How Much Money Do You Make?

Posted by Mrs Money on April 18th, 2011

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When I was in eighth grade I was assigned a project on budgeting.  We were told to go home, ask our parents how much money they made, and come up with a budget based on those numbers.  I remember at the time I was too shy and also knew better than to ask my dad how much money he made.  I knew that was a taboo subject.  I ended up making up a number I thought was a good salary and went with that.  A few years ago, my dad shared some financial information with me and told me not to tell my mother.  I laughed, listened to what he had to say, and then kept it to myself.

I’ve turned to my parents for financial advice many times.  What’s really funny is that they don’t know how much money Mr. Money and I make.  However, my “adopted parents” do because they help us every year with our taxes.  It doesn’t feel weird at all knowing that they know how much money we make, but I almost don’t want my parents (or my inlaws) knowing how much money we make.  I guess it’s as though I feel like they assume that we make more money than we do and I don’t want to disappoint them.

I think it’s interesting to try to guess peoples’ salaries.  I honestly don’t think I’d want to know how much money people made, especially friends or family members.  I think when you know too much about someone’s finances sometimes it can cause jealousy and problems.  For instance, if I had $2,000 in my emergency fund and my friend knew it and was going through a hard time they may ask to borrow money.  If I decided to turn them down because I think you should never let friends borrow money, then the friend may think I am cruel and heartless because I’ve denied them a loan.  If they didn’t know how much money we had in the first place that wouldn’t be a problem.

I’m proud of how much money I make but I also don’t think it’s that great of an amount.  My husband makes more money than me, and we can definitely live off it, but by no means are we rolling in the dough.  He’s worked very hard to get where he is and I’m very proud that he loves what he does, so I think that’s worth more than him working a job he hated but making $20,000 more a year.  I’d rather have him happy than rich and miserable.

I think it’s funny how money can be such a taboo subject.  I prefer to keep our salaries to ourselves but many others don’t mind sharing how much money they make each year and that’s fine.  To each their own. I’m curious whether I’m in the majority or the minority.  I know my family is very private when it comes to the numerical details of their finances, but I know that’s probably not the case with all families.

Do you keep your salary and financial life private? Would you share your financial info with family and friends?

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34 Responses to “How Much Money Do You Make?”


  1. Ravi Gupta says:

    I try to keep it private from friends and family. I’ve lent to my parents before and I might have lent to a friend in need. The other day he asked if it comes down to it would I be able to help? I said yes and to this day I regret it because I don’t want to mix friends and money. Following this event I’ve capped the amount at $1000 and if need be that’s the most I’m willing to ever lend out. Money can be a great burden at times, even when you have plenty of it.

    -Ravi Gupta

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Ravi- I’ve made the mistake of lending money to a “friend” and never got it back. It was $1500 so it stung but I’m thankful it wasn’t more than that! That stinks. Money totally can be a burden at times.

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  2. Johnny Debt says:

    I am often amazed at how often I come across couples who don’t know what the other half makes.

    I even have some people looking for debt solutions and want to try and do it without telling their partners!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Johnny- Most of the time I forget how much I make! ;)

    Now that’s crazy. I would be so mad if I found out my husband was trying to do something like that without me!

    [Reply]

  3. Karen says:

    I have a pretty open attitude about my finances. I’m pretty hard to offend, and if someone asks me a direct question, I usually don’t mind answering it. But I try to be sensitive to the fact that most people are more private about their finances. I never ask other people about money or offer information without being asked. I don’t want it to seem like I’m bragging about how much something costs.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Karen- I think it’s different with certain people. For instance, I would discuss more finances with certain friends versus others. I guess it depends on my comfort level with them?

    [Reply]

  4. Kacie says:

    If someone wants to know how much money I, Kacie, earned…I’ll tell ‘em. I earn money on my blog and through freelancing projects, and people might be really curious for how much money a blog might earn (I recently tallied it up, and since August 07 it has earned about $16k. Much of that went away to taxes, though!).

    But Shane’s salary…yeah I’ll keep that to myself since I don’t see what good can come of that. His parents and my parents know what he makes, since they are nosy and point-blank asked him, and he told them. I don’t think it’s any of their business and I think it would be good whenever he gets another job to just not tell them at all.

    I don’t want people in our family to think, “Oh, Shane makes $x…his house should be (whatever), his car should be (whatever), and (whatever….etc)” because how we spend our money isn’t their business! Further, someone’s salary is only one aspect of their financial picture. It is MUCH more important how they spend their money.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Kacie- That’s pretty darn good! I hate that a lot of it went to taxes. That’s a big downfall. I thought- oh yay! I can make money blogging and then be able to do that versus working. Uh, no. First of all the money I make isn’t that much, and then I’ve got to pay more taxes on it! Bummer.

    I can’t believe that both of your parents would point blank ask them! I can totally see why you wouldn’t want them to know. I’m the same way with our families: I’d rather have them guess than know because then they may feel like we make a lot of money, or they might think that we’re poor! It could go either way.

    I totally agree with you.

    [Reply]

    Karen Reply:

    That is such a good point, Kacie! It’s so true that how you spend is much more important than what you earn. My sister and her husband make almost twice as much as Tony and I do … and yet they’re always broke and scraping for money. If you’re smart with your money, it’s possible to live rich on a small income. And if you make dumb choices, it’s possible to feel broke even though you’re earning a ton.

    [Reply]

  5. Normally when someone asks me how much I make I will give them a general between number. For instance I might say around 40 to 45 thousand per year. But never an exact amount. Except for applications and such.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    BTSM- I think that’s a pretty good idea! It’s hard to put your salary on applications sometimes too.

    [Reply]

  6. Jessica07 says:

    Great post topic. I’m not too keen on letting my mother-in-law know how much I make, and my parents only care that my husband and I would be okay in an emergency. No one other than the tax accountant ever gets told how much we actually bring in. We’ve lived on both sides of the spectrum, and either people are feeling sorry for you (as if we must want to end our own lives if we’re below the poverty line) or else they’re resentful and think you should give them money whenever they ask. In reality, we’re somewhere in the middle of that right now, but we’ve definitely learned that keeping how much we make to ourselves is the best route to take for everyone involved (or who THINK they’re involved).

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Jessica- My parents are pretty much the same way, and so are Mr. Money’s. I totally know what you mean- I don’t want someone thinking we’re rich and should be able to afford whatever, but I also don’t want them thinking we’re poor. I think we make a decent salary, but we’re definitely not rolling in the dough.

    [Reply]

  7. In my husband’s family everyone knows who makes what. It is pretty easy to know what the SAHM makes in salary (not in contribution!) and the three brothers belong to the same union so they definitely know what each other makes because it is roughly the same.

    I don’t mind discussing finances with my MIL (although lately I feel a little bad since she has been laid off for a year! But I do know how much she made when she got laid off, how much she gets on unemployment and how much her job interviews offer). It just isn’t a taboo subject in my hubby’s family.
    My husband tells anyone who asks what he and I make. It is not a taboo subject for him- neither is how much is in our savings account (which I wish he would shut up about!!) and how much we have in debt.

    Oh well. I prefer to keep our finances to ourselves for our side of the family. Makes it easier to say NO when they ask for money.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Sandy- That’s interesting how it works in your family! It sounds like it works well though!

    That’s really nice you can be so open with your MIL and you are so helpful.

    I guess if I had a ton of money in savings I’d rather not have everyone know because then they may feel we can afford whatever, or be able to lend them money. ;)

    [Reply]

    Sandy H @ Journey To Our Home Reply:

    Right now we kinda have a ton of $ in savings, but in order to build the house we want we need about double. I don’t want him talking about it, because it is already spoken for and I don’t want to delay building any longer than we have to!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Sandy- That’s awesome! I am sure you’ll meet your goal in no time. I would love to build a house one day so I can have everything just how I want it. Maybe some day!

  8. I try my best to keep my income hidden, or at least cut my income by 1/3 of what I really make to keep things real.

    Sam

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Sam- I think that’s a good plan! It works out to be much easier that way.

    [Reply]

    Financial Samurai Reply:

    And now I realize I’ve already commented! Gosh, I don’t even remember where I comment. Getting old. See you on FS one day!

    [Reply]

  9. Rebecca says:

    I love talking finances. I love praising God for all the provisions He has given me and my family.

    My income is all over the place. I am a single mom. I got a small amount of child support ($7,000 a year) plus I run my own house cleaning business, and I do childcare on a part time basis.

    Last year every penny I made (including all income, gifts, child support, and tax refunds) was about $37,000 (but that was because in 2009 I bought a house and in 2010 got the extra $8,000 tax credit.)

    This year I will make about $22,000 with all work income, child support, and with my tax refund.

    But God works it out and we pay all our bills each month! Praise God!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Rebecca- I think $37,000 is a great amount! $22,000 isn’t bad either. I think a lot of it is how you spend your money. If you can stretch a buck, you’re good! :)

    [Reply]

    Rebecca Reply:

    It is good, but $1,000 a month goes to mortgage, taxes, and home insurance. So on the amount I plan to make this year that only leaves $800 left each month for:

    tithe $180 a month (it is all God’s money anyway)
    offering $50 a month (our sponsor child)
    food
    car insurance $100 a month
    gas for car $200 a month
    utilities $250 a month (gas, electric, internet, and water)
    clothes
    misc

    Thankfully we are all getting health insurance from the state, so we almost have no medical cost (I do not have dental or vision, so each year I spend about $600 on those for myself, new glasses, eye exam, and 1-2 dental cleanings, I take this money from my tax return.)

    But somehow it all works out and we pay each bill every month. Praise God!

    Currently I do owe $300 on a credit card plus have my mortgage, but credit card should be paid in full by the end of the month.

    I try super hard to stretch every dollar, make lots of food from scratch and reuse, reduce, and recycle to save money.

    My mom just blessed me with $200 to spend for clothes for me for spring/summer (I had two coupons for $75 and $50 off, so I almost got $400 worth of clothes.) I got 5 pairs new underwear, 4 new braas, a dress, capri’s, a skirt, shorts, and about 10 shirts. I am so blessed!

    God is so good!

    Thanks for your reply.

    [Reply]

    April Reply:

    Rebecca you are inspiring!

    I know so many people who make a lot of money each year and constantly complain that they don’t have enough. Your positive attitude about money inspires me to save more, give more, and make my money stretch as far as possible.

    Thank you!

  10. Most of the time I was working, my salary was a matter of public record, universities and Arizona Highways being state agencies. Maybe that’s made me obtuse…but I just don’t see what the big deal is about discussing what people earn.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Funny about Money- Interesting! I guess I’ve always felt like I don’t make enough money. My salary really isn’t that much, and I think it’s more so that I’m embarrassed than anything else…

    [Reply]

  11. optionsdude says:

    We talk about it somewhat in our household so my older kids have a rough idea what I make. My oldest had to make a budget as part of a school project as well and so got some rough idea with which to do her project. I think that she was somewhat shocked since we don’t live in accordance with our means. Much of it goes into retirement savings which isn’t apparent.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    optionsdude- That’s awesome you shared that with your daughter. I think it’s important for kids to have a good role model when it comes to money. I am glad my parents showed me how to live frugally!

    [Reply]

  12. Im very open about salary…if my friends were to ask i would tell them, same with my family. I wouldnt discuss with coworkers because that can cause rifts and its an HR policy issue. However, with friends/family, if they really care to know then what’s it going to affect if i tell them…nothing.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    MoneyIsTheRoot- I wouldn’t tell someone at work either how much I make, but I do have a few friends that know how much I make. My parents don’t know though, which may be weird.

    [Reply]

  13. Ah hah! HEre’s the post. Must go through the comments now.

    [Reply]


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