[any downside to telling your parents your income?]

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unstoppable
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[any downside to telling your parents your income?]

Post by unstoppable »

I’m in a sales role with a small salary but absolutely crushed it last year. I was #1 out of many, and doubled the person closest to me. I just gave it my absolute all and really just had laser like focus. I was determined to make as much as humanly possible, as I’m on a mission to get financially independent. No idea if I’ll ever retire early, but want to get to the point where I can/could if wanted.

Anyways, my family never really loved the path I took but obviously it worked out well. My siblings all went with your typical high paying salary jobs etc, but I’m sure I’ve thoroughly surpassed those levels (not a competition and I’m the last one to have an ego or showoff). Other than my close team members (they see my numbers), I haven’t shared my income with anyone.

I printed my W2 recently and would love to show my mom, as I know she’d be ecstatically proud. Income doesn’t mean much if you’re not happy, and other than pushing myself to the limit I enjoyed it.

This year is obviously going to 25-50% less easily, but proud of my rockstar year where I know I gave it my all.

My mom is very responsible with finances and currently retired and has adequate funds.

Would there by any downside to sharing the income last year with her? I’m sure I’ll have good years ahead but this was a proud high point. I generally never ever show/tell anyone anything (other than on here) for obvious reasons.

Has anyone shared with their parent(s)? Any positive or negative impacts? Again, she doesn’t need any funds so there wouldn’t be any awkward requests, and if she ever somehow did it would be my pleasure to help.

I’ve been know as the unmotivated/lazy one in high school and college, but did a total 180 when I got into the work force.
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by mega317 »

Uh yeah I can see some downsides. She doesn't need money but are you sure about that? How about in the future? What if she shares with someone else who does need money? What if she just doesn't care, then you'll feel bad. What if she's like ok good for you, one year.

You've had decades to make your mom proud, if that hasn't happened yet, and I'm not saying it's any fault of your own, then I am suspicious that a W2 will change that.
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212
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unstoppable
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by unstoppable »

She’s already proud and we are very close. Just thought it would be exciting for her to see. She’s asked me before over the years but I’ve always just said something generic.

You do bring up good points. It’s not really the income number that I want to show off I just wanted to show her that my path worked etc.
123
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by 123 »

Rather than being happy with the amount of a child's earnings I think most parents are happy when they know that their child is a good fit for the job they have and the child is happy with the job. Doesn't really matter if the chidl works at McDonalds or is an MD from that perspective.
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by reln »

unstoppable wrote: Fri May 15, 2020 10:17 pm I’m in a sales role with a small salary but absolutely crushed it last year. I was #1 out of many, and doubled the person closest to me. I just gave it my absolute all and really just had laser like focus. I was determined to make as much as humanly possible, as I’m on a mission to get financially independent. No idea if I’ll ever retire early, but want to get to the point where I can/could if wanted.

Anyways, my family never really loved the path I took but obviously it worked out well. My siblings all went with your typical high paying salary jobs etc, but I’m sure I’ve thoroughly surpassed those levels (not a competition and I’m the last one to have an ego or showoff). Other than my close team members (they see my numbers), I haven’t shared my income with anyone.

I printed my W2 recently and would love to show my mom, as I know she’d be ecstatically proud. Income doesn’t mean much if you’re not happy, and other than pushing myself to the limit I enjoyed it.

This year is obviously going to 25-50% less easily, but proud of my rockstar year where I know I gave it my all.

My mom is very responsible with finances and currently retired and has adequate funds.

Would there by any downside to sharing the income last year with her? I’m sure I’ll have good years ahead but this was a proud high point. I generally never ever show/tell anyone anything (other than on here) for obvious reasons.

Has anyone shared with their parent(s)? Any positive or negative impacts? Again, she doesn’t need any funds so there wouldn’t be any awkward requests, and if she ever somehow did it would be my pleasure to help.

I’ve been know as the unmotivated/lazy one in high school and college, but did a total 180 when I got into the work force.
If it will make you and your mom happy do it.

Back in the day I used to show my mom my pay raises. I stopped after one year she exclaimed "we're rich!"
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by Dottie57 »

I always shared with my parents and they shared with me. No bg deal. However if you need to askan internet forum, I would NOT share. Neither my parents nor I were jealous of each other.
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by bampf »

Do not share. Nothing good comes of it. If times get rough, you are the one they go to, regardless of your situation. I have never seen anything good about letting someone know how much you make. Be the humble bazillionaire and share your wealth quietly by helping but never, never, never share the amounts you have, make or donate. Never.
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cchrissyy
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by cchrissyy »

Have you told her you were the top salesperson? Or that you got the biggest commission? Do that. She'll be glad.

I think that's the limit of what you should say. Don't show her your W-2 or taxes. Even if nothing got weird with her and if she'd never ask for money, think of what if she told the exact number to your siblings or extend family or neighborhood.
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by Dale_G »

I regret not telling my dad after I reached a (then) magic number. He would have been delighted, but he is long dead, so there is no fixing it now. Go ahead and share with mom. Hopefully she won't be sharing it with the siblings though.

My kids know my income and net worth - and I know theirs. None of us have any problem with that. My other relatives - nope!

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unstoppable
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by unstoppable »

Dale_G wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 12:51 am I regret not telling my dad after I reached a (then) magic number. He would have been delighted, but he is long dead, so there is no fixing it now. Go ahead and share with mom. Hopefully she won't be sharing it with the siblings though.

My kids know my income and net worth - and I know theirs. None of us have any problem with that. My other relatives - nope!

Dale
Sorry for your loss. This post hit home as I lost my father as well. I certainly see the pros/cons of being so open about things.
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by boogiehead »

Congrats on your success, what about buying a nice gift for your mom or taking her out for a fancy meal (although not sure if this is feasible right now though) as a sign of appreciation and letting her know you have done really well for yourself and wanted to share the success with her .... Personally I feel like printing out a w2 seems kinda of tacky :wink:
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by celia »

What if that year ends up being the highest earning year for a long time? There are lots of reasons you might not earn that much again (illness/accident, bad economy, want to spend time with family/your kids, you want to spend time working for some cause more important to you than money, company changes the product or commission schedule to max out lower, etc).
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

bampf wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 12:19 am Do not share. Nothing good comes of it. If times get rough, you are the one they go to, regardless of your situation. I have never seen anything good about letting someone know how much you make. Be the humble bazillionaire and share your wealth quietly by helping but never, never, never share the amounts you have, make or donate. Never.
I would make an exception for parents. I'm probably misinterpreting, but what does it matter if your parents know? They raised you, and I would help my parents if they needed it and if I could. Thankfully, I don't expect to be in that position, but we are open about finances, and it's never been a problem. It seems like you don't want parents to know your situation because you don't want to potentially be asked to help your own parents, which to me is bizarre, but I realize there are many different circumstances and relationships, and I've been very fortunate in this regard.
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by mega317 »

Plus a W2 will understate your salary if you have 401k, fsa, etc.
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

cchrissyy wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 12:21 am Have you told her you were the top salesperson? Or that you got the biggest commission? Do that. She'll be glad.

I think that's the limit of what you should say. Don't show her your W-2 or taxes. Even if nothing got weird with her and if she'd never ask for money, think of what if she told the exact number to your siblings or extend family or neighborhood.
+1

Financial details aren’t necessary. As a father of four, I just want to know that they’re living their best lives.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by smitcat »

unstoppable wrote: Fri May 15, 2020 11:03 pm She’s already proud and we are very close. Just thought it would be exciting for her to see. She’s asked me before over the years but I’ve always just said something generic.

You do bring up good points. It’s not really the income number that I want to show off I just wanted to show her that my path worked etc.
"She’s already proud and we are very close."
In this case your own opinion will be far superior to anything that you can receive here from the internet.
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Re: [any downside to telling your parents your income?]

Post by avenger »

I think in general it’s probably a bad idea although each individual circumstance may vary.

I support my mother financially to the tune of about $1000 per month. It’s already awkward having her see things I spend my money on. I can’t imagine telling her an exact figure or giving her more detail about my finances.
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ClevrChico
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Re: [any downside to telling your parents your income?]

Post by ClevrChico »

The downside is that people don't understand the time (possibly years/decades) and work that goes into a high salary. They just see the rewards and consider it easy money. Some retired people have a hard time relating what our daily grind is like.

I'll spare the details I've experienced, but it's best not to share. If you do, prepare for family pressure and heartburn.
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Re: [any downside to telling your parents your income?]

Post by mike_in_ny »

I think you should share the news / recognition of "top salesperson" etc. My view is that people
have a hard time putting today's salaries in the context of theirs from 30 years ago.

But then again, I think my mom still inherently believes a candy bar is $.20.....and a movie
is $3.
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Re: [any downside to telling your parents your income?]

Post by Nowizard »

It seems like it depends on the relationships and degree of transparency about personal issues that exists in your family. We have been open with our children about our assets, they are open about encouraging us to spend them. There are concerns about being financially responsible for family on both sides of the coin. For example, your parents may wonder if you are financially stable since they are less pleased with your job choice financially than with that of siblings. One question would be whether sharing this would also be sharing it with other family members. We want to share things that make us happy or less concerned. Would not be an issue in our family but would be catastrophic in others. There are other options than showing her your W-2. For example, sharing more general information without specific income amounts.

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Re: [any downside to telling your parents your income?]

Post by Sandtrap »

There’s no lasting upside to telling anyone other than a spouse your income.
Sometimes things done with the best of intentions have a way of coming around like an ice pick in the back.

Then again, there are so many different social and cultural norms and family dynamic differences in these things.
Everyone's different.

Actionably and on topic:
Telling one's parent one's earnings is great if a parent can give good advice on how to invest and save.

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Last edited by Sandtrap on Sat May 16, 2020 9:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
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bampf
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by bampf »

Cheez-It Guy wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 1:16 am
bampf wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 12:19 am Do not share. Nothing good comes of it. If times get rough, you are the one they go to, regardless of your situation. I have never seen anything good about letting someone know how much you make. Be the humble bazillionaire and share your wealth quietly by helping but never, never, never share the amounts you have, make or donate. Never.
I would make an exception for parents. I'm probably misinterpreting, but what does it matter if your parents know? They raised you, and I would help my parents if they needed it and if I could. Thankfully, I don't expect to be in that position, but we are open about finances, and it's never been a problem. It seems like you don't want parents to know your situation because you don't want to potentially be asked to help your own parents, which to me is bizarre, but I realize there are many different circumstances and relationships, and I've been very fortunate in this regard.
It isn't that I dont want to help my parents. I have and would again in a minute. It is that during the course of human discourse, language and presumptions are formed and articulated predicated on knowledge and expectations. Simply, when parents talk to relatives and other siblings you trust that they are not employing language such that you are made to sound like a rich uncle, brother, nephew, grandson, and so forth. However, knowledge colors language and one day you wake up and everyone around you thinks you are made of money and the subtle snide comments or latent envy is front and center and you don't quite know how it got that way but it did. And nothing you do or say can ever put the toothpaste back in the tube. And any misfortune you might experience subsequent to that subtle and prevalent undercurrent of "he is rich" is met with "its not so bad, he is made of money" regardless of truth.

So, better to be thought of as ordinary and make enough but not "killing it". Just saying.
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Re: [any downside to telling your parents your income?]

Post by printer86 »

I've spent the last 30 or so years in the same role as you. I've also had several blowout years where I probably lapped all my sibling's earnings combined. Do not share your earnings numbers with family. Especially variable income earnings.

If you want your mother to share in your pride, just tell her that you were the top Rep in your company last year. But also be humble enough to state that everyone starts at zero again on January 1st.
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Re: [any downside to telling your parents your income?]

Post by galawdawg »

unstoppable wrote: Fri May 15, 2020 10:17 pm ...absolutely crushed it last year. I was #1 out of many, and doubled the person closest to me. I just gave it my absolute all and really just had laser like focus. I was determined to make as much as humanly possible...

...proud of my rockstar year...

...My siblings all went with your typical high paying salary jobs etc, but I’m sure I’ve thoroughly surpassed those levels...


(not a competition and I’m the last one to have an ego or showoff).

Are you sure about that? :wink:

As a parent of three grown children, I can say that how much they earn a year in their employment would probably rank close to last in the "reasons to be proud of my kids". Perhaps different cultures or families place more value or emphasis on money to measure the worth of a child. Yes, I want them to live below their means, support their families, enjoy life and give generously, all while preparing for the future. But each of those values is not dependent upon their compensation. If anything, it is more impressive when a person can do those things while earning a more modest income and making sacrifices than when a person brings home six figures a year after taxes and retirement savings.

I think the words of Jack Bogle from his book “Enough: True Measures of Money, Business and Life” bear repeating:
The most important things in life and in business can’t be measured. The trite bromide ‘If you can measure it, you can manage it’ has been a hindrance in the building of a great real-world organization, just as it has been a hindrance in evaluating the real-world economy. It is character, not numbers, that make the world go ‘round. How can we possibly measure the qualities of human existence that give our lives and careers meaning? How about grace, kindness, and integrity? What value do we put on passion, devotion, and trust? How much do cheerfulness, the lilt of a human voice, and a touch of pride add to our lives? Tell me, please, if you can, how to value friendship, cooperation, dedication, and spirit. Categorically, the firm that ignores the intangible qualities that the human beings who are our colleagues bring to their careers will never build a great workforce or a great organization.
And since you say your mom is proud of you anyway, maybe as others suggested you can share your successful year with her by treating her to a nice meal at her favorite restaurant, giving her something she has always wanted but wouldn't buy for herself, or taking a trip you can enjoy together. That would probably be more meaningful to her than seeing your W-2.
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Re: [any downside to telling your parents your income?]

Post by LiveSimple »

if you think that you wanted to share your success with your mom, just do it. I am sure she will be happy and responsible with the information you shared.

If you do miss the opportunity, you may keep thinking about the same, for a very loooong time. :sharebeer
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by stoptothink »

123 wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 12:04 am Rather than being happy with the amount of a child's earnings I think most parents are happy when they know that their child is a good fit for the job they have and the child is happy with the job. Doesn't really matter if the chidl works at McDonalds or is an MD from that perspective.
+1. I'm confused how this would be anything but pointless bragging. I can tell you, I have a brother who constantly talks about how much money he makes (he's the oldest and the only one of us who doesn't have a college degree - it is obviously a way for him to hide his obvious personal feelings of coming up short) and it annoys my mom to no end and has caused other family drama.
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Re: [any downside to telling your parents your income?]

Post by mega317 »

I thought of another downside. If mom thinks you are making less than your sibs you might be in line for a larger share of any inheritance :twisted:
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212
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Re: [any downside to telling your parents your income?]

Post by bberris »

You get to pick up the check every time you go out.
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Re: [any downside to telling your parents your income?]

Post by ADower »

As someone who has kids I would more or less want my kids to tell me they’re living comfortably. I wouldn’t necessarily care to know their income.
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Re: [any downside to telling your parents your income?]

Post by MathWizard »

Since you are asking about possible downsides:
Suppose that one of your sibling falls on hard times.
It might be hard for your parents not to suggest that you will
come to their aid, since you are "killing it".

I all depends on your family.

My kids have told me how much they are making. Our kids roughly know our net worth
(at least to the extent that it is over $1 million) but that is because they are working, and I have
shared how much they will need to retire, and I am close to retirement.


You could also get resentment from your parents:
My nephew has quit telling his dad how much he makes after he told his dad he was
making $100K just 5 years out of college, and the dad responded that he never made more
than $60K/yr. His dad was successful in his field, it just wasn't a high paying field.
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Re: [any downside to telling your parents your income?]

Post by DesertDiva »

Every family is different and I’m sure that financial transparency can work in some cases — however I can’t think of a single upside to sharing financial details with anyone other than my spouse.
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Cheez-It Guy
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Re: Sharing income with parent(s)?

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

bampf wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 8:22 am
Cheez-It Guy wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 1:16 am
bampf wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 12:19 am Do not share. Nothing good comes of it. If times get rough, you are the one they go to, regardless of your situation. I have never seen anything good about letting someone know how much you make. Be the humble bazillionaire and share your wealth quietly by helping but never, never, never share the amounts you have, make or donate. Never.
I would make an exception for parents. I'm probably misinterpreting, but what does it matter if your parents know? They raised you, and I would help my parents if they needed it and if I could. Thankfully, I don't expect to be in that position, but we are open about finances, and it's never been a problem. It seems like you don't want parents to know your situation because you don't want to potentially be asked to help your own parents, which to me is bizarre, but I realize there are many different circumstances and relationships, and I've been very fortunate in this regard.
It isn't that I dont want to help my parents. I have and would again in a minute. It is that during the course of human discourse, language and presumptions are formed and articulated predicated on knowledge and expectations. Simply, when parents talk to relatives and other siblings you trust that they are not employing language such that you are made to sound like a rich uncle, brother, nephew, grandson, and so forth. However, knowledge colors language and one day you wake up and everyone around you thinks you are made of money and the subtle snide comments or latent envy is front and center and you don't quite know how it got that way but it did. And nothing you do or say can ever put the toothpaste back in the tube. And any misfortune you might experience subsequent to that subtle and prevalent undercurrent of "he is rich" is met with "its not so bad, he is made of money" regardless of truth.

So, better to be thought of as ordinary and make enough but not "killing it". Just saying.
That's certainly valid. I suppose it also depends on personalities and whether you can trust family to be tactful, or better yet, to say nothing. My blood family is very small. Living in a small house, looking like a pauper, and driving extremely conservative cars doesn't hurt either. People are more likely to form their own conclusions based on such outward signs.
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Re: [any downside to telling your parents your income?]

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