A lot of personal finance bloggers are drawn to blogging because it gives them an outlet that they otherwise wouldn’t have to talk about money.
The world that I am in is a strange place. Starting out of college, I knew how much most of my coworkers were starting out making. Since we all make comparable (and plenty of) money, there are small things that are talked about. Perhaps it is that money is less of a sticky issue when people are on similar footing AND have plenty of it.
- Quite a few of my friends know that my parents paid for college.
- Several of my friends, point blank, told me how much they were making when they started.
- When I was up for promotion, one of my friends told me how much of a raise he got when he got that promotion and told me what raises are like at other times.
- I have somewhat of a guess as to how much my manager makes.
- Everyone talks about how important it is to negotiate your starting salary.
- I have had no qualms showing people the real estate link for the condo I am buying and I even showed some people the links for places I was looking at.
- During the offer negotiation process, I continually asked various coworkers for advice. This means that many coworkers know exactly how much I am paying for my condo.
- My coworkers and I have spent lunch hours comparing and contrasting fixed rate mortgages and ARMs. They convinced me that a fixed rate mortgage for 30 years wasn’t necessarily the best idea, considering that I might not even stay there for that long.
- I commented to my manager that some days I worried I couldn’t afford the condo and his comment was “Your salary can only go up from this point and I know you can afford it now, so you will more than be able to afford it in the future.” (At my company, managers know exactly how and how much their employees are compensated.)
- Two of my friends know that my parents gave me some money to help with the down payment on my condo.
- Most of my friends freely discuss how much their rent costs and compare cell phone bills, credit card limit tricks, etc.
- Coworkers freely talk about their stock compensation and whether they sell-all immediately, use cash to cover the taxes, or keep the shares post-tax. This was super helpful in helping me to understand how that form of compensation worked and with the decision-making process on which method to pick.
- Coworkers freely discuss credit card points and which ones they like the best and why.
I realize when I talk to people in completely different social circles that this is not normal. It’s probably a combination of the mathematical/analytical nature of technical people and their social awkwardness, but I’ve become accustomed to this just being normal to the point that it’s quite strange to talk to other people and realize that talking about my spreadsheets is not normal…
One of my friends finally enrolled in the 401(k) plan and I gave her a high-five! We talk reasonably openly about money, which is pretty cool. I’m proud of her for signing up for the 401(k) and have been super happy to answer any questions she might have in the process. I showed her my first quarter 401(k) statement and we both laughed at my silliness. Any friendship in which one can switch between cute boys, technical stuff, food, money, and sports is a pretty awesome one in my books!
I’ve learned quickly with which people I should not at all talk about money. They’re the people who will freely let you ramble, but then never respond with any of their stories or make negative comments.
For the most part, however, I try to only make small bits of conversation about money and not go into the level of detail that I care about. I know that no one else really cares about the level of detail that I do. Or maybe they do, but only in the context of their own finances, but not someone else’s. And that is why I blog – people on the internet are free to not care about my finances in the level of detail that I do, but it still provides a reasonable level of accountability.
Readers, do you have money confidantes outside of the personal finance blogging world?