Sunday, December 5, 2010


"Please! I'm only supposed to think beautiful thoughts."

- Elizabeth Taylor in The Last Time I Saw Paris 
when her boyfriend tries to discuss finances

Of course, financial planning is part of being in a responsible relationship (sorry Elizabeth). But there is rarely another time when money should become a topic of conversation with anyone outside of HR. Yet refraining from financial discussions is one of the most often violated rules of etiquette. CBS News reports that in spite of the widepsread recession, there are still those who crassly bring up their own wealth or assets. To make sure you are not one of these offenders, CBS News enlisted Peter Post of The Emily Post Institute to with tips on how to handle 3 of the most sensitive conversation topics regarding money:

1. Your Salary: Everyone knows you should never divulge your income unless you're speaking with a headhunter or spouse. The same guidelines apply to your bonus. And under no circumstances should you ever brag about your compensation package, even if you don't mention an exact number. Sometimes, however, you may be put in the uncomfortable position of someone asking you how much you earn. The only appropriate response is "I make enough to get by", says Post.

2. Cars: 
You never start a conversation by talking about the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan you just purchased. And you certainly don't mention its sticker price -- even if you feel you negotiated a great deal. But if you do own, say, a Ferrari, it's okay to drive it around town and even to your kid's school, says Post. The key is to never discuss an automobile's value, he says. 
If asked what you drive, you should simply name the car that sits in your driveway and leave it at that.

3. Public versus Private School: 
It's no secret that private elementary and high schools cost a small fortune and can serve as a status symbol for families. Post, however, feels it's wrong to name drop your alma mater with strangers or to try and impress friends who went public. If asked where you went to school, you should mention the private school's name but then follow up with something you gained from the experience.

For the full article and list of sensitive topics, click here.

In summary, the only people who can talk about money and remain fabulous are the Flying Lizards, circa 1979:

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