What We Learned About Money Etiquette in 2021

Navigating money matters can be tricky. In 2021, GOBankingRates has dug deep to offer financial etiquette advice to help you avoid making a major money faux paus.

Some of our expert guidance probably surprised you, while others reaffirmed actions you already believed to be appropriate. Here’s a look at what we learned about money etiquette this year.

Modern Money Etiquette: Answering Thorny Questions About Tipping, Gifts and More

Be Aware: Who Pays for Food When Houseguests Visit?

The Etiquette of Requesting, Giving and Receiving Money as Gifts

A holiday or special occasion is around the corner and you know exactly want you want — cold, hard cash. Or perhaps, you’re the one giving the gift and you’d rather just give money than shop for a present the recipient might not even want.

In the past, this might have been considered taboo, but Maryanne Parker, etiquette expert and founder of Manor of Manners, said requesting, giving and receiving money as a gift has become more mainstream. For example, when those closest to you ask what you’d like as a holiday gift, she said you can tell them you’d like money without hesitation.

Additionally, Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with DealNews.com, said both requesting a gift card and giving one as a present can be a great alternative to cash. If you feel uncomfortable asking for money or giving it, a gift card is an is essentially the same thing — just funds to be used at a certain retailer.

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What About Coworkers? Should You Ask Coworkers About Salary?

Rude Money Habits You Need To Break Now

When it comes to money conversations, everyone has different levels of comfort when discussing their finances with family, friends and business associates. Therefore, there’s no definitive guide to behaviors that are and aren’t acceptable, but there’s plenty of actions that should never take place.

For example, asking how much someone paid for something that you have no intention to buy, is impolite, said Jennifer Porter, an etiquette expert and manners teacher in Seattle. She said asking to borrow money from friends and discussing salary details also makes people uncomfortable.
Additionally, Arden Clise, founder and president of Clise Etiquette, said failing to tip appropriately at restaurants is also notably rude. Beyond that, she said telling someone they spend too much money on something they feel is important, not paying for a meal you invited someone to and ordering a notably more expensive meal when you know you’ll be splitting the bill are all socially unacceptable.

The Other Side: How To Say ‘No’ to Friends or Family Who Want To Borrow Money

Should You Start a GoFundMe for Someone Who Needs Financial Support?

If someone you know is in an unfortunate financial situation, you might be tempted to start a GoFundMe to help them cover costs. However, you’re not sure if doing so will make things better or worse.

Parker said it’s typically okay to start a GoFundMe for a family member or close friend who needs help, but in most cases, you’ll need to ask their permission first. However, she said it’s best to hold off if you’re not close with the person the fundraiser would benefit.

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Jodi RR Smith, president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, said it’s also wise to think about the amount of time and effort you’re willing to devote to the cause. Additionally, she recommended reviewing any personal ramifications you might face — i.e., tax implications, requests to manage additional fundraisers, keeping track of the money and disbursements — before moving forward.

Should You Pay a Friend Who Does a Professional Favor for You?

You have a seriously talented group of friends, and they’ve been generous enough to help you out. In any other situation, you wouldn’t think twice about paying a manicurist or interior designer, but you’re not sure what to do when the person doling out services is a friend.

GOBankingRates asked several experts to weigh in on this tricky subject, and the general consensus was whether or not you pay up largely depends on the friend, the job and if you’re able to foot the bill. Ultimately, being on the same page is a must, so discussing money matters before services are rendered is a must.

More Modern Money Etiquette: Do You Tip on Takeout Orders or Not?

The Risks That Come With Public Venmo Transactions, Emojis and More

Your Venmo account makes life easier. Having the ability to split restaurant bills with friends and make contactless payments at businesses is a total game-changer, but it’s important to be aware of the privacy risks associated with this mobile payment service.

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In an interview with CNET, the company revealed privacy settings are public by default. Therefore, you have to go into your account and change that to keep your spending habits under wraps.

Wayne Brown, senior partner at Dugan Brown, Federal Retirement Experts, said having a public Venmo profile can allow strangers access to everything from your address to when you’re out of town, putting your security at significant risk. Furthermore, he said using emojis can make it even easier for attackers to monitor your habits and predict future behavior.

Consequently, he said it’s not safe to make this type of data publicly available. So, if you haven’t already done so, log into your Venmo account and change the settings to private.

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About the Author

Jennifer Taylor is a West Coast-based freelance writer with more than a decade of experience writing about anything and everything. Since earning her MBA, personal finance has been her favorite topic, as she’s passionate about writing stories that educate, inform and empower. Specifically, she specializes in budgeting, debt repayment, savings and retirement.
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