How to respond when someone asks how much money you make?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
hayling
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:24 am

How to respond when someone asks how much money you make?

Post by hayling » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:27 pm

Just the other day I had two seperate guys at work ask me what my salary was. It wasn't out of context in the conversations we were having...I'm a government contractor and they are government employees who are curious how much more money they could make as a contractor. They aren't on my team and I only speak to them occasionally, so I think they felt safe(r) asking.

It caught me off guard in the first conversation so I told him an approximate number that was about 20k lower than my actual salary. In the second conversation I told him I'd rather not say. The conversation felt a little uncomfortable or awkward after that and ended shortly after, so I'm wondering if anyone has a more delicate or positive way to respond to this question. How do you respond if/when people ask this?

For context, I'm 27 and both of the guys I spoke to are around the same age.

User avatar
Sheepdog
Posts: 5184
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:05 pm
Location: Indiana, retired 1998 at age 65

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by Sheepdog » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:32 pm

I would never tell someone what I made. It can do no good to anyone for them to know. If such a question came up, I would say, "it is best that we don't know what we each earn. It is private, in my opinion."

Actually, my company frowned on sharing what we made. That is a good idea.
It's not what you gather, but what you scatter which tells what kind of life you have lived---Helen Walton

livesoft
Posts: 62776
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by livesoft » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:33 pm

I haven't ever been asked, but if I was asked, I would say something like, "You can investigate online what kind of salaries folks like me make."
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

User avatar
InvestorNewb
Posts: 1596
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:27 am

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by InvestorNewb » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:34 pm

It's a rude question for someone to ask in the first place. I would just say "it's personal" and leave it at that.

Here is a funny video that came to mind on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fYTCYL3Uz0
My Portfolio: VTI [US], VXUS [Int'l], VNQ [REIT], VCN [Canada] (largest to smallest)

User avatar
in_reality
Posts: 4529
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:13 am

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by in_reality » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:38 pm

"Not as much as I think I deserve. Beyond that I am too embarrassed to say."

Postmon
Posts: 293
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:46 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by Postmon » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:39 pm

Keep it light and say something like "not enough." If they pressed, say I just don't feel comfortable discussing it.

bluejello
Posts: 429
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:40 am

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by bluejello » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:44 pm

There are certain times when it's useful and appropriate to share your salary. For example, if I'm interviewing for a job I might ask friends who have similar jobs what their compensation is to use as a benchmark in my own negotiations. There's also nothing wrong with doing a little research to find out how much you can make if you were to move to another company or adjacent industry, which is what was happening in your case. I don't think it's rude, since it's not personal — the government employees were just trying to gather information about your industry.

I would've just answered with something like "The typical range for a position similar to mine is around $X to $Y".

As the asker, it is also be more polite to phrase the question in terms of a range rather than to ask outright "How much do you make?". e.g. "I'm curious, if I were to look for a job in government contracting, what kind of salary range could I expect?"
Last edited by bluejello on Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

investor1
Posts: 1040
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:15 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by investor1 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:47 pm

Not enough.

hayling
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:24 am

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by hayling » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:04 pm

InvestorNewb wrote:It's a rude question for someone to ask in the first place. I would just say "it's personal" and leave it at that.

Here is a funny video that came to mind on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fYTCYL3Uz0
I had a good laugh at that video!
Postmon wrote:Keep it light and say something like "not enough." If they pressed, say I just don't feel comfortable discussing it.
I like the idea of deflecting and keeping it light, thanks.
bluejello wrote:There are certain times when it's useful and appropriate to share your salary. For example, if I'm interviewing for a job I might ask friends who have similar jobs what their compensation is to use as a benchmark in my own negotiations. There's also nothing wrong with doing a little research to find out how much you can make if you were to move to another company or adjacent industry, which is what was happening in your case. I don't think it's rude, since it's not personal — the government employees were just trying to gather information about your industry.

I would've just answered with something like "The typical range for a position similar to mine is around $X to $Y".

As the asker, it is also be more polite to phrase the question in terms of a range rather than to ask outright "How much do you make?". e.g. "I'm curious, if I were to look for a job in government contracting, what kind of salary range could I expect?"
This is helpful! This approach balances my desire to help people with their careers while maintaining my privacy (at least somewhat). Good thoughts!

gks
Posts: 209
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:17 pm
Location: Middle Tennessee

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by gks » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:11 pm

hayling,

Never had that problem, because as a small city employee, my salary was published in most of the county newspapers annually.

Greg

ps

Had a corporate job at one time, and any discussion of salary was seriously frowned on.

g

User avatar
market timer
Posts: 5954
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:42 am

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by market timer » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:53 pm

Depends on the person asking. If someone is interested in moving into my field, and I don't want to give my exact salary info, I might give them a range of what they could expect to earn at various levels of seniority.

robert88
Posts: 366
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:27 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by robert88 » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:04 am

InvestorNewb wrote:It's a rude question for someone to ask in the first place. I would just say "it's personal" and leave it at that.
Since the people who were asking the question were government employees whose salary is a matter of public record down to the penny, they would probably find it bizarre that anyone would consider that question rude.

Mingus
Posts: 642
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:25 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by Mingus » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:10 am

Too easy.

Minimum wage, that sucks with child support and all

Shoot, after I pay all doze obamacare premiums not enuff dawg.

I'm doing pretty good actually, just got a 25 cent raise. I'm up to over ten bucks an hour.

Mingus
Posts: 642
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:25 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by Mingus » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:13 am

robert88 wrote:
InvestorNewb wrote:It's a rude question for someone to ask in the first place. I would just say "it's personal" and leave it at that.
Since the people who were asking the question were government employees whose salary is a matter of public record down to the penny, they would probably find it bizarre that anyone would consider that question rude.
Not true. I'm a fed and would never fathom of asking one of the contractors what they make. It's a lot less than the GS pay scale. At least where I work. I was friends with a girl at work who was a contractor and she told me her contractor pay after she accepted a federal position.

HIinvestor
Posts: 1690
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:23 am

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by HIinvestor » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:14 am

Agree that you can handle it as you feel makes the most sense--laugh and shrug it off as a random question or if you have a good relationship that you are trying to maintain and believe they are sincerely interested in considering switching into contracting, you can ask them that and give them a range of salary that is AROUND what they might get for a job like the one you (or they) are doing. H never mentioned this coming up when he worked with a lot of contractors in his decades of government service. He was never interested in switching to contracting and there were few to no openings in government where he worked.

User avatar
Doom&Gloom
Posts: 2292
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by Doom&Gloom » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:22 am

From my Southern raising:

Open mouth, squinted eyes, cocked head, and stare until the rude and nosy--err, inquisitive--person speaks again. Repeat as often as required.

User avatar
g$$
Posts: 447
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:17 am
Location: San Francisco

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by g$$ » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:19 am

Apparently i'm the only one that would respond with an honest answer. Maybe not an exact figure, but I would be willing give a range -- especially if my coworker did the same.

Employers frown on their employees exchanging this information because it gives their employees more bargaining power. If you can talk about this with your coworkers in an honest and disconnected way then you can only benefit from the conversation. Not saying that's easy to do... but it is good info to have for salary negotiations.

lack_ey
Posts: 6627
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:55 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by lack_ey » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:35 am

If somebody asks and is serious about it from the perspective of determining career paths and alternatives, that's one thing. If they're not, they can buzz off. You can screen people out is by turning right around and asking them what they make. It's only fair, if they brought the subject up. If you get an immediate, forthright answer, you can say the exact amount you make, a range for those in your position, or something as vague as "a lot more" or "slightly less" depending on your comfort level and the situation.

User avatar
4nursebee
Posts: 1084
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:56 am
Location: US

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by 4nursebee » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:48 am

I would only share with those close to me if I understood their motives.
Nobody has ever asked.
If curious about others, I do look online.
4nursebee

basspond
Posts: 1085
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:01 am

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by basspond » Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:52 am

I make closer to 0 than a million.

User avatar
wander
Posts: 2557
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:10 am

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by wander » Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:08 am

I make enough to support my family!

User avatar
leonidas
Posts: 415
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:58 am
Location: Mansfield Township, NJ

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by leonidas » Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:39 am

1 million dollars (in Dr Evil's voice) while raising your pinky to your mouth. If that doesn't do it, add a maniacal laugh.

User avatar
alec
Posts: 2952
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 2:15 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by alec » Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:04 am

market timer wrote:Depends on the person asking. If someone is interested in moving into my field, and I don't want to give my exact salary info, I might give them a range of what they could expect to earn at various levels of seniority.
+1. I think they're more interested in how much they could make. Just give them your opinion of how much you think they could make.
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" - Upton Sinclair

HoosierJim
Posts: 451
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:11 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by HoosierJim » Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:21 am

From what I've heard, the new working generation shares salary info very freely. At first, I thought this would do no good for anybody. Turns out - pay secrecy - is a conspiracy backed by employers to keep salaries lower. It can also be used by employers to hide gender/ageism pay differences/increases. Although company policies explicitly or implicitly require that salaries be kept secret - employees can't be banned from talking about work related items.

Altephor
Posts: 132
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:50 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by Altephor » Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:44 am

HoosierJim wrote:From what I've heard, the new working generation shares salary info very freely. At first, I thought this would do no good for anybody. Turns out - pay secrecy - is a conspiracy backed by employers to keep salaries lower. It can also be used by employers to hide gender/ageism pay differences/increases. Although company policies explicitly or implicitly require that salaries be kept secret - employees can't be banned from talking about work related items.

Agree with this. I worked for a company that frowned heavily on sharing pay rates, even between coworkers. I met my girlfriend at work, we were in the same position but I was there for 2 years longer and had a lot more responsibility. Come to find out she was making 2.00/hr more than I was. Not cool.

But if you're uncomfortable with the question, just say so. I agree with the person who said the government employees may not have issues with it because they all know exactly how much everyone that works with them makes.

whomever
Posts: 782
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:21 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by whomever » Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:56 am

"Never had that problem, because as a small city employee, my salary was published in most of the county newspapers annually."

Same here - there is a gentleman whose hobby is filing FOIA requests for salary info on WA public employees: lbloom.net

Even when I worked in private industry, it seemed like there was a good deal of knowledge floating around. In the days of printed paychecks, for example, the printer operators knew. The payroll clerks. Any programmers unscrupulous enough to look, etc. It's an interesting cultural thing; since I've never worked anywhere where my colleagues didn't have a good idea what I'm paid, if not the exact amount, having people know - or ask - doesn't bother me.

angelescrest
Posts: 947
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 10:48 am
Location: The Third Coast

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by angelescrest » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:05 am

g$$ wrote:Apparently i'm the only one that would respond with an honest answer. Maybe not an exact figure, but I would be willing give a range -- especially if my coworker did the same.

Employers frown on their employees exchanging this information because it gives their employees more bargaining power. If you can talk about this with your coworkers in an honest and disconnected way then you can only benefit from the conversation. Not saying that's easy to do... but it is good info to have for salary negotiations.
Exactly. Corporate frowns on it so says some...why else would they? To maintain more control.

User avatar
GerryL
Posts: 1897
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:40 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by GerryL » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:24 am

How about: "Well, why don't you tell me what you make and I'll tell you if mine is above or below that."

Gropes & Ray
Posts: 1067
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:28 am

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by Gropes & Ray » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:26 am

I think we should all be more open about our salaries and bonuses. I'm almost certain I make less that other attorneys with the same amount of experience, even though I'm sure I bring in more money, because my background isn't a top 10% of the class/editor of law review background. But it's hard to be the first person to break the taboo.

iaminam
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 9:39 am

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by iaminam » Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:35 am

"Hey, what's your salary man?"

"From where I come, You never ask a man his salary and a woman her age". :D

Johno
Posts: 1883
Joined: Sat May 24, 2014 4:14 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by Johno » Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:38 am

I agree depends on the someone. I found it to be a semi-obsession when I worked in the Far East years ago, how much do Westerners make? Strangers would ask me that as the second or third question in a casual conversation at the bus station, etc. The whole conversation though I guess was partly to practice their English, and I took to telling people in the native language I was German or something and didn't speak English :D . But I couldn't do that with local colleagues, who were also sure to ask the question eventually after some drinks at basically obligatory work/social occasions.

And one can imagine a whole range of other scenario's where the obvious answer is some more or less polite version of 'none of your business'. As also mentioned there might be cases where a young person genuinely interested in the field wants some idea; but presumably if tactful they wouldn't directly ask it as 'how much do *you* make?'

And the important case I can think of where it's not obvious you'd blow it off is discussion of compensation among members of the same firm or colleagues doing a similar job at other firms. Obviously there's still downside to revealing one's own comp in such cases, but also upside to learn what the compensation 'map' looks like. For example I recall a thread here just recently where a person was asking whether to accept a counter offer from their current firm after already having agreed to take a job somewhere else. If the person knew the compensation scheme, they could have demanded the right raise at the current firm, not have had to flush it out by taking an offer somewhere else, then look bad to the people at the new firm, and probably ultimately the existing firm, by backing out of the new job. In the ideal world you'd gain knowledge of compensation without having to disclose anything yourself, and needless to say without doing anything unethical (like looking at any purloined compensation lists). But in the real world you might have to give info to get info.
Last edited by Johno on Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.

pacodelostigres
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:14 am

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by pacodelostigres » Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:45 am

I generally respond by telling them how much money I make.

What's the big deal? I don't get it.

User avatar
oneleaf
Posts: 2344
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:48 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by oneleaf » Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:58 am

pacodelostigres wrote:I generally respond by telling them how much money I make.

What's the big deal? I don't get it.
Same here. In the half dozen times or so I have been asked over the past 15 years, I've always just told them what I make. If you don't want to tell someone, just say you don't want to. Simple as that.

WHL
Posts: 789
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:22 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by WHL » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:04 pm

I recently had a girl who I used to be, uh, "intimate" with ask me this question. I was like umm, it's not any of anyone's business. She said what's the big deal, I made xxx in 2014. I just excused myself from the convo.

WHL
Posts: 789
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:22 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by WHL » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:06 pm

Gropes & Ray wrote:I think we should all be more open about our salaries and bonuses. I'm almost certain I make less that other attorneys with the same amount of experience, even though I'm sure I bring in more money, because my background isn't a top 10% of the class/editor of law review background. But it's hard to be the first person to break the taboo.
Meh. What I make is none of your business, nor that of my coworkers. I don't need any guilt or shame, real or perceived. I would guarantee that open access to salary information would create issues.

MattE
Posts: 123
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:44 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by MattE » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:09 pm

+1 to all the comments about it not being a big deal and how peers\colleagues keeping that information secret does nothing but shortchange them at their employers' benefit. I'm a government contractor and work with two other guys that were hired within a month of me right after we all got out of college (~5 years ago at this point); pretty much one of the first things we do after having our annual salary action meetings is update each other on what we got\are making. My wife also works for the same company doing the same thing, as does one of my good college friends, so we've got a good little network of salary info sharing set up and we've absolutely seen the benefit of the additional leverage it gives us in salary negotiations.

2retire
Posts: 371
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:00 am

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by 2retire » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:26 pm

Depending on the context, I don't have a problem with telling people my salary. It is all in how the question comes up and why the person might be asking. For example, I don't have a problem discussing salaries with other people in my line of work or close family, but I wouldn't go discussing my salary with some of my service providers.

I agree that the whole don't tell your salary to anyone gives the companies more control over employees. I believe it was Suze Orman said that women should be more open to discussing their salaries in order to bring them closer to what men make.

What I really find funny is when people refuse to tell you how much something like a car, tv, computer, etc. costs. Like you can't easily find out by doing a simple search.

qui
Posts: 60
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:35 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by qui » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:28 pm

I find this cultural divide to be incredibly interesting. I happen to work in a field where my salary is visible to anyone who cares to look, and I spend a considerable amount of time talking to other people in similar industries about compensation and benefits, taboo be damned. Awareness of salaries of others has helped several people I know secure better salaries for themselves than they would have without that information. Unless you're going to feel some sort of guilt for being successful (in which case, why would you feel that way? Do you not believe you're worth your salary?) I don't see why it's an issue.

User avatar
Taylor Larimore
Advisory Board
Posts: 27516
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:09 pm
Location: Miami FL

A honest reply

Post by Taylor Larimore » Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:07 pm

How to respond when someone asks how much money you make?

Suggested reply::
I'd rather not say.
Best wishes
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

PVW
Posts: 471
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2014 11:01 am

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by PVW » Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:35 pm

iaminam wrote: "From where I come, You never ask a man his salary and a woman her age". :D
...or a rancher how many cows he owns.

At my previous job, I was an employee at a government owned, contractor operated laboratory. An organization that was trying to unionize the lab workers posted all of our salaries online soon after the annual raises we awarded. Even though it was easily accessible, it was still impolite to ask someone their salary. It was also impolite to let someone know you looked up their salary.

I would try to politely defer answering any questions about my salary. If the person persisted, I would be polite, but more direct in refusing to answer.

island
Posts: 1728
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:45 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by island » Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:58 pm

Jez, who are these people that ask such personal questions and were they raised by wolves that they don't know how rude that is?
And you have the bright idea to make up something and tell them it's 20K less than reality? Why?

The whole scenario has me scratching my head here. :oops:

Next time try these. Not enough. Too personal. I don't discuss how much I'm paid with anyone. None of your business. Rude question dude.
It's quite easy.

User avatar
Ted Valentine
Posts: 1559
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 10:28 am
Location: Music City USA

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by Ted Valentine » Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:11 pm

I wish this topic wasn't taboo. I think people view their income too personally and put too much self-worth into that number. I know I can be guilty of this thinking. Perhaps getting this social stigma off income would help people focus more on how well they treated others.

I've had a friend ask me once and I told him. He told me his. It wasn't a big deal to me, I made a lot more than him. Then again I have a college degree and he doesn't. He does well and has a good job for his education.
Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.

User avatar
Christine_NM
Posts: 2635
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:13 am
Location: New Mexico

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by Christine_NM » Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:35 pm

Federal employees always pout when denied information by contractors they see as hirelings. It's a reflex. (I was employed by a prime government contractor and we concluded that the feds in our agency had all flunked the same personality test.)

Both were rude to ask you. If they needed to know, they would already know.

I got in difficulty with this question when a client from Japan asked me in front of a few co-workers how much I made. I did not know why he asked but it was risky not to answer. So I wrote a number on a piece of paper and showed it to him, then tore it up and said the others didn't need to know. It was funny -- you could see he was trying to convert the dollar figure into yen. For yucks, I wrote down my salary doubled -- as in, this is what I wish I made.
17% cash 47% stock 36% bond. Retired, w/d rate 2.85%

User avatar
CABob
Posts: 4609
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:55 pm
Location: Southern California

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by CABob » Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:36 pm

hayling wrote:I'm a government contractor and they are government employees who are curious how much more money they could make as a contractor.
Part of the problem my have been that they are government employees. Civil service employees with their grades and formulas used for salaries tend to be aware of what other co-workers make. They were just trying to find out where a contractor fits into their scheme.
Personally I would try to avoid such discussions.
Bob

User avatar
FabLab
Posts: 1127
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:15 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by FabLab » Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:58 pm

What to answer?

Well, there's an old story of two great friends, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. They were on the set and the scene required Matthau to step to the top of a ladder. He fell and came crashing down to the floor. He lay face-up, motionless, with eyes closed. Lemmon was in great distress, thinking his friend was gravely injured, or worse. He looked down at the body of Matthau, realizing there'd been absolutely no movement.

"Walter, Walter, are you OK?"

Matthau, lying prone, opens his eyes, looks up at his best buddy and says, with a shrug: "I make a living."
The fundamental things apply as time goes by -- Herman Hupfeld

Grt2bOutdoors
Posts: 19322
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: New York

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:04 pm

Altephor wrote:
HoosierJim wrote:From what I've heard, the new working generation shares salary info very freely. At first, I thought this would do no good for anybody. Turns out - pay secrecy - is a conspiracy backed by employers to keep salaries lower. It can also be used by employers to hide gender/ageism pay differences/increases. Although company policies explicitly or implicitly require that salaries be kept secret - employees can't be banned from talking about work related items.

Agree with this. I worked for a company that frowned heavily on sharing pay rates, even between coworkers. I met my girlfriend at work, we were in the same position but I was there for 2 years longer and had a lot more responsibility. Come to find out she was making 2.00/hr more than I was. Not cool.
She was better looking. :wink:
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

User avatar
gunn_show
Posts: 1466
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2007 3:02 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by gunn_show » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:08 pm

put on your best beast mode face and do what he does...

Image
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 18603
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:18 pm

Most people who responded above don't understand the relationship between government employees and contractors. Contractors who closely work with their clients are in subordinate positions, and government employees act as their managers. Saying 'no' to a client is awkward, especially if a contractor feels vulnerable. In the situation described, the right response is that revealing the salary is a violation of the contractor company's policy.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

livesoft
Posts: 62776
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by livesoft » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:35 pm

Here is an article on the subject in the NYTimes recently (Why you should tell your children how much you make):
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/01/your- ... -make.html
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

pa7VQbb1kTkj1eLn3spK
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:05 pm

Re: How to respond when someone asks how much money you make

Post by pa7VQbb1kTkj1eLn3spK » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:37 pm

"Enough to pay the bills."

Post Reply