I work in the IT department at a financial institution, and we recently hired a new person into our department. He's a quick learner and great to work with, but myself and another coworker have noticed a tendency to make assumptions about others' personal finances that are not exactly offensive, but still feel tone-deaf and invasive.
For example, when he was getting signed up for benefits and discussing whether to select a traditional or an HSA plan, he tried to tell me that I should sign up for the HSA (Health Savings Account) plan, on the assumption that I had several thousand dollars lying around to pay the high premiums on that plan like he does. I kind of shrugged it off and tried to change the subject, but this same behavior came up again when talking about cryptocurrency investments. I love having another cryptocurrency geek in the office, but it's hard not to resent his assumption that everyone has money lying around like he does to make large, risky investments like that.
I get paid fairly well in my current position, but I'm also saddled with quite a bit of student debt that eats into a chunk of my monthly income. I'm only a few years out of school, and am still getting my financial footing established, whereas this person seems like they have a lot of family money, and for his age (early 30s) it seems like he's pretty well-off (talking about doing thousands of dollars worth of Ethereum trades at once and being able to spend thousands of dollars on home renovations). I get the impression that this is what drives his assumptions about others' finances.
My question is, what's the best way to tell him that personal finances are a private matter, and that he shouldn't make so many assumptions about other peoples' situations or try to dictate what decisions others should make? I would like to just say "I'm too poor for that", but that would leave me feeling awkward and embarrassed.
In any workplace people are going to talk about benefits, and naturally at a financial institution money will always be a topic of conversation. I don't want to stifle any of that discussion, but the issue is that I want this person to be more cognizant of how most people's personal finances look a lot different than his own.
EDIT (in response to questions):
- I'm not sure how well-off they actually are (since that's none of my business), but as far as I can tell they're being honest, from working with them for a few months they seem to be trustworthy.
- I'm located in the US, where I know talking about finances is generally considered taboo, compared with other countries. Unlike other Americans, I don't see it as taboo but as something that should be treated sensitively.