We talk about sex. We talk about the nitty-gritties of our pregnancies and deliveries. But money remains the one conversation topic we stay away from with our friends. That said, discussing the hard numbers with the right people can bring clarity, power and independence. That’s why we asked Jen Kruger at Fidelity about the times it’s actually OK to discuss your bottom line with your peers. (Hint: In the right circumstances, the topic is way less taboo than you think.)
When You’re Negotiating for a New Job (or Raise)
Whether you’re new to your industry or you’ve worked in it for decades, it’s never a bad idea to consult friends with similar jobs—but outside your office—to get an idea of the going rate. The benefit? It will help you get a good grasp on where you stand and your earning potential, which can inform review conversations. It can also give you intel on additional (and non-monetary) perks you should be fighting for. For instance, you might not realize that taking a salary cut but working from home two days a week is an option, until you learn your pal does it.
When You’re Fine-Tuning Your Saving Habits
Sharing personal saving and spending habits can help you and your friends compare money management tips, reevaluate good (and bad) cash flow and reset your commitment to staying on track to reach financial goals. Even if you’re not comfortable telling a pal the exact amount you have in your emergency fund, you can still share the percentage you set aside per paycheck—or how much you shoot to spend on groceries each week.
When You’re Ready to Start Investing
It’s daunting to dip your toe into uncertain financial waters—which is why talking to like-minded friends about their investing habits is a natural starting point. It could be as simple as offering a hard number (say, $1,000) that you’re looking to invest, then asking what they’d do in your shoes. Even if all you get out of it is a recommendation for an excellent financial adviser, it helps.