One of my personal core values is honesty, transparency, and vulnerability. While there are different nuances to each of those terms, and shades of different meanings, they are words that point to an ideal world where we can know things about one another and not be ashamed. Yes, I’m an idealist.
So, with my idealism, I had consented to having my aggregated salary published in the Parade Magazine annual survey of people’s salaries several years back. (I agreed to being listed not out of pride or boasting. In fact, I am very disinterested in money matters at all: not motivated by it, not proud about it, would prefer not to balance my checkbook, would prefer not to invest, would prefer to not have anything to do with it.) What I made was just below Martha Stewart. Not salary-wise, of course, but in terms of how they placed our mug shots and salaries. I had my family consent to be published in the magazine back then. But over the course of time, her mind changed and that consent was withdrawn.
So, I no longer have it published on this website. I no longer disclose that personal information construed by many as a social taboo. Then today’s NYT featured a few blogs and websites (cf. Psst: Want to Know My Net Worth?) that are disclosing personal financial information, beyond salaries, and towards a full disclosure of net worth and spending habits (see bargaineering, NetWorthIQ, NevBlog) . I smiled upon their freedom to do that, and commend their courage to swim against the grain.
I am accommodating to social norms for the sake of peace at home and at work. But I think I have the freedom to make a small mention of my personal preference, not making a big stink over things, or my own withholding of exercising personal freedom here — so what if I don’t get to air all of my personal opinions in daily rants, sometimes called being authentic and real. Yes, I do know that disclosure of money related matters can cause some people to feel envy or jealous or inadequate or superior or proud or uncomfortable, but the point is that we should call people to maturity, not cater to people’s immaturity.