid doing so.

      Reply
  12. S
    StudentDebtSurvivor

    My mom and dad know how much I make generally. I don’t talk about money with friends (but they all know I paid off my loans and don’t have any debt other than my mortgage). I haven’t shared exactly what I make publicly on my blog but have shared with a few fellow bloggers.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      In that case, your family must be extremely proud. It’s not a common thing to be pretty much debt-free these days.

      Reply
  13. Mrs PoP @ PlantingOurPennies

    Haha, we wrote about this on our blog when my mom came to stay with us since it became a weird elephant in the room. For us, there are two polar extremes. Mr. PoP’s family knows a LOT about our money (after all, they are still our $50K lenders), but my family knows next to nothing, and it’s actually kindof weird. They know almost nothing of our investments outside of our home, and sometimes I wonder if they think we’re poor since we didn’t buy someplace bigger and fancier and fill it with Robb & Stucky.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      “And fill it with Robb and Stucky” 🙂

      You’d be surprised how people don’t think about these things. If they just see a few markers like an old car, decent clothes but nothing fancy, and you don’t talk about fancy vacations you take, they assume you aren’t making enough money.

      However if you keep bragging about your McMansion and your huge cars, that’s when they start assuming you have money (or in my case, I assume they’re heavily in debt).

      Reply
  14. G
    Girl Meets Debt

    My boyfriend, the finance enthusiast knows everything about my finances lol

    My family knows I have student loan debt but my parents don’t know about the credit card debt as well. They don’t know the exact number of the student loan debt but surprisingly they have never asked.

    My friends know I have massive student loan debt, but again, they don’t know numbers.

    My coworkers know nothing about my finances and I prefer it stays that way.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      Ah so in general they just lump “student loan” with “credit card” debt?

      Have you ever considered coming clean and telling them? Or is it just a non-issue?

      Reply
  15. G
    Gourmanda

    I don’t hide mine. My family know how much I make, how much I save, and how much (generally) I spend. I’ve always been quite open about that with my parents, especially considering situations like I’m in at the moment, where my apartment currently doesn’t have tenants and they’re having to help me with the mortgage as a result.

    My partner knows how much I make, because I talk pretty frankly about how much MORE I want to make in my next job. My friends probably have a good idea based on what I do and how I spend, but we don’t really have in-depth conversations about it.

    I think more people need to be open about their finances, both good and bad…if they were, maybe we wouldn’t have had the debt crisis! Talking about money and money issues is really therapeutic, and can be really helpful if you talk about it with the right people.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      That’s the key — talking about it with the RIGHT people.

      It can be hard to find those folks, which is why I greatly appreciate having readers and bloggers in the community.

      I think if I had kids, I’d like them to feel comfortable enough to tell me everything. I am not sure I would disclose what I have to them until they reach a certain age and have shown themselves to have grown to be responsible adults on their own, but I wouldn’t mind being able to give advice or hear of all the great things they’re doing with their money.

      Reply
  16. Budget & the Beach

    None know the exact dollar amounts (a very close friend does), but a lot have a pretty good idea that my income is nowhere near where it used to be, and that it’s been a bit of a struggle for me since I’ve been a freelancer. My parents know as well (but again not the exact amount). And now a lot of my “real life” friends know about my blog, so although I don’t discuss specific dollar amounts on my blog, I’m pretty open about things.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      I think once people hear “freelancer”, it’s a feeling of dread.

      I experience that a lot on projects. They assume you’re living hand to mouth, paycheque to paycheque and they think it’s an awful situation they don’t want to be in.

      It’s not for everyone. As long as you’re happier (overall), I’d prefer having less money than having more.

      Reply
  17. A
    Ariana

    My family does not have a clue. All they know is that I am employed (and that is enough to them). My friends, on the other hand, should not know. I may be paranoid, but I do not want their view of me to change because I am the only person they know who isn’t broke every month. Not to mention they ask for borrowed money a lot.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      Hmm… is it because you don’t whine about being broke every month that they assume you aren’t broke?

      Maybe to throw them off your scent you should start saying things 😉

      Reply
  18. L
    Leslie ♫ Beslie

    My friends and I don’t openly discuss exact salaries but it is very common to discuss rents here. It’s not considered rude to ask anyone how much they pay in rent. While some people do have sweet deals, it is a pretty good indicator of income.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      That’s interesting. You’re in NYC (if I recall correctly), and rents can really show what you make and what you don’t, I guess.

      It was a hell of a time for me to find an apartment in NYC. I paid $5000 for a place close to my work, and that made me have a heart attack. I was used to paying $700 in Montreal!

      Reply
  19. The Asian Pear

    My family knows exactly how much I have because I tell them. No secrets. I need them to be aware that I have created a safety net for the family in case anything happens to us or to me in particular. They would be okay in the short term.

    As for my friends (and even co-workers), they know I am cheap. Not frugal. CHEAP. So I am guessing that they think I’m a hoarder but they also know I give very generously when it comes to family and house so they can make a good guess but no idea.

    Even in terms of bloggers, I don’t ever publish my networth or whatnot. People can figure it out if they really want to. I’ve laid hints all over the years spread throughout different posts and pages. They’d have to calculate it too but it’s not a secret per se. I just make the really nosey do the brunt work. 😀

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      Yeah you’re cheap 🙂 But you’re not that kind of horrible cheap. You’re cheap in a good way, because you’re really generous with your money (your parents must be really really proud of you).

      I think one of the things I love best about you is your dedication to your folks in giving back and supporting them the way they’ve supported you. Your brother also sounds like a stand-up guy.

      Man, I don’t even know your net worth or anything but then again I haven’t tried to actively seek it out. It doesn’t matter to me 🙂

      Reply

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