It’s natural to be curious about other people’s financial situations, and while there are advantages to having more open conversations about money, there are some things you just shouldn’t ask.
“Rudeness runs rampant when it comes to the root of all evil — the love of money — and people seem to have no conscience when it comes to asking about it,” said Joy Weaver, a protocol and etiquette expert. “Obvious rude questions include, ‘How much do you make?’ or ‘How much did that cost?'”
But those aren’t the only money questions that could come off as rude.
“Be cognizant not to ask questions that are too prying or nosey,” Weaver said. “If you are considering snooping in on someone’s personal life, ask yourself, ‘Would I want someone asking me these questions?’ Remember, treat others the way you want to be treated.”
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“This one always comes in the form of ‘I really care about you’ but really, the underlying question is ‘How much money did you receive?'” said Weaver, who is the author of “How to be Socially Savvy in All Situations.”
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“When a loved one passes away, this is a rude money question that is nobody’s business, and will certainly not earn you any sympathy points,” Weaver said.
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“Some try to leverage economic policy discussions to sneakily investigate other people’s finances,” Weaver said. “All antennas should be up when someone asks this question or one similar. This information is personal and confidential, and any kind of debate does not require you to disclose information on your personal financial stance.”
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“Don’t be nosey!” Weaver said. It also goes without saying that you shouldn’t ask someone how much they paid per square foot for their home.
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“Unless you’re talking with a close friend, never ask someone about the method they used to finance their home,” Weaver said. “This could rub people the wrong way, as you’re essentially asking if they paid in cash or if they required a mortgage.”
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“First, it is terribly declassé to brag about charitable donations, and you should never ask another person how much they’ve contributed to a charity,” Weaver said. “People often choose to donate to organizations that touch their hearts. It can be a deeply personal decision and no one wants to feel like their generosity could be taken advantage of.”
Now that you know what not to ask, find out how to respond when someone poses a rude money question to you.
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