Amy: Have you guys ever been asked your salaries?
Claire: Bishoy says it doesn’t bother him.
Bishoy: Not at all. Well, maybe it depends on the situation. If someone very close to me asks, I’ll be open about it. If it’s a stranger, I won’t be bothered because the stranger doesn’t know me.
When people ask me, I’ll tell them that I make good money. But I refuse to talk about my salary with my co-workers, because that’s awkward. It’s a sensitive topic and it gets other people upset. Some girl at my company found out what someone else was earning and got so upset about it that she quit two months later.
Amy: I feel like I would be less sensitive about sharing salary information with someone who’s in a totally different industry.
Claire: That is true too. Or if it’s like someone older, a senior or someone who just wants to know, I wouldn’t care about sharing. I guess if it was a friend asking me, I feel like she just wants to know because she’s just nosy. I have friends like that.
Simon: It really depends on the person. I get a lot of close family friends who ask, who have sons and daughters the same age, who want to know how much I made so they can compare. I just say, “Not that much.”
If friends ask me, I’ll be like, “You guess a range, and I’ll tell you above or below.”
Amy: Among my group of friends I kind of know how much everyone makes. It’s not like we intentionally ask each other, “How much do you make?” but in the context of our conversations about finances, we’ll just know about how much the other person makes.
Claire: When I am curious about someone’s salary, I sort of indirectly ask about it. I ask someone else who might know.
Simon: I ask people, “Do you do okay?”
Claire: Also, when you first start out in your career, you and your friends who are of similar ages will probably earn the same amount of money. But at a certain point your careers will diverge and you will be earning very differently compared to your friends. At that point it’ll probably be harder to talk about money freely. There will be so much disparity that it’ll be uncomfortable to share.
Bishoy: If you guys made a lot of money, would you freely share that? I feel like I would have no problem sharing what I earn if I earned, like, above $200,000 or something.
Claire: If I did earn a lot of money, I would feel less inclined to share, because I just wouldn’t want people to know.
Amy: What about if people ask you about how much your possessions cost?
Simon: I don’t care. Unless it’s about a house or something, I don’t care.
Amy: I don’t like it when people ask me about the price of my clothes, shoes, bags, or something similar. I feel like people ask that question to size others up.
Claire: Girls got this competition thing going on. It never really goes away either, and then once you get married, you compare husbands, and then your houses, and then your vacations. You just can’t get sucked into that.
Bishoy: Have you ever lied about things?
Amy: I’ve downplayed the price of the items I’ve gotten.
Bishoy: When I was younger, I would be asked about the price of my shoes, for example. If I got them for $70, I’ll give them the full retail value.
Amy: That’s so funny because I read an article a while ago about how females in general tend to like sales and find joy out of getting things for less than they retail for. They like showing off things that they managed to get for a certain discount, whereas guys don’t have the same sort of discount mentality, which is reflected in the way there are so many sales sites catered to women — Gilt, Living Social, and others — but they don’t really cater to men.
Claire: I always look for coupon codes. Just in case. Never know how much you can potentially save!