Let’s work at it together
Are you the type who is happy to discuss how much you earn while enjoying dinner with friends? Or do you prefer to keep the information closer to home – perhaps not even telling close family how much you took home last year?
The topic of money can be difficult to digest for some. And attitudes can vary not only between people but between different cultures as well.
Even for the tight-lipped, however, talking about your outlook to finances can be important – and may even provide motivation to achieve financial goals. Studies – such as this one in Chile last year – have found that people who worked to improve their financial position with a group of their peers were more successful at increasing their savings.
It suggests that a little help from your friends can go a long way.
Share don’t compare
However, peer pressure has another side.
Our drive to “keep up with the Joneses” can mean that comparing earnings with loved ones can affect happiness.
Behavioural economist Dan Ariely sums it up in his book Predictably Irrational when he writes about a comment that a man's satisfaction with his salary "depends on whether he makes more than his wife's sister's husband". The danger is highlighted in Ariely’s The 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective People blogpost when he says this focus on others' earnings to win satisfaction rather than on our own means happiness "depends less on us, and more on the people around us".
Perhaps an easier path to happiness is focussing on things you have the power to change (such as your own earnings) rather than things you can’t (such as your friends and family’s income).