In todays society the subject of money is still considered a taboo topic in many respects, like discussing how much you earn or your net worth. Seems ironic though considering we're living in a world of heightened transparency where people express their wildest emotions on social media.
Not discussing money more openly means that we're probably missing out on learning new ways to save money as well as drawing on the financial experience of others around us to help improve our own situations. There are ways to listening to the way money talks, but things often get lost in translation, which is why discussing wealth more openly can very well lead to bigger savings and higher earnings.
Someone may never tell you what they earn, but being able to understand the language of money can surely give you a good idea. Have your neighbours recently bought a new car or has one of your siblings just bought a new house? Knowing if someone is in debt can be more difficult to identify, but plenty of assumptions can be made simply based on their appearance, car, lifestyle etc. So if we can make these sort of assumptions, why can't we simply talk about money and add value to our collective financial experiences?
Discussing with Co-Workers
The salary conversation with colleagues can be incredibly beneficial and it is completely legal to ask and confide in a co-worker on this matter. The advantages can be that if you know one employee is on the same professional level as you are but is earning more, it can give you the confidence to ask your boss for a raise the next time your annual review comes up.
This shouldn’t imply that you launch a full-scale discussion with every employee at the company to ascertain their salary. Use tact and speak with the colleagues you share lunch with, sit next to in the office or ones that you can trust. If you still feel rude asking your colleagues, the following websites can help you gauge whether your company is paying you the market rate for your position:
Discussing with Friends
If you find speaking to your colleagues difficult, then sometimes talking about this sort of thing with your friends can seem even more tricky, especially as your jobs may differ greatly. The main hindrance usually is jealousy, but it’s incredibly important to have people in your life that you know you can speak to about money. Swapping stories with friends about successes and failures can be a great way to learn about earning and saving money. A gambling friend might educate you on the drawbacks of losing hundreds on such risks, whilst a well-invested amigo might be able to share insightful knowledge to help you generate more wealth. These types of conversations can all be unlocked once a conversation about salary has been achieved, because once you're able to share with someone how much you earn, you can more openly discuss the aspects of gains and losses.
Let's say you decide to become debt free before the turn of 2017 by choosing to reduce the amount of meals you eat out with your friends or the number of times you hit the bars on a weekend. Should you avoid telling your friends the financial reasoning behind this decision, they probably won't understand why you appear to be avoiding them more often. This could lead to slowly getting fewer invitations to join your group of friends when a gathering gets planned.
However, if you took a different approach and discussed your financial situation with those friends and explained your decision to be debt free, the probability of them understanding will of course be far greater. The majority are likely to support and even encourage your goals. You may even be fortunate enough to have your friends bring the party to your house or host it at theirs to help keep costs down.
Discussing with Family Members
Money is often associated as being the root of all evil and there are countless stories of families being torn apart due to financial disagreements. There are ways in which you can minimise these situations occurring within your family though, such as:
- Being honest with family about your financial gains and struggles.
- Playing financially orientated games e.g. Monopoly to teach kids about money management and incorporate mini-money lessons from your experiences.
- Discussing the topic in detail, sharing your concerns and listening to the experience of others.
Talking about money and listening to other people's experiences around you can significantly help you avoid making the same mistakes they made (and even allow you to save more cash). Retail businesses are designed and heavily funded to coax you out of money in a multitude of creative ways. Thus, it makes sense to band together with your nearest and dearest to share stories about how you can retain as much of it as possible. Don't think of it as a competitive game like monopoly, instead think of it more as information sharing to ensure the ones you love can manage their finances better and a way for you to learn from those managing their finances more successfully.