Why is talking about money taboo?

New / Eng ufJz68
Nov 25, 2018 35 Comments

I grew up in a post-communism family with the added bonus of an alcoholic father who literally gambled away my small college fund. Money was always on everyone's mind and is a frequent topic or discussion St home even as we've moved up across three generations.

People give me funny looks when I ask what they pay for rent though? Or what their salary is just so we know if either of us are being unfairly compensated.

Why is talking about money taboo?

TC:$210k and some change. 4 YoE. Went to a state school that offered me a nearly free education.

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TOP 35 Comments
  • Compass / Eng
    FUPayMe

    Compass Eng

    PRE
    Google
    FUPayMemore
    Because people are insecure and one of the primary insecurities all people and couples face is financial.
    Nov 25, 2018 3
    • New / Eng ufJz68
      OP
      BINGO: Reason #1 for my parents' divorce was that. People give me strange looks when I say I want my partner to be as good or better than me financially.
      Nov 25, 2018
    • Apple Okidoki
      “or better than me financially.” - so you allow yourself to be worse than your partner financially, but not your partner?
      Nov 25, 2018
    • New / Eng ufJz68
      OP
      Man can dream
      Nov 25, 2018
  • Microsoft sqiF24
    What post communism family are you from with FOUR years of experience?
    Nov 25, 2018 5
    • New / Eng ufJz68
      OP
      Former Soviet Union. Was literally born on the way out.
      Nov 25, 2018
    • Microsoft sqiF24
      Why did you start working at 23?
      Nov 25, 2018
    • New / Eng ufJz68
      OP
      Uhm, doesn't everybody start right out if college?
      Nov 25, 2018
    • AMD / Eng Zootaxy
      Microsoft does not know how to do math with dates
      Nov 25, 2018
    • Gusto plskillme
      Lol
      Nov 25, 2018
  • Facebook public2
    No value in discussing something that can only lead to arguments, jealousy, or envy.
    Nov 25, 2018 3
    • New / Eng ufJz68
      OP
      Is it more information better than new information? Painful as though it might be
      Nov 25, 2018
    • Facebook public2
      Usually not. How would knowing your friends rent or salary help you? The market is never fair, and someone will always be a better negotiator or luckier than you. If it turns out you are the luckier one how will that help your friend? There's no value to either.
      Nov 25, 2018
    • New DuQvV7x
      @OP, here’s a thought experiment that’s a direct analogy.

      Would you consider sharing a picture of your genitalia including dimensions with all your friends?

      Why/why not?

      We all try to hide our “shortcomings”. Our sense of identity is built on top of this.
      Nov 25, 2018
  • OSIsoft
    Qvd

    OSIsoft

    PRE
    OSIsoft
    Qvdmore
    My two cents. Instead of asking for friend's rent, you can ask for the range of rent in friend's area. That way you get a better and useful answer than just one data point. Also, if the friend is open to sharing his rent, he will pretty much reveal how much does he pay to you give you an example.

    You can do the same with salaries. Questions like asking for salary range for some role with some years of experience at some location- will not offend anyone.
    Nov 25, 2018 2
    • New / Eng ufJz68
      OP
      That's what I do but some people get really touchy about it.
      Nov 25, 2018
    • New DuQvV7x
      Ask yourself why do you need to know your friends rent.

      What functional value will this provide to you? Or your friend?
      Nov 25, 2018
  • Amazon ranald
    All this and no TC reveal?
    Nov 25, 2018 0
  • New
    nYsJ38

    New

    PRE
    Google
    nYsJ38more
    Dude. This is some immigrant mentality that dies hard. There are also many Americans who are clueless and grew up in a barn too. You DO NOT ask anyone - even friends - about their TC and - a lesser taboo - you DO NOT ask about their apartment rental rate and especially about any terms of their home purchase unless that person initiates. It is considered rude. Take note. Hope this helps.
    Nov 25, 2018 0
  • New DuQvV7x
    When you don’t have a lot of it, money is hard to talk about. It represents a future that is out of reach, and forces you to re-examine decisions you’ve made in life.

    When you make a lot of it, you want to talk about it all the time. It’s triumphalism and quite natural.

    An option is to just look for like-minded high earners. Talk about money all day. Dunk on each other. Start with /r/fatFIRE. Or, join a country club.

    Just don’t be a jerk to your friends & family.
    Nov 25, 2018 0
  • Adobe bbft42
    TC?
    Nov 25, 2018 4
    • New / Eng ufJz68
      OP
      Updated
      Nov 25, 2018
    • Adobe bbft42
      Talking money is as bad as politics or religion; some people assign value/worth.
      Nov 25, 2018
    • New / Eng ufJz68
      OP
      That boggles my mind
      Nov 25, 2018
    • Adobe bbft42
      me too
      Nov 25, 2018
  • New / Other
    Call Me.

    New Other

    BIO
    Turned my beeper on.
    Call Me.more
    I hate when ppl ask about my rent. How does it affect you and your life? I've had folks leave and grab a brochure from the leasing office to see. Typically, if I do answer, I'm told how stupid I am to pay this much and I could get something cheaper in some random ass neighborhood...It's their money and their life, they don't need to share it with you. You don't pay their bills.
    Nov 25, 2018 0
  • VMware BobbleHat
    Born in the US but I think the taboo is really strange. I feel at some level everyone here is insecure about their position in society. I would rather have an open society where I can talk about my shortcomings and get help as needs rather than always trying to hide in case someone will judge me.
    Nov 25, 2018 3
    • New
      nYsJ38

      New

      PRE
      Google
      nYsJ38more
      It’s been done before. Go on Wikipedia and search for “German Democratic Republic” or “USSR”. Surely you can get to rental cost equality this way too...
      Nov 25, 2018
    • VMware BobbleHat
      I don’t know what you are talking about.
      Nov 25, 2018
    • VMware BobbleHat
      To see a more open society go east where families are more important like china. Everyone knows financial details of family and friends. Nothing to do with USSR.
      Nov 25, 2018
  • Cruise Automation mocca
    Not something I speak about unless I'm somewhat close to them. Then it's all fair game and details and strategies.

    Making more than the average person and speaking about it can cause resentment and also make you vulnerable to theft.
    Nov 25, 2018 2
    • VMware BobbleHat
      You have some really bad friends
      Nov 25, 2018
    • Cruise Automation mocca
      Why bad friends? I'm very open with friends. Read the second sentence. Friends we're open about finances, new jobs, negotiation tactics, help each other out whether it's this or other emotional times.
      Nov 26, 2018
  • Google cocb05
    Haven’t really run into anyone who gets weirded out when talking about rent. Actual compensation is a bit more guarded though.
    Nov 25, 2018 0
  • Microsoft TrumpWins
    I think old school Americans are the ones who don't like to talk TC with people they aren't close with. Cause your TC has a status aspect attached to it and people are assumed to get jealous or resentful, or the person doesn't want to come across as arrogant by boasting about how much money they make.

    But I've noticed that the younger generations love to talk about how much they make because they love to boast and compare themselves to others just like they would on social media
    Nov 25, 2018 0