Talking about your salary can be a bit awkward, and you’re not the only one stuck in the talk about it or not dilemma. Let’s work on getting you out of it! 

Discussing your salary with family and friends has many benefits, like getting to know how much they’re paid so you can negotiate a raise. This may only work if they’re in the same industry as you. However, if you’re the one who’s making the most, you might have to face some resentment. 

Let’s take a look at how we can answer the big question. In this article, we’ll clear up whether and how you should talk about your salary, if ever, and all the pros and cons of it. 

Should You Discuss Your Salary With Family and Friends? 

Talking about your salary with your family and friends isn’t easy. Most people don’t discuss their salaries with others because they think that others might be making more than them. However, the real question that needs to be answered here is, so what if they are? 

Discussing your salary with family and friends is not as bad as you think. In fact, doing so can help free you from expectations of how much you should be paid. Talking about your salary can also give others the confidence to open up about how much they make. These discussions have often been considered taboo as most people see them as an invasion of privacy. 

However, they can be productive conversations. Think about it, it’ll give you and everybody else in the conversation an accurate sense of whether their paycheck is fair. These conversations won’t just stop at the money, they can go into how salaries are calculated. Hence, you’ll be able to figure out what skills you can improve.


Is It Rude To Discuss Your Salary With Family and Friends?

Some people don’t really like to talk about money, simply because the conversation is a bit uneasy for them. So, if you consider discussing your salary with someone like that, they might find it a bit rude. However, those who are a bit more social will definitely welcome the conversation. 

So, where exactly do you draw the line? Well, the thing is, some topics aren’t rude on their own but can be seen as rude, given how or when they’re talked about. Give it a thought. You just got a promotion and want to share the good news over dinner. However, someone else at the table might be going through a rough patch and will find the conversation rude. 

Saying that talking about salary is rude, to begin with, isn’t entirely true. It depends on the social setting you are in. So, if you’re at dinner, maybe this isn’t such a hot topic for the conversation. However, the entire story changes when you’re in a professional environment where discussing your salary can be appropriate. 

Advantages Of Talking About Your Salary With Family and Friends

Most people shy away from conversational topics such as religion, life goals, and money because they’re a bit personal. However, talking about your salary with family and friends has many benefits. 

Talking about how much you make with your friends can lead to all sorts of things, such as jokes or mockery. However, all of them aren’t necessarily bad. Say your friends work in the same industry as you, which they probably do; talking about your salary with them can help you figure out if you’re being paid fairly. 

This discussion will likely open opportunities for you to ask for a raise or maybe even hop jobs. That’s if your friends are willing to put in a word for you. In addition, talking about salaries can open investment opportunities. It’s a bit of a stretch, but think about it, people won’t make investment offers if they don’t know you have any money to invest. 

Disadvantages Of Talking About Your Salary With Family and Friends

As mentioned, these discussions can go south simply because discussing salaries is something not everyone is comfortable with. So talking about salaries does have a few drawbacks. To start off, if you’re the one who’s making the most, chances are that other people may begin to resent you simply out of jealousy. 

The Equality Act 2010 gives employees the right to discuss their salaries with co-workers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. Talking about salaries with your co-workers can lead to them treating you differently if you’re earning more than them. This, in turn, can create an unhealthy workplace environment. 

If they’re earning more than you, you’ll begin to wonder why you’re underpaid, and this’ll have a negative effect on your productivity. Other than this, if people know how much you have, they’re likely to ask for favours you end up paying for. Although helping others is a good thing, if you’re a giver, you need to set your limits because takers don’t have any. 

Why Should You Keep Your Income Private From Friends?

Talking about how much money you make with your friends isn’t really a good idea. Friends get together every now and then to escape the 9 to 5 rat race. Bringing up salaries can spoil the meet-up. However, that’s not the only reason you should keep your income private. 

If you’re the only one talking about their salary among friends, it might seem like bragging. In addition, some of your friends might not be making as much as they do. Talking about your salary in front of them, they might not enjoy your company as much as they do. If you’re making a lot of money, it’s better to keep it private. 

Letting your friends know about it would likely lead to them pushing you to spend more. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but this means that your savings are going to take a dip. On the contrary, they might start judging you and degrading your talents if you’re making less money.

Should You Discuss Your Salary With Coworkers?  

As mentioned, all employees in the UK are legally allowed to discuss their salaries with co-workers. This means that your employer can’t stop you from talking about your salary. In addition, if a clause in your contract prohibits you from doing so, it can’t be legally enforced. Now that you know you’re legally allowed to discuss your salary, the main question is, should you? 

One of the main risks that come with discussing your salary with your colleagues is their shift in behaviour and attitude toward you. This is one of the most common things that happens when one employee finds out that the other is being paid more for the same job. These changes in attitude and behaviour can sour professional relationships. 

Therefore, it’s better to avoid such discussions with your coworkers. Furthermore, your co-worker might not be telling the truth about their salaries due to embarrassment or a lack of understanding of how their salary is calculated. However, if you need to talk about your salary with a colleague, it should be to support each other and ensure that everyone is receiving fair pay. 


How To Talk About Your Salary? 

Discussing your salary with others can open new opportunities, but it also has many risks attached to it. Those thinking about discussing their salaries often hesitate because it’s a sensitive topic. However, a step-by-step approach can be used to get the conversation going. 

  1. Breaking The Taboo
    The first step in initiating such a discussion is recognising that talking about salaries has long been considered taboo. One that now needs to be broken. Overcoming such beliefs is a bit difficult initially, but centring the conversation around money, in general, can help. 
  2. Establishing Trust
    People need to trust each other before they talk about salaries. Simply asking how much the other person earns might make them sceptical. Needlessly sharing your salary might position you as a showoff. So it’s important to tell others why you want to talk about salaries.
  3. Knowing The Rules
    Before starting a conversation about salaries, it’s important to know the rules of discussing sensitive topics. During such conversations, it’s important to be empathic and speak and listen with intent. Other than this, it’s important to provide accurate guidance and show appreciation where appropriate. 
  4. Looking At The Bigger Picture
    One of the most common things people do is be arrogant if their salary is higher or demotivated if it’s lower. However, it’s important to understand that these conversations aim to help you learn whether you’re being paid fairly or not. So, it’s better to avoid any immediate reactions. 

Key Takeaways 

Talking about salaries has long been considered taboo because of its sensitive nature. You can discuss your salary with family, friends, or colleagues to find out if you’re being paid fairly. However, if these conversations are poorly initiated and executed, they can lead to feelings of resentment.

In addition, it can also create misconceptions about your intentions. Therefore, it’s important to establish trust with the other person before your talk about salaries. Those wanting to talk about salaries should clarify their intentions and look at the bigger picture throughout the conversation. 

As always, please remember I am an Accountant, but not your Accountant. In this post (and all of my others) I share information and oftentimes give anecdotes about what has worked well for me. However, I do not know your personal financial situation and so do not offer individual financial advice. If you are unsure of a particular financial subject, please hire a qualified financial advisor to guide you.

This article has been written by Luke Girling, ACA – a qualified Accountant and personal finance enthusiast in the UK. Please visit my About page for more information. To verify my ACA credentials – please search for my name at the ICAEW member finder. To get in touch with questions or ideas for future posts, please comment below or contact me here.