S/O of "Class" Thread- Why don't we say how much money we make? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 43 Old 03-30-2010, 11:30 AM
 
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Maybe because I am a teacher, but I frequently get asked about my salary. Maybe not the exact amount, but general things. For example, when I moved from a private achool to public school, I was asked if I took a salary cut or saw an increase. I have no problem answering. Probably because the salary schedule for my district is available to anyone who wants it. I make more than the listed amount because of all the extras I do. I also sometimes I feel I have to justify why I teach summer school; it is a heck of a lot of money for the amount of time. Maybe that is just a things with me though. Dh has never been asked in any situation outside of a job interview etc, about money. So maybe it is people's curiosity about teacher pay in general.
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#32 of 43 Old 03-30-2010, 12:05 PM
 
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When I was 18 and started doing my own taxes (with my dad), I got to see how much money he made, how much came off in taxes, how much he had for retirement, etc. He wanted me to see how everything worked.

I'm pretty up front about money/salary. There aren't a lot of people I'll talk about it with, but in my family (immediate) we talk about our salaries pretty openly. I'm also pretty open about how much debt I have from school.

I'm a nurse, and it's important to keep track of my pay - I get OT, pay in lieu of benefits, weekend/night premiums, pay increases according to hours worked, holiday pay, etc. So we sometimes talk numbers at work, to make sure no one's getting short changed.

So, while I wouldn't walk around saying 'Oh, I make this much money', I also wouldn't hesitate to talk about it.

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#33 of 43 Old 03-30-2010, 12:09 PM
 
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In my family and upbringing it was definately a no-no to talk about specifics like salary and net worth. What people paid for their houses was a safe topic as it is public knowledge and deed transfers are published in the local paper.

I horrified my German cousins when we were walking down the street and I was telling them how much specific houses cost. They could not believe 1.) that I knew what people paid for their houses and 2.) that I would actually talk about it. They thought it was poor manners. (Maybe it was but so was their expressed opinion about my manners but that is another class post.) I thought they would be interested in knowing about COL, they thought I was crass.

In my professional and private life, talk of salary/earnings was considered to be taboo. General info like "an analyst with X years of experience can expect to earning in the range of $xx,xxx to $xx,xxx" but never "I earn $x per year." Between friends we will talk about goals, budgeting, and financial decesions but never what we earn.

I was shocked when I switched jobs. I am in construction now and nearly all of our 25+ guys have no problem showing each other their paychecks and discussing all sorts of intimate financial details.

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#34 of 43 Old 03-30-2010, 12:30 PM
 
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I don't disclose what we make because I don't want the judgment. I work in retail, and am married to an attorney. I have already been the victim of "why does she even work? She doesn't need the money?".

I also don't talk much about finances at work because some people are seriously struggling. While no one should have to hide their success, it seems rude to talk about how well off you are in front of three people who chipped in to split a can of Aldi soup for lunch.

Lastly, even though our store has a rule about disclosing wages, I heard 2 other supervisors brag about how much they made and discovered I made more. There is no way I am opening that can of worms!
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#35 of 43 Old 03-30-2010, 01:06 PM
 
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I think it's lot about wanting to avoid judgement. But the cynic in me also thinks it's a way that The Man keeps us down, too.

As a PP said, people who work together would in many cases be shocked if the salaries became transparent. You'd clearly see unfairness going on. Maybe the whites and males get promoted and paid more, or maybe it's just the brownnosers, or the ones assertive enough to negotiate hard for a raise. We see clearly that it's not a meritocracy. At all. Not at your workplace, nor in society as a whole.

The fact that your BIL makes twice as much as you do or you neighbor makes half is probably not fair. And people get mad about things like that. And when people get mad, when ENOUGH people get mad, things change. And some poeple don't want things to change. So there's the cynic in me.

But yes, people are also defensive and judgemental about money. I'm guilty of both, under the right circumstances. I'm defensive with my neighbors (who are very defensive toward us about money). I'm also judgemental - no, not to anyone's face of course, but do I internally roll my eyes when my mom complains about my dad not being able to retire yet while she's blowing a wad shopping? Oh, yes indeedy. If I knew someone's salary would I mentally compare their choices with mine? Yup, guilty.

I've freely admitted my household income on this board (for your covenience, you don't even have to do a search: it's $40k) but we've told no-one IRL. But I'd be surprised if our families didn't have a pretty good idea of it anyway. When I was a kid, my mom told me only in retrospect what my dad made, I would never know the current salary. I don't remember the context of her telling me, though. I'm sure it wasn't just out of the blue. DH's dad, I don't think he'd tell the kids his annual salary but he certainly would show them the checks he got. He was an electrical engineer and worked as a contractor, so he'd get these big fat checks for $20k, $30k, $50k or whatever all at once - but then they'd go months with no checks. (And, slightly off topic, despite him making awesome money, DH and SIL grew up alternating between shopping sprees and eating peanut butter with the lights shut off).

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#36 of 43 Old 03-30-2010, 04:26 PM
 
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Since I first posted, several people have had interesting things to add to my comments, and I meant to add also, except that it was bedtime. Yes, I think that employers both covertly and overtly discourage employees from comparing wages, because yeah, so many things besides "merit" go into the decision...how long you've been there, what you made before, whether you bargained, what degree you have, and yes, all too often, whether you're the right color/sex/religion/sexual orientation--I think just about all those things often come before "merit".

Personally, I think this whole "it's crass [Crass? Really? What does that even mean?] to talk about money" thing comes from the same place as other middle-class beliefs like "only deadbeats go bankrupt" and "If you work hard and go to school everything will be fine". And like those and other beliefs, I think it's overdue for a critical examination.
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#37 of 43 Old 03-30-2010, 05:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
I think it's lot about wanting to avoid judgement. But the cynic in me also thinks it's a way that The Man keeps us down, too.
I totally agree. I remember when I was still single and working at my old job, I was pretty ticked to discover that a brand new hire that I was spending a significant amount of my time training to do the same work I did was hired in at more than I was getting paid! She had a masters and I didn't, so that is likely why, but it still seemed unfair to me since we were doing the same work and I had several years of experience.

So yeah, I understand why employers don't want you to know this info! lol

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#38 of 43 Old 03-30-2010, 11:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Belia View Post
I am a public school teacher in Illinois, and a conservative government- watchdog-type website posts all IL educator's annual salaries on their website. When I first heard about this website I was all up-in-arms about it... like HOW DARE THEY... but as the years have gone on I actually find it freeing!!! What do I have to hide? What am I ashamed of? My salary is out there for anyone with a computer and my name to find.... and my life goes on!!
The Courier Journal newspaper in Louisville does that for ALL government employees in the city, MAYBE statewide. My dad and sister both work for the city and were very peeved to learn this.



And I have some theories as to why some people don't tell what they make. Some people who are low income might want people to know they're poor. (I don't particularly care. We make $18k and if someone asks, I'll tell them) But then for example my sister makes over $40k and who knows what her hubby makes. I think she doesn't want people to know because she always makes bad decisions and "never has money". If people knew how much they made, none of her friends could understand why she's always asking for help and never can make ends meet...

Single mama to DS8 and DD4. Feminist. Queer. Atheist. Poly. Full-time poli sci and econ student.
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#39 of 43 Old 03-31-2010, 07:38 PM
 
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While I understand why its not done, I do sometimes wish we were more open. Most financial articles cover families and its sometimes hard for me as a mid 30s single woman to know if I am doing okay.
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#40 of 43 Old 03-31-2010, 07:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by thatgirliknew View Post
The Courier Journal newspaper in Louisville does that for ALL government employees in the city, MAYBE statewide. My dad and sister both work for the city and were very peeved to learn this.



And I have some theories as to why some people don't tell what they make. Some people who are low income might want people to know they're poor. (I don't particularly care. We make $18k and if someone asks, I'll tell them) But then for example my sister makes over $40k and who knows what her hubby makes. I think she doesn't want people to know because she always makes bad decisions and "never has money". If people knew how much they made, none of her friends could understand why she's always asking for help and never can make ends meet...
this is exactly the truth for my sister. she makes 6 figures, but has filed for bankruptcy twice alone, and once with her now exdh. Soooo messed up. and there are no medical bills, etc. it is a plain and simple case of shopping addiction
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#41 of 43 Old 04-01-2010, 09:51 AM
 
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My father is retired from the military, so everyone knew what everyone else's salary was...it's public information. We didn't really discuss it as a family, but once I was old enough to be curious, I was old enough to figure out how to look it up (and this was in the days before the internet! LOL)

Now we still don't discuss money. As an adult I have a lot of respect for the way we lived on what I now know was a pretty meager income...my parents bought and completely paid for their home before my father retired, all of us children were able to do any kind of sports or lessons we were interested in, we ate very healthfully, etc. My parents live on a fixed income now that they are retired and never seem to be scrimping on anything. They are both just naturally frugal. A line from a song from The Music Man comes to mind... "If they ain't got it, they don't need it!" (and yes, they do live in Iowa )

I know they are curious about how much money my husband makes but they've never come right out and asked. I mentioned once years ago when his company switched hands in the middle of the year that there was a mistake and we were paying into social security again (there is a point at which you stop paying ss tax) and now they think we are fabulously wealthy, even though we live pretty modestly.
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#42 of 43 Old 04-01-2010, 01:56 PM
 
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I generally don't talk about how much we make, although it's pretty common knowledge that we don't make a lot because people know our situation Probably the only person who I would talk actual numbers with is one of my closest friends.

I know how much my Mom makes, I also know how much my Dad makes, and pretty much always did growing up. They never hid it (FWIW they were separated the whole time I can remember, so it wasn't combined income, they each individually were open about talking about it). I'd tell my kids if it came up what we made as well, that doesn't seem odd to me.

As for the judging, I can't imagine making as much as I know some of my family members make, not at all judging that they do or what they do with it, but I have commented that I can't imagine what it would be like. The only person who I really judge when it comes to money is my mother... but she makes enough to live off of, or could at least and yet she never has money, always needs to borrow large sums, and then spends tons of money on truly frivolous things (game systems etc).

Alison
Mama to Toad (08/06), Frog (01/09)... and new baby Newt born on his due date, Sep. 8, 2010
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#43 of 43 Old 04-01-2010, 02:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mom0810 View Post
In the circles in which I grew up, it was considered crass to talk about money.
Yes, to that.
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