May 28 2010

Telling people about your financial situation

Mrs Micah recently had an interesting post called, “Should you let people know how well you’re doing financially?” I’ve needed to mull it over for a few days so I could sort out my thoughts.

If you’re broke and let people know it …

Then perhaps people will have lower expectations of you when it comes to spending money. Maybe they won’t suggest you all get together at an expensive restaurant (or even a restaurant at all! Have people over instead!).

Maybe when it comes to gifts, it’s more acceptable if you go the homemade or low-budget route.

Or maybe they’ll try to help you in your situation by offering financial advice (not always welcome or helpful), or giving/loaning you money.

If they’re a snobby sort, they may start to sever ties with you. Don’t worry if that happens — they aren’t really the kind of person that makes a good friend anyway.

If you’re financially ok, but act like you’re broke …

If all your friends are broke (or claim to be broke) but you’re not, you don’t want to seem like the odd guy out. No one likes a person who acts “I’m better than you” even if they’re not really trying to act that way.

Or possibly, this person would just be avoiding any sort of higher expectation that comes with someone who has a few dollars to rub together. I don’t know.

Just don’t be a cheapo about it and have others pay your way if you don’t need help.

If you’re financially well off and let people know it …

This is the trickiest one, I think. Again, people don’t like to feel inferior to someone else. They may not be happy for your success — it might just come across wrong.

OR you could inspire others to turn their situation around.

Example: The personal finance blog world. I’m constantly reading incredible financial stories, such as how MoneySavingMom saved 100% for a house, and I think — wow! Maybe I can kick my own savings up a notch. But I can see how her example could be interpreted as, “Easy for you, but not for my family.”

—–

Personally, I love hearing about people’s financial successes. I like to celebrate with them! When someone pays off a large debt, or all of their debts, or builds an emergency fund — that’s a big deal and I love it. Or when they’ve diligently saved and are buying a car with cash, or have a healthy down payment for a house. Go, friend, go!

But if someone is saying stuff like, “Oh, I can’t decide if I want to go with the BMW or the Mercedes…” or “My house is so big and fancy, sometimes there are months when I don’t even set foot into the parlor!” haha.

I don’t know anyone like that. But if I did, I’d be pretty annoyed at ’em.

So to sum up, I think it’s ok to talk about your financial successes, as long as you keep a humble attitude about it and are mindful of your audience. Someone who has been laid off for quite awhile might not really want to hear all the details, but hopefully they’ll still be happy for you.

What do you think?



3 Responses to “Telling people about your financial situation”

  1. I definitely think sharing your successes/downfalls can be an important thing to share, but sometimes you should keep it private. Obviously if you know someone is struggling financially it is inappropriate to discuss your brand new lake house or continue asking them to go out to dinner, but it has great benefits, too! By reading about your financial successes, it completely inspired me to makeover my own spending habits and change my attitude about money. My husband was very close-lipped and never discussed money to anyone, but once we started having successes and paying things off–he kept asking if I had updated you and if we’d been featured on your blog! By discussing my financial challenges, friends have been opening up too and we’ve shared coupons, saving tips, the latest grocery ads, and even had garage sales together!

    The only difficult thing for me has been to keep my opinions to myself–what works for my family may not work for another one. This is especially difficult when I see friends taking out loan after loan and saying “but the payment is only x dollars a month!” I can now make a comment about the overall interest and leave it at that!

  2. i think it’s ok too, as long as you are humble about it.
    .-= cassie´s last blog ..Canada Free Stuff – FREE Box Of Nature Valley Granola Bars =-.

  3. Money is so deceptive in our society. Two families can have exactly the same evidence of money (ie. cars, house, stuff), but one could be swimming in debt while the other holds no debt and has a hefty investment account. It’s important not to jump to wealth conclusions based on people’s stuff. If you know someone well enough to be discussing personal financial details, it’s important not to step on toes to maintain that relationship.
    It can be so helpful to find friends who are interested in being financially careful, no matter their wealth level. Someone who’s truely broke might have great tips for holding a garage sale, or making do with what you have. Someone who’s truely wealthy might recommend their investment manager, or suggest a really great charity they trust to use money wisely.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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