My workplace skews way older than me and a few years younger than me. At 28, I don’t think I’m unreasonably old, but most of the younger people are about 3-5 years younger than me, which feels like a lot.
I’ve noticed that a lot of the older people really want to give advice. Usually it’s for something I’m already doing (don’t they know who I am?!), like contributing to my 401K or saving for a house. This doesn’t go unappreciated, since I know many of my closest coworkers are millionaires, at least in terms of the worth of their (sadly discontinued) pension plans, but also because they’ve all been working for 30+ years and you tend to accumulate money in that period of time. One guy always tells me to buy gold. Another one tells me what a bad idea it is to get married or have children.
Mostly, I don’t talk about money, unless I’m throwing in a little joke about being broke or how puny my paycheck is compared to theirs or how we’ll have to give up groceries to pay for our new smartphones. Every once in a while I’ll share some of my nerdish leanings, like how at the end of last year I couldn’t work any extra graveyard shifts because the overtime would screw up my 401K contributions. (“Why do you even know that?” asked my boss.)
With the younger people, I try to take a bit of a guiding role. I spent an afternoon waxing poetic about my Roth IRA to a good friend of mine. I dragged her to a retirement planning seminar where I dozed as she scribbled down notes. I’m planning to loan her my copy of I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Still, I just nod along when someone says, “We had to take out loans to pay for it. No one has $4,000 just laying around, right?”
It’s easy to pretend that we’re not doing as well as we are, because I keep setting excessive goals for us (I still don’t have complete confidence that we’ll make our savings goals for the year…) and thus I feel squeezed even if the only thing suffering is our savings. I don’t dress as well as some other girls, and no one was impressed when I got my iPhone because it’s been out for a couple years now. What I mean is, I’m not projecting an image of wealth. And because I’m still relatively young and making a very good salary due to my degrees & some lucky jobhopping, no one really knows how much I’m making.
Or maybe they all read my blog and just shake their heads when I pretend I don’t have an emergency fund.
Do you hide your financial nerdiness, or are you loud and proud about your savings prowess? Do you think people would treat you differently if they knew what your net worth is?