Back in the day, it was commonplace to refer to a man as “sir” and a woman as “madam.” And, arriving fashionably late was actually considered polite.
Times have changed, and we’ve come a long way from those old-fashioned customs. Yet, oftentimes, we still approach our finances in the same way we did 20 or even 50 years ago. Isn’t it time you adopted modern money habits?
To help you change the way you approach your finances and kick your old money habits to the curb, take a look at 5 money matters that no longer apply today:
1. Tipping your server 15 percent
Tipping 15 percent is an unspoken money rule that still persists to this day. To boil it down further, once the check arrives, the common knowledge is this: tip your server 15 percent for good service, 18 percent for slightly better service, and 20 percent for excellent service.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with tipping the lower amount, but sometimes this just isn’t enough, says etiquette consultant Jodi RR Smith.
Alexander Lowry, a finance professor at Gordon College, says this money myth persists in part because some states have enacted higher minimum wages. Plus, some restaurants may pay servers more to discourage tipping from customers. But keep this in mind, even if waitstaff earn a higher hourly wage, their livelihood often depends on tips.
“Know your circumstances before assuming (tipping) 15 percent,” says Lowry. “And certainly add more if you’ve had exceptional service.”
2. The man pays on the first date.
Historically speaking, men are expected to take the financial lead and pay on the first date. For one thing, this indicates that they’re comfortable being assertive. But, it also hearkens to a time when men were automatically assumed to earn more money than women.
Simply put, this old-fashioned dating etiquette is falling by the wayside as gender roles and romantic expectations change. The new norm? Well, there is no new normal.
According to Smith, whoever asks the other person out should pick up the check on the first date. This doesn’t mean chivalry is dead. In fact, Smith says men and women should simply communicate with each other so that someone isn’t inadvertently stuck with the bill. One way to remove any awkwardness from a dinner date scenario is by agree to go dutch and split the bill.
April Davis, president of LUMA Luxury Matchmaking, has a slightly different point of view. She thinks the man should offer to pay on the first date, especially if he’s interested in a second date. On the other hand, the woman should only allow him to pay if she plans on seeing him again. Then, if there’s a second date, it’s the woman’s turn to pay.
“Men shouldn’t be expected to pay for everything, every time; both partners should take turns. Women are making more (money) now than ever and want a partnership versus just a relationship, and have no problem contributing to dates,” says Davis.
3. Wedding costs are paid by the bride’s family
Although the bride’s family still sometimes pays for the bulk of wedding costs, this is no longer the norm. In fact, weddings are often paid for by the couple, or both the bride and the groom’s parents can opt to contribute to the costs.
“This tradition dates back to when a woman’s family would pay a dowry, and she would then move straight from the family home to her new husband’s abode,” says Lowry.
In fact, it’s an old-world form of etiquette that’s based on when men were the breadwinners and women depended on their husbands for financial support. The bride’s parents, in turn, paid for the wedding because once she was married off, they would have no further financial obligations.
4. Parents always pay for dinner
When going out for dinner with your parents, they used to grab for the bill and pay the tab. This was the case whether the child was 10 years old or 50. For better or worse, this financial etiquette no longer applies, says Jacob Dayan, CEO and co-founder of Community Tax.
“In many cases, it’s no longer assumed that parents will cover all expenses,” says Dayan.
“For example, if grown children invite their parents out for dinner, the children pay, as they initiated the meal. If the parents extended the invitation, then it’s perfectly fine that they pay. What this rule comes down to is that it’s not a hard and fast rule that parents always pay, regardless of the situation.”
5. Don’t talk about money with your friends and family
“How much money do you make?” was always one of the most taboo questions you could ask anyone.
Income has always been a highly personal subject, and even if you feel like you’re simply inquiring about what someone earns, it’s historically been perceived as intrusive or overstepping a boundary. But, this doesn’t mean you must always refrain from talking about money and wages. Experts suggest more open communication about pay with friends and family you know well. Just remember to tread lightly and choose your topics carefully.
For example, according to Smith, you should still never ask someone how much money they spend. Instead, turn to Google for your answers.
“Today we can price anything from shoes to cars to houses with a quick search. It is still rude to ask how much someone paid for something,” says Smith.
As you can see, money manners have changed over the years. While there still may be some truth to old-fashioned money norms, times are changing and so is money etiquette. Are you ready to move forward and leave behind outdated money habits?