How disclosing your salary could make you more
Millennials don’t shy away from sharing how much money they make.
Americans ages 18 to 36 say they’ve discussed their salary with immediate family (63%), a friend (48%) and even coworkers (30%), according to a new study on money and relationships from TheCashlorette.com.
Thirty-three percent of older millennials, ages 27 to 36, say they’ve shared their salary with colleagues – more than any other age group and four times more than Baby Boomers, ages 53 to 71 (8%).
“Knowing what your friends and colleagues make in a similar field is empowering in making sure you’re being compensated fairly and gauging when it might be time to move on or request a raise,” Sarah Berger, founder of TheCashlorette.com, tells Moneyish.
If you want to be forthcoming with your finances, be strategic about it, Berger suggests. For example, the gender pay gap could give you motivation to seek out a raise.
When New York native Kelly Maxwell, 26, transitioned from an on-staff job in television production to freelance for reality TV shows, she candidly disclosed her rate with industry friends to gage an idea of how much money she should be asking for per job. Once she told her colleagues, she realized her rate was much lower than her industry’s standard.
“While it’s kind of frowned upon to discuss my own rate with other people on my crew, I definitely openly discuss it with my other friends or contacts in the TV industry. When I told a friend the weekly rate she was basically like ‘If you accept that you’re stupid,’” Maxwell says. “That way when I get hired on a job I have other rates for that same role that I can compare it to and I’ll know if they’re low balling me or if they’re giving me a good rate.”
Sharing what some might call too much information and getting feedback worked to Maxwell’s advantage when she was interviewing for her new gig. “I was able to increase my rate 10%,” she says.
While it worked out for Maxwell, a boss could be upset if he or she finds out you’re sharing how much you make with colleagues. In some cases, it could pit employees against each other if one finds out their counterpart is making more than them for doing the same job.
“You don’t want to go around telling everyone in the office what you make,” Berger advises. “Your co-workers could end up resenting you if they find out you’re making more.”
The willingness to share personal finance information among millennials stems from growing up with the over sharing phenomenon of social media, the study suggests. Previous generations, on the other hand, have been brought up with the notion that disclosing how much you make should not be discussed, similarly to bringing up religion or politics at the dinner table.
But talking about money seems to be becoming less taboo. While millennials are leading the pack, Americans in general are voluntarily telling others how much they’re making. Sixty-four percent of Americans tell their spouse or significant other how much money they make, 51% share with their immediate family members, 36% tell friends and 20% let their coworkers know what they earn. Higher earners are more likely to tell their spouse or significant other, family or friend what they make, while those who earn $30,000 or less are most likely to discuss their salaries with coworkers, according to the study.
For most people today, particularly women or people of color who are often routinely paid less than other groups, knowing what your colleagues are making could help you navigate what your job is worth and enable you to negotiate a higher salary with your boss.
“If you realize that you may be paid below your colleagues and you’re working at the same level or above — you may have additional credentials or you don’t have enough — having that benchmark is enormously powerful,” career coach Roy Cohen says. “Then you have information you can work with to make other important decisions — additional skills or getting more confident in negotiating what you’re worth.”
Before you ask your boss or a potential employer for more, first you need to evaluate what you bring to the company whether it’s a skillset, years of experience or particular work ethic. Look up what the market value of your position is worth on sites like Glassdoor.com or Payscale, Cohen Berger suggests.
“It’s important to remember that in many fields, your salary is determined by factors other than just your job title, like experience or work performance,” says Berger.
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