Do You Really Want To Know How Much Others Make? Thumbnail

In Western society, we tend to be so secretive about how much money we make at work and at our other endeavours. Talking about money is taboo, in part because relationships can change and people can act funny once they know the truth.

It can be tricky to know when you can talk about how much you make. However, this taboo is not a world-wide phenomenon.  Westerners often encounter culture shock when traveling to Asia, whether for business or pleasure, and one of the differences between Asian culture and Western culture is that Asians have no taboos about discussing monthly or yearly salaries!

What if money was not a taboo in Western culture? Would we have a better relationship with money, with our finances, and with each other?

It’s a well-known fact that the savings rate in the western world is absolutely abysmal. Saving 10% of your income is considered hefty, and many people embrace a joie de vivre which is all about enjoying life and the present. Asians, on the other hand, have absolutely no problems with saving significant portions of money, for today and for the future.  We’re talking 30-50% in places such as China and Japan.

Today, the western world is in relative decline and Asia is a rising star. We are growing ever-more indebted; they are growing wealthier. We are growing more entitled, and they are working ever-harder. Can something be done to stem the tide?

The advantages of a more transparent society

Pay would be more closely tied to performance. What often happens with companies is that some people are friends with the boss, or some people just happen to have been around a long time, and during better years they were awarded big raise after big raise. After some period of time, their pay is out of line with their peers.

This isn’t such a big problem so long as newer employees, who may be working harder and doing more, don’t know about the injustice. Eventually, though, word gets around, whether accurate or not, and because everything is so hush-hush, HR and management don’t react until after many star players have already left.

What if things were more transparent?

  • The company would have to adjust pay to actual performance. Simple longevity or being friends with the boss wouldn’t be enough.
  • The company would have an easier time attracting and retaining star employees. They would have to justify giving a higher salary, of course, but these employees would be motivated to work harder, since they would know the boundaries of what they could achieve if they applied themselves.

It’s simple: Those who believe they are giving back more than they receive will move on to greener pastures, while those being fairly compensated or those who are receiving more than they give back will stay behind. The company, and the shareholders by extension, lose out.

We already do this online.

You may have seen how many fellow bloggers share their net worth updates online. You might also have seen how other fellow bloggers share their great success in building up their online empires. Don’t you find these figures interesting, and something to learn from?

I am personally fascinated by those who have made it. I find it very compelling to learn when someone else has been able to make a living online, and I try to learn more from them so that I can improve myself and work toward earning my own success.  You can find examples of how much various professions make.

The only loser is a fragile ego.

Sometimes it can be tough to learn that you’re not making as much as you think you deserve. Why are they doing so much better than me? Why am I earning less? However, knowledge is the first step to action. We can live in a bliss of ignorance, but then we won’t have that kick to push us to strive to improve ourselves.

That knowledge can be uncomfortable, and can lead to self-doubt and self-questioning. Can I make it? At the same time, that knowledge can also be a powerful motivator and a guiding light. What can be more inspiring than learning from those who have made it, whether at the workplace or online, and learning everything we can from their success. Learning that others make more than us can make us feel inferior, but can also push us to overcome our self-doubt and go where we want to be.


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It’s 2015 and the bull market continues. Make a decision to be wealthy by taking control of your finances!