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News Article

“What do you earn and what do you weigh?” Which questions get your back up?

Published 26 August 2014 by

We’ve all had those uncomfortable moments at parties, work dos, weddings and other social occasions when someone has turned to us and asked a question that just makes us cringe. It might be how much we paid for our handbag; whether we’re in a relationship or who we voted for at the last election – but it’s guaranteed to be personal and something we’d rather not answer.

A new poll* conducted for us has revealed the questions that are most likely to make Brits wince.

Money, money, money

Believe it or not, money is a subject that makes more people in the UK feel uncomfortable when asked about it than a host of other personal issues. In fact, the question that the most respondents felt uncomfortable about answering was: “What do you earn?”

This may not seem like the most personal and probing question on the face of it, but actually three-quarters of those surveyed said it made them feel ill-at-ease when they were queried about it. That’s more than the number of people who felt uncomfortable when asked about their age (42%) or even their weight (71%).

Personal finances

In fact, financial questions often won out over personal questions as being the queries that made the most people cringe. As you can see from our table below, questions like “how much did that cost?” and “how much debt do you have” were more likely to get people’s backs up than being asked when they planned to have kids, or whether they were married.

Question % of people who feel uncomfortable answering it
What do you earn? 76%
How much do you weigh? 71%
How much debt do you have? 66%
How much did that cost? 52%
Who do you vote for? 50%
How old are you? 42%
When are you going to have kids? 31%
When are you getting married? 26%
Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? 25%
Are your parents still together? 22%
What did/do your parents do? 21%
Are you married? 19%

Questions, questions, questions

Of course, it’s not really unusual to feel uncomfortable about answering questions like the above– particularly if you hardly know the person asking you. However, they may be questions we need to ask ourselves once in a while.

For example, “how much did that cost?” is a question half of respondents felt uncomfortable answering – but it’s a query they could ask themselves regularly if they want to keep on top of their budget. The same is true of “how much debt do you have?”.

By asking yourself the important financial questions and answering them honestly there should be less chance of you losing track of your money and winding up with less cash than you thought.

*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 24Th July and 31st July 2014, of whom 620 were Scottish residents.