We share a lot with the people we love — hopes, dreams, secrets. But, it turns out, many of you out there wait a really long time before you tell your significant other about your salary.
Do you keep your salary secret from everyone, even your loved ones? Here’s what the latest research tells us, and why it’s important.
We Really Don’t Like to Share Our Salary
According to a new survey, 1 in 5 Americans don’t like to talk paychecks with their significant other. The research, conducted by financial services firm Aspiration, went on to show that some of us wait for major relationship milestones to share, like moving in together – “Can you afford your half of the rent?” – or even until we’re about to get married! That’s a long time to stay mum.
According to a new survey, 1 in 5 Americans don't like to talk paychecks with their significant other. In fact, some of us wait for major relationship milestones to share, or even until marriage! That's a long time to stay mum.
“Money has traditionally been a taboo topic in America and people don’t like to discuss it because it makes them uncomfortable,” said Andrei Cherny, co-founder and CEO of Aspiration. “However, this unfortunately results in many Americans having limited financial literacy — how are people supposed to learn how to deal with their money in a responsible way, if nobody ever wants to talk about it?”
Sharing Your Hopes and Dreams (Along with Your Take-home Pay)
If you’ve ever been saddled with a bit of personal debt or experienced stressful financial issues, and you turned to friends or family for some advice on how you can turn things around, you likely needed to spill the beans about your salary. And that was probably hard.
Erin Lowry at Broke Millennial writes about why it’s so hard for us to find the courage to talk about money, especially when we’re struggling with it.
“Sharing your financial picture with friends in your age bracket, with about the same education levels and/or similar socio-economic backgrounds can feel like you’re all ‘whipping it out to measure up’ – and you know exactly what I mean,” Lowry writes. “This is because money, and our decisions related to money, is often used as a touchstone for our self worth and our intelligence. Not saying that’s right, just saying that’s how it is.”
Instead of keeping our finances a closely held mystery, we should open up to get better insight into how we could all be more fiscally responsible.
“The more we’re willing to go on record about failures and victories with money, then the easier it will be for everyone to have a high rate of financial literacy,” adds Lowry. “But for the same reason my friend hesitated to share her real numbers with me, I often opt out of getting financially naked with all my friends.”
What to Do If You Want to Share, But They Don’t
Starting a conversation with your partner about salary can be rough, especially when you’re just getting to know one another. But it is part of being a responsible adult and partner these days.
There’s no right or wrong way to talk money, even though it may seem uncomfortable. If your relationship is getting serious, and you want to invest in something together (like an apartment, for example) you will have good reason to discuss important money matters — and you’ll have an idea of what’s the best time (a calm Sunday afternoon) or the worst time (in the middle of a hectic weeknight) to sit down for “the talk.”
Dr. Amy Wenzel at Huffington Post has some ideas for financial topics that you should discuss, which all come with talking paychecks and take-home pay. You should, at the very least, be ready to talk about:
• Amount of debt and your plans for paying it off
• Amounts of savings and other assets
• Spending habits and budgets
• Financial styles
Get out ahead of these awkward conversations with your partner by being open and outright about what you’re bringing home and where you see yourself in the future. Planning a life together (or even just a year’s lease) means you need to talk about and plan some serious adult stuff. And even though that might sound scary, you can do it!
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
Did you ever put off “the talk” about finances with a partner? Did you eventually sit down and discuss? We want to hear about it! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.