Personal Finances

Posted: June 13, 2011 in gringolandia, work

Photo by Mike Schmid

It’s funny, sometimes I feel like I am not Americanized at all, and then something will happen and I’ll realize I have changed in some ways.

Today a friend of my mother’s asked me how much I paid for my car, and how much we pay per month. My mother does this too – asking how much my household bills are and what I paid for things. Likewise, my Mexican co-workers ask me how much my paycheck is on Fridays, or how much I make per hour, (the gringo co-workers never do this.) I feel that it’s very rude and nosy.

I realize this is a cultural difference. In the past, these things didn’t bother me – but over the years I’ve come to take a more “American” view of personal finances, (in that they’re called “PERSONAL” for a reason!)

I’m not sure how to handle these kinds of situations. I don’t want to be rude in return – but sometimes I feel the impulse to lie or change the subject and avoid the question somehow. Sometimes people are persistent and ask until you tell them. I don’t know how to politely let them know that it isn’t their business.

If you have been in this situation before, how did you handle it?

(Image source)

  1. humincat says:

    Well, I can’t help, as I have the opposite problem. I was raised where we knew $ was tight, but we never knew exactly how much the rent or whatever was, and if I tried to look at my dad’s check or in my mom’s wallet, I was scolded for being rude. Of course, my husband was NOT raised this way, and over the years I’ve taken his approach of “tell all, who cares”. Now, as I’m getting older, I see that by my announcing my bank statement balance to a friend, or leaving my check out where co-workers can see, I’m making OTHERS uncomfortable and creating an awkward moment. I don’t know how to keep quiet or care about $, and yet, others are obviously put off by my openness.

  2. Lib says:

    If someone is bold enough to ask about your personal stuff, then they should be ready for a real answer. I tell people if they ask me about my personal stuff that it is just that; “it’s personal and I don’t discuss that with anyone”. In your case you could tell them that you don’t discuss that with anyone but your wife, which would not be a lie. No rudness just honesty. You could always turn the tables and answer the question with a question………….Good luck.

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