Here is a random observation. This started as a one or two liner and then got longer so I changed the title:
The more income a person has, the less comfortable he is discussing it with general company. When there is disparate income between relatives, the higher income person really, really does not want to discuss money. There is a certain level of income above which nobody wants to discuss it unless they are quite certain that everyone around also makes a similar income. I am ballparking this income amount around 75K when all of sudden the topic falls to the verboten category, but that's not a hard and fast guess. When the topic of money comes up, the people who have it fall strangely silent.
Now why is this? I think there are two things at play. First I have heard that around 75K of income is the level where money stops being an issue. At that income and above, you can afford all the basics and a reasonable amount of luxury on top of it. I wonder if the topic falls away because money just isn't really a concern anymore for those who budget wisely. Nothing to talk about. Second I think there is some level of guilt, especially with family, from having more than others. I'm not saying that people who make more think they don't deserve their income (or that I think they don't deserve their income), but that when you are in a position of having and others, especially family, who come from similar circumstances as you but don't have as much income or actually struggle to make ends meet, there is some feeling of guilt about the situation. Why do I have this money while others don't? I think there is a self-consciousness about the differences in circumstance that makes the higher income person clam up.
I would also imagine this scenario happens when most of the company has lots of money and there's that one guy who doesn't. The conversation is all about their venture capital investments while the poor guy is hoping that nobody notices that he is just smiling and nodding. I would guess that happens too.
(See, I like to talk money, but I've found that almost no one else does.)