Should you tell people how much you earn?
The basics of the world economy are so different now than they were 20 years ago. Corporate loyalty is a thing of the past. Many people make their bread and butter not in one way, but in several. There are those with full-time jobs and secondary gigs on the side. Others are start-ups and freelancers who work a part time job. And are gigalos on the side.
To whom should you reveal your salary and sources of income, and under what circumstances? Let's consider three situations:
1. Your banker. If you ask for a loan from the loan sharks, they're going to want proof of income. Sure, they didn't do that back when the housing bubble was rapidly filling up with hot air, but now they do. But should you reveal every last asset that you own to them?
2. Your significant, or soon to be significant other. You've been together for a good few years. But when should this conversation come up in the relationship? Chances are, it will come up organically at some point, like on vacation at a terrible tourist hotspot. But again, should you let them know of all your assets? While you don't have to calculate your salary and net worth to the penny to tell your partner, you should both be able to trust each other with the ballpark figures... right?
3. Your children. How often should you talk to your children about money? What if they ask about it? Monevator says that with little kids you can be vague, "We don't have a car like the neighbours because we don't have as much money (or debt)." With older kids, you can be more specific. If you have a child on the cusp of adulthood that you hope will leave the nest soon, they need to know what it takes to run a household. You don't have to disclose the details of your compensation package, but they do need to understand that certain jobs pay the bills easier than others. And if they're still living at home as young adults, they should be contributing to paying those bills, even if it is only a token amount.
What are your feelings about telling people how much you earn? Which matters more, salary, or net worth? Have you ever disclosed your salary/ net worth and it has hurt a friendship or relationship? Do tell.