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Why you should actually be completely open about how much money you make

Talking about your income can often feel uncomfortable and unnecessary, but here are several reasons why it's important to discuss your salary with people you trust. Many years ago it was common to have a clause in your employment contract that prevented you from sharing your salary with anyone, however, times have definitely changed. While this is still something that happens, it’s a lot less common and should be used to your advantage. Personal finance author Kelley Keehn shared reasons why you should share your salary and who to do it with.

WHO YOU SHOULD SHARE YOUR SALARY WITH

The bottom line is that your family and close friends should know how much you make, especially your spouse/partner. Sharing your salary with your partner is a key aspect of financial life planning. Many couples don't know much either person makes and it can put them at a huge disadvantage. Talking to your colleagues about salary is crucial. It’s important to check, and double-check, your contract to make sure there’s not a clause that stops you from sharing this information. If you’re unsure, speak to HR to clarify. On the other hand, you shouldn’t share your salary with people who you know are way outside your pay grade industry as there’s no benefit to it.

HOW TO BRING UP SALARY IN A CONVERSATION

Not everyone will be open about sharing the details of their salary so it's important to be respectful and aware when inquiring about a colleague or friend's pay. A good way to bring up salary ranges to a colleague is by mentioning that you're researching your position salary. However, having these conversations can often lead to the realization that you're being underpaid.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU REALIZE YOU'RE UNDERPAID

Approaching your boss for a raise is a tricky situation to navigate. Before leaping in, become informed with what other people in your position are getting paid and decide what you believe is a reasonable rate to ask for. You can ask a colleague the question, "Would you mind if I asked you what salary range you're in so I can have an informed chat with our boss for a raise?" Try and give them an out if they don't seem open to sharing. For example, "I understand if you're under a confidential contract," or "Is there any chance you know someone in my situation that I could talk to about a realistic salary to compare?" Having a range can still be helpful, even if the individual doesn't want to share exact numbers. 

When it comes to finding out whether or not you're being paid fairly, talking to a head hunter or talent agency can help you identify a range that’s current for the job you have or seek.