How Much Do You Share with Family/friends About Your Financial Status?

Updated on August 03, 2011
R.N. asks from Nashville, TN
36 answers

Money is the hidden secret in our society specifically what people earn, amount of debt, amount of savings and overall net worth. Generally, we don't share this type of information with one another. People seem more open about their sexual lives than their financial lives.

So this is my question. Besides your SO and some sort of finance professional, who do you share this type of info with, if at all? Who REALLY knows your financial situation?

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B..

answers from Dallas on

No one, except the husband.. It's none of their business. I don't share anything about my sex life with anyone other then him, either. That's creepy.

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C.W.

answers from Santa Barbara on

I don't have a significant other, I have an ex-husband but my daughter, my tax preparer and financial advisor know the details. My daughter is 18 and needs to know how everything works and what to do if I drop dead tomorrow. My friends know I have a great job but the details are private.

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D.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

My husband & I only. My mom knows we paid off the house a few years ago. My son occasionally asks what different types of workers earn comparatively and he has asked what we earn and we've been honest with him about that.

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D.B.

answers from Charlotte on

.

3 moms found this helpful
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R.J.

answers from Seattle on

I MISS the military. It's the nation's single largest employer. All salaries (and extra pay; like hazardous duty pay, hardship pay, housing alotments, etc.) are all in the public domain. ((Of course, we also had 100% free healthcare)).

Everyone knew what everyone else made. Everyone talked about finances. Everyone had different priorities. (Some traveled, some bought clothes, some cars, some built houses, some sent money 'home'... your priorities were your own darn business).

Out here in civilian land... you're right. Nobody does. And really bizarre double standards exist. Ex) If a company is failing, they're STUPID not to reorganize (aka file bankruptcy), but there is HUGE stigma for a family to do it. Better to lose your house and your children's college funds, and your own hopes and dreams than to file for ch13 or ch7. Bankruptcy is a constitutional right because our founding fathers believed that 'no man can be truly free while imprisoned by debt'. People don't talk about salaries at work (and when they do, often find they make less than their subordinates) out of fear that they're overpaid, or won't 'get that bonus', or will be judged by blah blah blah.

Yup. I talk about money with friends and family. It's how I LEARNED to manage my own money. Nobody else has the RIGHT to my financial information, but I certainly have the right to share it myself. Ditto my medical stuff.

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C.K.

answers from San Antonio on

Only my husband and I know the entire situation, but sometimes I talk about it with my dearest friend. When I don't want to dump what I am feeling on my husband because it would only add to the stress he is already dealing with about finances, I talk to her. Lucky for me, more often than not she doesn't give advice or judge, she just listens.

Our 17 year old son knows a little, but not nearly all of it. It is more that we discuss the cost of things and budgeting with him than discuss our actual finances.

Many years ago we discussed our finances with my parents. We went to them for help because we were on the verge of bankruptcy. They loaned us the money to get us out of a bad situation. My husband and I agree we will never talk to them again about finances because my mother hangs it over our heads to this day, often making snide little comments (even though we set up a repayment plan and have stuck to it). In the long run the help they gave us was not worth having to put up with her.

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C.P.

answers from Provo on

I am a very closed person. I have gotten burnt by my immediate family in financial matters. It is amazing how many people get jealous and insecure over others doing well. I don't think it should be that way but unfortunately money is the root of so much evil in the world. I share a lot with my daughter because she is my best friend and lives a very simple life like I do.

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K.P.

answers from New York on

Well, I work for the state, so anyone can look-up my salary at any time. However... we do not discuss our finances with many people. We have a financial planner who is well aware of our money, "where" it currently is and "where" it is headed. My parents (who are similarly-minded financially) are often a "sounding board" for us before we make decisions. Aside from that, it's no one's business! My in-laws (all of them) are not financially stable and at times hold it against us that we are not struggling. If they had any concept of our finances there would be an expectation that we would do more financially to support other family members. Considering the fact that we already "host" all parties, showers and holidays- buy furniture for the babies and had my BIL living with us (at no expense) for over a year... I think we're pretty generous.

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V.C.

answers from Dallas on

Just a little with our teenage sons. I would even tell them less than my husband does.
I have relatives that are very irresponsible and ask for money--especially my dad. We end up paying funeral expenses and things like that.

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K.B.

answers from Milwaukee on

Both sets of parents know, they know the general amounts for the follow: mortgage, home improvement costs (in-laws loaned us a BIG chunk to fix the basement so they know how much we need to pay them), car payments (right now both are paid for), student loans (just paid them off), how much hubby makes, we have no other debt (we pay off credit cards as soon as we get the bill, we do not buy anything we can not pay off right away). Siblings know a little less but we all talk about house costs, living costs because that is part of life.

With friends they know a lot less but if they ask about buy a house, the utilities cost and so on I am up front what we pay. They honestly want to prepare themselves for taking the big step and want to make sure they can handle the cost. Also in the past one would say "I can not do girls night due to funds" so I or another girl would tell her to come she is covered. This has only happened twice in 4 years, one girl just graduated and had not secured a job yet, the other girl she had just bought a house. So the other two of us split up the cost because we can cover it and want to hang out still with our group of girls.

I trust all of these people completely and I know they would never misuse that trust of knowing and we are always there for each other. When making any big purchase we always talk about it first with the parents because they are wise, also any other friends or family that have knowlage in whatever we are looking to purchase. I have shared some basic info with others but never the full picture of our finances.

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

My mom, for the most part.

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G.T.

answers from Redding on

Since my mother is a "safe" I share lots of info with her. Thats it.

1 mom found this helpful

L.M.

answers from New York on

Hubby and I obviously are very aware of our financial lives. Our next door neighbors whom we are very close with, we have shared alot of info back and forth. Also, my parents. To some degree his parents but not as much. I am fairly open about finances in general.

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K.E.

answers from Denver on

I share with my best friend but within reason - we are both struggling with credit card debt and though she has gotten several decent lump sum contributions from family she struggles to make a dent in her debt while we rarely get extra help and i've worked hard to cut our debt in half roughly over the past few years. So i try to give her pointers. I vaguely discuss with my Mom but never concrete numbers. A few years back my sister decided to call me out about how much money we make and how little i spent on her for christmas (don't get me started on that - of course they didn't factor in the $1500 we spent to get back to NY to celebrate with them!!!) but it made me realize people make assumptions and draw their own conclusions regardless of what is actually said. And just because it may seem like a lot on paper doesn't mean it is - cost of living and all.

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J.B.

answers from Dayton on

I grew up in a family where income was never discussed. We had no clue how much my dad made..and to this day I still don't know. My mom and dad encouraged, required really, me & my siblings have a savings account. When we started working at 16 we were made to put 50% of what we made in savings. Not sure why or how they came up with this idea. I have to say though, that my husband & I are pretty much the same way with our family now though..we don't discuss finances. And I have no real explanation as to why, except that's what was passed down to us from our families. I don't know that it's necessarily the way to be though. I'm real curious to see how others respond to your question. Good topic.

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S.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

My ex and I share most of our financial information, because if either of us dies, the other will be supporting our daughter. No one else knows my financial details.

I have a general idea how much some of my friends and family members earn because I've worked as a recruiter and know how much different types of jobs pay. I do not know about their debt or expenses, however, and have no interest in knowing.

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V.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

Our tax preparer (aside from a professional you mentioned in your question). That's it. Our family on both sides has a lot of variety when it comes to financial means. And some on both sides have made some less than wise decisions about money in the past that still haunts them today. My husband and I, while not set for life by any means, are doing pretty darn alright. We have a budget we have to stick to (everyone does, whether they acknowledge the boundaries that sets is another issue altogether), but we are not lacking for much of anything--a new car would be nice, but I'm pretty happy with the one I have now, so long as it keeps going, lol.

We do spend on what others in our families might consider "luxuries" but that is our choice to make. I sometimes think that our families think we make a lot more than we do... but really, we have always just tried to live "moderate" lives. We don't take trips overseas (except for our honeymoon 15 years ago) for spring break or vacations...heck we don't even go away for a full week for summer vacation. We tend to go 4-5 days and then come home. But we eat out at Outback or a decent seafood restaurant sometimes and getting a meal out (even if it is a pizza in a pizza place-not home delivery) every week is not unusual. We enjoy our cup of cafe coffee once a week (daily on vacation)...and buy beans from Starbucks not Maxwell House. Some people find that wasteful or extravagant. To us it isn't. So I find it is easier just to not discuss too many details.

I know both sides of our family assume that we will never need to ask them for money. And there are some on both sides that aren't doing so hot financially right now and could use some help. To discuss the details would seem like flaunting... so we don't. We certainly aren't "rich", lol. But I think that is part of why people don't discuss it. Everyone has different priorities, and our society in America is leaning towards everyone "deserving" to "earn" the same...... well... that isn't how the world functions. Some jobs pay better. Some people are better at some jobs than others, etc etc etc. So to be blatant/completely forthright about income, seems 'unseemly', because you could almost equate it with trying to imply that someone is "better" than someone else just because of the differences in income. So no one wants to go there.

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J.B.

answers from Denver on

I feel exactly the same way about this. Funny that we're freer to discuss the nasty bits of our sex lives rather than our finances. I'd figure sex to be the more hush-hush topic..... personally.

We're financially frank with our parents. My husband moreso than I am. But, if I asked I tell it truthfully.

I think people are so secretive about their earnings and savings/debt because everyone lies so much about what they can and can't do. It would force people to be more honest in general about how they feel about things.

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K.M.

answers from San Francisco on

My dad, we talk about anything with him. He always has awesome ideas of how to save or invest or what to buy (kind of car, insurance, etc)
I don't talk to my friends at all about our finances, specially when we've been pretty tight on $ lately. I feel embarrased and I feel I might be judged for it ugh!

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C.R.

answers from Seattle on

Pretty much no one... Some of my friends know roughly what I make just because of my job and credentials, but only my best friend knows exactly. She has the same job and same credentials, but a different district, so we've discussed it. My parents have a sense of our financial situation and only because they watch my little girl 3 days a week and have gotten a sense of it over the past 3 years, but not actual numbers. So, yeah, no one really. :-)

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V.B.

answers from Houston on

Well, since we have no debt, I am fine with sharing our financial situation. I don't share our income, but I am happy to say that we have no car payments, no credit card debt and enough money in the bank to put a down payment on our next home even though we haven't closed on our current one yet. This is a great feeling to me (to be so financially secure), so I like to share how we got there and that it takes sacrifice. I don't make a point to "brag" about it or anything, but if it comes up in conversation, I'm comfortable discussing it.

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T.C.

answers from Dallas on

Hmmm...no one. Just my hubby and I. My mom knows what our potential financial situation will be like if my hubby gets this new job, but she doesn't know our current one.

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L.F.

answers from San Francisco on

We try to keep our finances to ourselves. There are only a few people who know what we make per year and personally, I would like to keep my finances private. I don't want everyone knowing my buisness.

M

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K.E.

answers from Jacksonville on

My husband and I are both state employees and our salary scales are published, public information.....so if someone asks about what we make I tell them and sometimes I freely blurt it out if that topic comes up. I have no shame or pride in the money I make....I have pride in what I do for a living and that is worth more to me than the paycheck.

We do our best to live within our means, save what we can and provide what we can for ourselves and our children. If other people think we overspend or underspend that is their issue, not mine. I'm perfectly happy with the life we are creating for ourselves and have no shame in letting others know that, regardless of what they think or how they think we should be living.

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M.C.

answers from Washington DC on

My mom has access to my checking account, and family knows that we are strapped but surviving, but no one other than my SO knows the full picture. 1 because the family that would care are busy worrying about other family and 2 its a pride thing. We dug ourselves in by our choices and we're slowly climbing out.... very slowly.

M.

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L.S.

answers from Spokane on

We talk about finances with our parents and siblings in depth. To lesser degrees I've discussed how much our mortgage payments are and what my husband makes with some friends and my cousins.

I'm not hiding anything or ashamed of it, so why hide it? I mean, I don't post my bank statements on Facebook or anything....but if it's part of the discussion or is someone asks, then I'm pretty open about it.

Plus, I'm damn proud of my husband (and his job and salary) that allow me the opportunity to stay home with our three girls.

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F.H.

answers from Phoenix on

I made the mistake ONCE of telling my mom that my paycheck was NEGATIVE $250 (I'm an insurance agent and am commission only, got hit with a bunch of chargebacks). Anyway, I would go to the store with her and go to buy something and she would say "I thought you did't have any money". I swear, it was years after that bad check that I heard that from her. So now she knows NOTHING! And we dont discuss finances with friends or really anything else unless its very general.

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J.K.

answers from Phoenix on

no one but maybe our kids a little. I don't like people judging us.

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B.B.

answers from Dallas on

Dh and I are really the only ones who know the full picture of our finances. (His parents know a little and that's ok) I made the huge mistake of trusting my *best* friend with financial information and while she and I were going through a rough patch she told someone in my family our situation. Now my whole family thinks we are *rich* (rolls eyes) to the point my brother has said not to believe me if I said we didn't have money for something or another.

Funny she would do that to me as she is even more guarded about money than I am. I would not do this to her.

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G.B.

answers from Dayton on

I pretty much will tell you anything b/c we've made mistakes, learned a lot, and have come a long way. I think this taboo about talking about money is why so many people have such money and spending problems. If we don't talk openly about money, how can we expect people, our kids especially, to know what to do? Why do we have to keep repeating the same mistakes family to family and generation to generation? What used to be common sense money practice no longer is and I think it's b/c we, as a society, don't talk about it.

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L.C.

answers from Raleigh on

I am with RJ from Seattle, talk to anybody about our $. As Christians we do not really look at it as OUR money, they are God's and we just manage it.

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W.K.

answers from New York on

If someone asks me a question I would answer it honestly I as could but generally I don't share financial info. It does seem like its rather taboo to talk about salary and bills and such, but people talk about sexual conquests with no problem. People have this idea that money defines you when it does not. Even when I tried to go into becoming Financial Advising no one wanted to share information so I just left that field. Its was just too hard to get people to open up. I dont have an accountant, tax person or financial advisor. Ive done it all myself, so only myself and barley my husband knows about our Financial situation. He does not really get involved.

My husband is in a union and well they all make the same amount of money, my son is working there for the summer and he is making the same amount as people that have been there for years, no secret there. Thats just how it works there. I run my own online business and my husband does not even know how much I make. Not cause I dont want to tell him it just does not come up and I dont volunteer the info. The rest of my family is not really aware of our financial status but they do share theirs with me. I know all about my sister, my father, my mother, my sister in law... you name it.

They do seem to think we have a lot. When my grandmother passed away they all came to me asking to borrow money for the funeral and all. I was about to do it when it turned out she had money for the funeral (life insurance). We make it a point never to lend to family, we've been burned a few times.

I guess thats why we dont tell people.

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E.B.

answers from Beaumont on

In our case it would be a need to know basis. For example, if a friend was worried about their credit card debt or how much they had saved for retirement. I might share our situation to give them an indication of where others might be on that particular thing. No one knows real numbers, just ballpark figures.

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T.W.

answers from Denver on

Ya know, it really doesn't come up much with anyone outside immediate family. I have never cared much about who knows what anyways. I have been very frank with my mom due to some pending financial needs but outside of that I don't think anyone has ever asked and I really don't run into situations where I need to share.

Who cares unless you need to ask someone for money or if you need to loan someone some money.

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A.C.

answers from Savannah on

I noticed when I was working for a financial firm that it was a very "intimate" topic. Not that it's "right", but I think we tend to perceive our value and worth in our financial status. Our own self worth is held with a little more care than how often we have sex, or with who. (In some circles, perhaps their sex life adds to their perceived value).

That said, I don't talk about money much in detail, in "real life" (on the computer while being pretty anonymous, I may say more than I would to someone who could gain access to my wallet, lol). Pretty much anyone can know that we don't think debt is a good thing, that saving is a good thing, that we don't believe in keeping up with the Jones' and we're pretty financially conservative but doing just fine and aren't doing without. I may or may not mention coupons which I do use (the normal way, not the extreme way, lol) depending on if it comes up. Not like I'm ashamed or hiding that; in fact I'm kind of proud of doing my part to assist in our income. That's probably about all though. My bff of 21 years: I helped her make a budget using ours as a model, and also taught her how to shop sales papers, file coupons, and do some simple things like that. Maybe 3 people in real life know things I've mentioned several times on mamapedia, lol....the plan for me to go to school now, go to work when the boys are in school full time, so my husband can retire at some point in life. (ha) But that's something that comes out when it's a 2 way conversation and asking how to plan, or what to do if..., etc.

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G.H.

answers from Chicago on

As far as income we discuss with my husbands parents & my best friend of many years. My husband is pretty open about his salary if anyone wants to talk money, he has no problem saying how much he makes.

And for the whole financial picture, I don't think anyone knows about our savings, retirement, investments, etc. I assume his parents probably have an idea about the total number combined.

But we don't have a problem telling our friends or children that we are completely debt free besides our mortgage.

Great question, not sure why money is so taboo in our country. I guess too much judgement if you have a lot of debt or jealousy if you don't have much. We should learn from the people who are doing it *right*, so we can be on the right track too.

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