When I'm at social gatherings/parties, people would enquire about my job and, because I'm an app developer, they think I earn substantially more than I do. (Oh, the joy!) They then follow up asking about my job with something along the lines of
"So, how much do you earn then?"
What would be a valid response when someone asks this question, as this information isn't something I feel comfortable giving out.
Note: I don't care too much about where data protection/professionalism is involved, i.e. a recruiter asking me how much I currently earn for them to gauge how much I would like to earn in another job or when applying for a loan (as a couple of examples).
How I would normally respond is:
"Enough to pay the bills"
This way, they'll get that you're unwilling to disclose this information, they'll also know you earn enough to get by.
You should reply with a polite undertone which insinuates that you're saying it in a way that you haven't taken offence to the question, either.
As @Emrakul rightly points out in the comments. Your body language can change this response from a light-hearted and friendly one to a hostile one. So, as recommended a "Smile, grin and shrug" alongside the speech, should suffice.
I go the other way
Not nearly enough
It's a pretty crass question, and not one that I like to answer.
In the UK, it is incredibly rude to directly ask someone how much they earn. I wouldn't even expect to be asked by my own parents. It's not necessary to make light of the situation or play it off with humour. You can just respond with
I prefer not to say.
That's not something I talk about.
You wouldn't be considered rude by refusing the answer the question, the person who asked the question is the one being rude.
I'm always reminded of my sage uncle's answer to such rude, inappropriate questions:
If you'll forgive me for not answering, I'll forgive you for asking
I'm a physician, and people often think that as a result, I make a ton of money. Some people let their curiosity get the better of them and ask me how much I make. I usually say,
Not nearly as much as you'd think; enough to get by and to take a decent vacation once in a while, but not enough to have saved for our kids' college tuitions! That's gonna hurt!
That usually is all that is needed, and from there, the conversation can be steered to kids, colleges, recent vacations (recommendations?), etc. Also, the answer is true.
Farming takes a significant amount of money. I've had two colleagues who were also farmers. One of them would answer that question with, "Enough to keep farming."
A clever quote I had often used in a humorous way is
You might very well ask that; but I couldn't possibly comment.
which is one of the many variants of a quote from House of Cards. It's used as a plausibly deniable way of agreeing with people and/or leaking information.
NOTE: Use with caution, and only to friends who will "get" it. And as always, your body language will be a factor.
Being a developer myself I'm often in this situation and it all depends on "who's asking" maybe it's someone who doesn't think it's a big deal because of their culture.
In any case it's custom that the person asking provides their information first (Asia for example) so just ask back
"why, how much do you make?"
that way they can answer honestly if not that will defuse the situation.
Of course if they are being friendly just humorously say:
"not enough man, why? you got an offer?".
I'd say something like
More than I need, less than I want.
It shows that you're getting by, and at the same time balances ambition and modesty.
Enough to get by, but not as much as I'd like
This is a slight variation to yours, but often the one I would use if I am not comfortable disclosing pay to strangers, friends or family. It has a nice
"I am doing good, but not Bill Gates rich"
feel to it.
Alternatively, a friend of mine loves using:
Not enough to sort from high to low
It's a joke about online shopping. When people go online shopping they often sort prices from "low to high", because you want to buy what is cheapest and not most expensive. My friend is implying he does not make enough to have the luxury to always shop and start with the most expensive option
Depends on the social situation, but it usually comes out as the following:
None of your business
For me, it's all in the tone of how it is delivered. I can say it playfully if I get on with the person asking and I don't mind sharing / just leave them hanging if I change my mind last second. Or it can come out sharp and blunt to imply "Don't be so rude. Don't push it."
"You'd have to ask my accountant." (The joke is that if you have an accountant, he/she won't answer either.)
The way to respond in a manner that doesn't offends people while keeping your privacy, based on the consensus of people I have met, is simply to say what the "average entry-level person" in your position makes. It would require you to have connections in your field or do a little research pre-hand, but that wouldn't be hard to know for someone with years of experience.