Breaking the Salary Secrecy: Upgraded Points Reveals New Findings on Uncomfortable Pay and Debt Discussions Among Americans

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 13, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Upgraded Points published the results of a recent study exploring ongoing taboos related to debt disclosure and publicly discussing pay with others.

“It’s no surprise that Americans are very private about finances,” said Keri Stooksbury, editor-in-chief at Upgraded Points. “But we wanted to help encourage an open and supportive environment that nurtures financial health. And that starts with communication.”

Study Methodology

The survey explored the openness of financial discussions at work, at home, and within social circles by questioning 1,000 employed Americans. Questions ranged from privacy preferences in different life spheres and habits of lying about financial details to comfortability with financial disclosure overall.

The Unspoken Financial Taboos of the American Workplace

  • The Unspoken Rule: 43% of employed Americans feel uncomfortable discussing salaries with coworkers.
  • Knowledge Is Power: Only 41% know what their colleagues are making — 25% of these informed individuals leveraged this knowledge for better salaries.
  • Gender Negotiation Divides: 30% of men reported using salary insights for negotiation compared to only 20% of women.
  • The Interview Fib: Surprisingly, 36% of job applicants inflate their previous salary figures during interviews.
  • Generation Gap: Financial openness varies greatly by age, with 45% of Gen Z and 41% of millennials comfortable discussing work finances, far more than the 22% of Gen X and 21% of baby boomers who feel the same way.

The Secrets of Financial Privacy at Home

  • Closed Accounts Under the Same Roof: Nearly 25% of coupled Americans keep debt a secret from partners, with the silence louder among those earning less than $40K.
  • The Ultimate Taboo: 22% of Americans would rather discuss their sex lives with their parents than reveal their bank balances.
  • Generational Divide in Financial Openness: A quarter of millennials are an open book about their savings with their parents, hinting at shifting attitudes toward financial transparency.

Financial Secrets Among Friends

  • Closed Bank Statements: A staggering 70% of Americans keep their annual income a mystery from even their closest friends, highlighting the private nature of personal finances.
  • Comfort in Numbers: Only 30% of Americans are truly at ease talking money with peers, with men slightly more open than women.
  • Generational Preferences: Gen Z breaks the mold, preferring to share financial details when asked whether they would rather do that than share their DMs.
  • Truth or Dare Finance: More than half of Americans would opt to reveal their online search histories over their financial dealings, indicating a preference for privacy over transparency.
  • Not Very Honest: A significant portion admits to fibbing about their financial status, with men more likely to exaggerate to friends, and women to job interviewers and colleagues.

Check out the complete stats, and all questions asked, along with other helpful data and infographics by reading the full study online.

About Upgraded Points LLC

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Upgraded Points is a travel company that helps to demystify the complex world of travel and credit cards. Launched in 2016 by Alex Miller, Upgraded Points uses targeted research efforts and in-depth studies to help travelers maximize their travel, points, and experiences. Learn more at:

Media Contact:
Alex Miller, Founder

SOURCE Upgraded Points LLC