Money may not automatically make you charming, but there are ways you can — and probably should — have good manners when it comes to money.
That’s according to the latest edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette, a century-old authority on how to navigate daily life with grace and etiquette. You won’t find any hot tips for balancing books on your head or kissing a suitor's hand Bridgerton-style in the 2022 version, but it does provide advice on how to handle modern financial situations with class.
The centennial edition of the gold-standard etiquette guide from Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning, the great-great-grandchildren of the guide’s original writer and socialite Emily Post, offers insight on subjects like discussing salaries and accepting gifts.
Here are a few of the just-released book's modern money rules.
1. Talk about money
Gone are the days of being tight-lipped about how much money you make and avoiding sharing information about finances. The Posts say that not only should you ask questions about salaries and such, but you should also strive to engage in discussions about personal finance. It can empower others and help everyone better understand wealth.
That said, according to the guide, you should still be sensitive. Your finances — and other people’s — are still personal, so remember that there is a difference between talking to your friends about what investing apps they use and being nosy about what’s in their portfolios.
“By not discussing money, equality and empowerment can suffer,” the Posts write. “When approaching the subject of money, try to raise it tactfully. ‘I’m looking to get a better sense of what salaries for my job look like in this market, would you be willing to discuss it?’ is more polite than, ‘What do you make? It’s no big deal to share.’”
2. Don’t ask for gifts on Venmo
Everyone likes getting money as a present, so forget old-fashioned views that deem it inappropriate and impersonal to give (or accept) a card full of cash, the Posts say. But don’t start distributing your Venmo handle to your wedding guests.
Though it might be more convenient for you to get direct contributions to your personal bank account, it’s tacky, and not everyone has or know how to use digital payments platforms (read: Don’t make your grandparents learn how to PayPal). “Giving multiple ways to engage is always a good idea when gifts are expected,” the Posts say.
And a tip for the giver: If you choose to send an electronic gift card or digital wedding present, add a card or note. A little personalization goes a long way.
3. Be transparent about financial expectations with roommates
Roommate arguments about bills do not make for a happy home. Have regular positive, productive conversations about household financial issues and set expectations before tensions arise.
Being clear and direct about rental agreements, security deposits, shared supplies and utilities can help prevent any future grief. If money-related stuff does become an issue with roommates, the Posts urge you to strive to find a resolution, such as a repayment schedule, quickly.
“Money issues can be hard for people to talk about. Conversations about money should be open and honest and handled with tact,” they write. “Starting off clearly will get you going on the right foot.”
4. Picking up the check doesn’t have to be weird
Post’s original 1922 advice described the process of paying a group restaurant bill as “awkward,” but her grandchildren say that these days, it’s not that big of a deal.
“People are aware of and not ashamed at all by the fact that someone will have to foot the bill for the meal. However, Emily’s points of not making a show by tallying everything up in front of guests, and leaving a tip, are still appropriate today,” the Posts write.
One simple way to tackle a restaurant bill is to have one person pay and have the other guests reimburse them. Separate checks are just fine, too, as long as you make sure to tell your server before you order — and are understanding if the restaurant cannot split the bill.
If a guest doesn’t order much or drink alcohol, it’s polite to speak up for them and adjust payment expectations accordingly. As for the age-old question of how to pay for a meal on a date? There's nothing wrong with offering to treat, but respect your date’s request to split the bill.
5. Always tip your waiters and drivers
Speaking of restaurants, one rule that hasn’t changed since the roaring '20s is that shortchanging your server or driver is very uncouth. The standard tip should be 15% to 20% of the bill for servers and 10% to 20% for cab drivers — no ifs, ands or buts about it.
That means, yes, you have to pay up after an Uber, Lyft or other rideshares.
“Never stiff your driver on a tip," the Posts write. "For rideshares you can also leave a rating, and always remember that good etiquette counts, and don’t forget your driver can rate you as well!”