Back To Career News

Should You Tell Your Friends How Much Money You Make?

Information about your salary is probably something you don't care to share with too many people. Among friends, though, more and more of us are opting to be open about how much bacon we bring home. Here's why that might be a good thing.

Information about your salary is probably something you don’t care to share with too many people. Among friends, though, more and more of us are opting to be open about how much bacon we bring home. Here’s why that might be a good thing.

salary sharing

(Photo Credit: BradleyPJohnson/Flickr)

Knowledge Is Power

Do You Know What You're Worth?

For most people, particularly women and people of color, knowing how much our peers earn can be empowering. The sad truth is that women still earn less than men, and the gap widens even further for women of color. This is not to say that simply knowing what a co-worker makes will result in a corresponding raise for you. Nevertheless, having that information might encourage you to negotiate with more confidence during your next review.

It Is 100 Percent Legal

Nobody’s saying that just because something’s legal, it’s a good idea. Revealing this kind of personal information should always be voluntary and thought through. However, there can be a lot of misinformation around whether it is appropriate to share these details without risking your job. You might have been led to believe that your job is on the line once you clue in a co-worker, but it’s not at all the case. Many companies aren’t likely to encourage you to shout it from the rooftops, but this is largely due to the reason discussed above.

It Can Resolve Misunderstandings

Remember that episode of Friends where the three with more money want to hit up the fancy restaurants and spend lots on concert tickets? The reason the show resonated with its audience was because we have all been there.
Whether you were the struggling soap opera actor or the flush paleontologist (really?), it is highly likely that at some point you’ve had an awkward moment with a friend who makes much more or much less than you. By being transparent about what you both make, it’s easier to avoid those miscommunications.

Honesty Has Its Consequences

While the above points indicate that sharing your salary information with trusted friends can be a good decision, there are some potential side effects to consider. Depending on the relationship, being suddenly made aware of a friend’s earnings might inspire resentment, jealousy, or even pity.

One person in a friendship may be expected to pay for more than their fair share, if it’s obvious that they have a bigger bank account. Even if that’s not the case, the “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality will still emphasize what one person has and another does not. Only you can decide whether the relationship is strong enough to handle such a persistent taboo being broken.

The bottom line is that you should think carefully before telling friends what you make. If you’re on similar career paths, it could be beneficial to know whether one of you is being underpaid or taken advantage of. Be prepared for possible feelings of jealousy, though – their revelation might be bigger than you’re expecting.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have an interesting experience of sharing salary information with a friend? Would you recommend people reveal such details, or keep others in the dark? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment below, or join the conversation on Twitter.

Kirsty Wareing
Read more from Kirsty

Leave a Reply

1 Comment on "Should You Tell Your Friends How Much Money You Make?"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Kate Levinson
Guest
I always learn something when I talk personally about money. I’ve had experiences sharing income information that made me feel closer with friends and colleagues. And one that was surprisingly painful in which a friend revealed a competitive side her that I had not previously experienced–putting me down for how little I made. I learned that though she had been supportive in lots of other areas, she couldn’t be when it came to money. I’m very careful who I talk with and know that I will always feel vulnerability shame when I’m talking about my money–but am always glad when… Read more »
wpDiscuz
What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.