smart spending

How to stay friends when salaries differ

Don't make assumptions
Don't make assumptions © Rido/Shutterstock.com

So many factors play into one's financial health. A highly paid doctor may be digging her way out of mountains of debt. A modestly compensated teacher may be sitting on a nice cushion of savings accumulated over the years.

"Don't just assume that because the person has a lower-paying job that they're struggling financially," says Dlugozima. These assumptions may come off as condescending, especially when coming from a friend with a higher income. Sure, it's a good, sensitive move for wealthier friends to suggest more affordable activities, but propose an array of options, says Dlugozima. "Instead of saying, 'Hey, I know you're broke,' say 'Hey, I was thinking of doing a potluck dinner or going out.'" By suggesting a few different social options, you give your friend the ability to splurge if he wants to or decide to go with the more affordable option.

If you're the friend who makes less money, don't assume that you're disappointing your highly paid friend by suggesting a picnic instead of an expensive night on the town. Sometimes, this comes as a relief to the person making more money, who also wants to reign in spending but, because of her high income, feels pressure to keep up a certain lifestyle, Kinney says.

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