Most Americans aren’t comfortable talking about money. You look rude if you talk about your salary or how much you spend on big-ticket items.

But years ago, I worked for a woman who told me how much she earned for a living. Then she told me that, when possible, I should share my salary with other women whom I trust. It’s important to educate the market, even when it might feel uncomfortable.

“You can’t help other women if you don’t give them good information,” my boss told me. “And if women undercut other women, it brings the whole market down.”

I’ve tried to embrace this advice as a consultant. Over the past seven years, I have talked openly and honestly about money with some of my closest friends. Many are surprised by how much I can earn with my career. Others think I should be doing better.

But I’m sharing information. And in return, I build trust and receive good information and advice.

Some companies discourage workers from speaking about their salaries. Others blame open compensation plans for the one-upsmanship that occurs in executive compensation plans. I think a little transparency with those you love and trust is okay.

The person who shares her salary with you might be telling you that you can do better. Who doesn’t want to hear that message?

1 Comment

  1. What I find ironic about Americans being uncomfortable talking about salary is the fact that we LOVE to talk about how expensive (or cheap) something was that we bought.

    It’s interesting to think through the openness of compensation. You see so many articles focused on how NOT to answer the salary question during the hiring process – and yet it’s a big part of the decision making process. I like your advice to help others realize their market worth. I’m going to try and do the same thing.

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