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Let's talk about money, shall we?


AlmiraGulch

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Because we haven't had quite enough controversial topics lately.   :)

 

Specifically, I mean the taboo about it, and the value judgments made because of it, and the shame associated with it.  

 

It seems to me that we judge each other based on what we think is someone's financial situation, and I cannot figure out why we do that.  It also doesn't matter if you think they have money, or if you think they don't.  The judgement comes, regardless.  I can't think of anything else that causes that response so quickly and so universally.

 

I also find that people have a tremendous amount of shame and guilt tied to their own financial circumstances, regardless if you have a lot of money or are barely making ends meet.  

 

For example, my husband is a salesman.  He was telling me that a man came in to buy and in the process of the credit app he listed that his income was $65,000.  My husband asked if that was annual, and the man looked away and down and very tentatively said that it was actually per month.  Why would that cause someone to be embarrassed?  The man was an anesthesiologist. That salary, while more than I'll ever make in my lifetime, is within the range of what is normal for an anesthesiologist to make.  On the other hand, the next person will come in, perhaps making $65,000 per year, and will still look down and away, because.....what?  Somehow that isn't enough money to be making this sort of purchase? 

 

I don't know why people care so much about what other people do with their money, or why we feel we need to defend our riches or lack thereof.  I don't know why I sometimes feel like I have to justify a vacation, for example, in anticipation of someone else saying they wouldn't take the vacation because they don't have X months of savings in the bank first.  It's none of their business what I do with mine, and none of mine what they do with theirs.

 

So....the questions:

 

Why do we make those judgments?

 

Where does the shame/taboo come from?

 

Where did we learn to be this way?

 

Let's discuss.  

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I think it comes from corporations and marketing.  They want us to buy, buy, buy, and one way to do that is subtly get us to associate the monetary worth of our possessions with the kind of people we are.  If you watch commercials, it's there in almost every one.  If you're a good parent, you'll buy this name-brand peanut butter/this fancy SUV so your kids can chase fireflies in the mountains/this expensive life insurance policy/etc.  

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I can see why someone who makes $65,000 a month would be embarrassed to say it.  There is a lot of vitriol directed at "the rich" and I guess by most definitions that salary would qualify.

 

I think some of it is marketing/advertising as Mergath said, and the desire people have to buy "the best."   Some people are also very competitive. My kid gets comments from friends because he still has a flip phone. The phone does everything he needs and he doesn't really care, but other people seem to.  I am not sure if kids get that strictly from advertising or from their parents as well - probably both.

 

People also have no concept of the difference between earnings and disposable income.  My kids used to belong to the YMCA but I could not afford a membership for myself.  An acquaintance of mine would sometimes be there when I was picking up my kids and ask why I didn't use the facilities too.  I told her we could not afford it.  She was shocked though I am not sure why since she was not in a position to know our income.  Maybe it was because we own a home in a decent neighborhood in a high CoL area and don't appear to be "poor."  But that house payment takes a big chunk of our income, so there are other things we can't afford.  It was a choice we made (and some poor timing).   Similarly, we know young people who don't make a lot of money but travel a lot, taking way more trips than we can afford to.  But they live in inexpensive apartments, have no kids, etc. Their lives are not comparable to ours.  We are not jealous, but some mutual acquaintances seem to be ("Wow, Tom and Kelly are flying out west again!  Must be nice to have all that money for trips...").   Why? 

 

I'm not sure this exactly fits the conversation.  It's what came to mind.   Money is so weird.  Or, I should say, peoples' relationships with money are so weird.

 

 

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I have a hard time with this question after being a teacher of Crown Financial for the past 8 years.  We see over and over again people saying that they need to make some huge changes to their finances to live within (or under) their means.  I think MANY people tend to buy things they don't need, spend more than they make, make poor financial decisions, and then whine about how expensive it is just to "live."  

 

So, I don't know if you would call it a judgement.....well, yes, you could.  A judgement is simply coming to a conclusion based on evidence.  

 

However, if there is no evidence, I don't make a judgement.  

 

But if you tell me you make $30K, can barely pay your bills, and then go out and get a brand new car with $450 payments, then yes, I do have an opinion about that AND you have already shared your financial plight.

 

If you simply tell me you bought a new car......I don't care in the least to judge your financial abilities.

 

 

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I never really gave it much thought, so what I am about to say will be deemed "anti-intellectualism" by some :p but here goes.

 

I am a person who started out poor and now I am at the other end of the curve.  I still dress and act exactly the same way I did when I was dirt poor and $100K in debt.  The only way you could tell I am above working class is by what I spend on my kids, and all of that is for their development, not material stuff they can show off.

 

I was never ashamed of being poor.  I believed in the whole "bring oneself up by one's bootstraps" and I always had positive, realistic goals.  I felt that anyone who looked down on my Salvation Army finds was shallow.  Most likely there was some element of defensiveness behind that, but part of it was also a basic self-esteem.  My mom, whose childhood was way more poor and troubled than mine, brought me up to believe in myself.  And the more I worked and achieved, the better I felt about myself.  I should also note that both of my parents always worked and also took courses (part-time) toward college degrees, technical licenses, etc.  Our house got cleaned at least weekly, we had clean clothes to wear and three meals a day.  Because this was what I grew up in, this was my standard of "OK."

 

My bad attitudes about some people (from childhood) sprung from the images I saw of people who made choices to not work.  I knew poor people who were hardworking and some who were infirm or old, and I had no bad opinion of them.  But when the media showed snapshots of families on long-term welfare who obviously ate more and dressed better than my family, and who often made "bad choices" such as drugs/alcohol and crime and raising their kids in a filthy rat-hole, yes, I got an attitude.  Why did people get more reward for not working and for making bad choices and have more (materially) than my family where everyone worked and/or studied?  As a kid I did not realize that a snapshot shown in the media is, one, probably an outlier (that's why it's news) and two, not reflective of that person's entire life.  In those days my city was very segregated and I had no way of experiencing different people's lives from a more comprehensive perspective.

 

Similarly with the snapshots I saw of some rich people.  The way the TV shows portray the "importance" of wearing the latest styles and that it's OK to make others feel "less than."  I always found that offensive and probably made assumptions that all the kids who had those kinds of clothes / lifestyles were looking down on me, when they probably were not.

 

So because things you learn in childhood stick, bad assumptions are made.  Over time, we have life experiences that show us other sides to the story, and if we are intelligent and flexible in our thinking, we rise above the tendency to judge on surface stuff.  Some people never quite get there.  They do say that many people, for whatever reason, never grow up.

 

And then the media comes in again - this time to ratify the immature attitudes for those still in that place emotionally.  It sounds very intellectual, rich people (ironically) making films about how McDs made everyone fat and poor, etc.  But it's really the same thing.  Rich people, poor people, all generally work hard, all have worries and struggles and heartbreak and we're all gonna die someday.  And the folks in between are not gonna die any happier for having hated on either or both ends of the spectrum.

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It may have started to some extent before corporations, but marketing has made it a way of life.

 

It was always a way of life.

 

Your blaming "corporations" seems to me an example of the judging that's being discussed.  Basically I'm hearing you say that the people making decisions in corporations want some people to be unhappy.  That is pretty judgmental IMO.

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It will be interesting to see how this plays out with my kids, who do not see the media I saw as a kid.  They don't see the nightly news or the richy kid sit-coms.  They live in a more mixed neighborhood and household and they get around a lot more than I did as a kid.  So we shall see.

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Ever since the industrial revolution , poverty is seen as a shameful consequence of sloth, or implicitly the judgement of God. And the reverse - wealth is a reward for hard work and being good.

 

People still love to think this, particularly if they are not in the 1at category. It is not 'corporations' but it is very much a capitalistic viewpoint. Earn comfort through work. Shame the poor. As opposed to, say, value the elderly , or judge people by their virtues.

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I recall a scene in Pride and Prejudice where the landlady was lecturing the peasants on how to make better decisions.  Charles Dickens deals with class relations a lot too.  "Shaming the poor" is not a recent or technological invention.

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Actually I think it might have more to do with the rise of the middle class.  People to hate above you and below you, oh goody.  You can take your pick, or be greedy and vilify both.

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Ever since the industrial revolution , poverty is seen as a shameful consequence of sloth, or implicitly the judgement of God. And the reverse - wealth is a reward for hard work and being good.

 

s.

I have this. In my emotional and personal reflection "work" associated with getting out of the poverty cycle, I have realized the shame I carry about my financial history. It prevents me from seeking a pay for service practice at $125 an hour and keeps me accepting $20 an jour part time or considering $40 per visit CPS cases.

 

The same stuff behind how I have always had 2 - 3 job and major life roles simultaneously.

 

It is probably why I have not yet written and published my book, or contacted the high profile people who have encouraged me to so so.

 

I *know* I would rock as teacher on a mass scale for parenting, substance abuse, life or study skills. I just can't make the leap.

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Ever since the industrial revolution , poverty is seen as a shameful consequence of sloth, or implicitly the judgement of God. And the reverse - wealth is a reward for hard work and being good.

 

People still love to think this, particularly if they are not in the 1at category. It is not 'corporations' but it is very much a capitalistic viewpoint. Earn comfort through work. Shame the poor. As opposed to, say, value the elderly , or judge people by their virtues.

This attitude predates the industrial revolution.

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There is an old Chinese saying that translates to people judge others first by the perceived cost of the person's attire. So someone carrying a pricy bag would get better service than someone carrying a relatively cheaper bag.

My friends who are hyper rich just don't wish to stand out for safety reason and for all the assumptions other people make.

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My friends who are hyper rich just don't wish to stand out for safety reason and for all the assumptions other people make.

 

Plus, knowing that other people might get negative feelings about it, some may choose not say something (or wear something or drive something) that would make someone else feel badly.

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I can see why someone who makes $65,000 a month would be embarrassed to say it.  There is a lot of vitriol directed at "the rich" and I guess by most definitions that salary would qualify.

 

I think some of it is marketing/advertising as Mergath said, and the desire people have to buy "the best."   Some people are also very competitive. My kid gets comments from friends because he still has a flip phone. The phone does everything he needs and he doesn't really care, but other people seem to.  I am not sure if kids get that strictly from advertising or from their parents as well - probably both.

 

People also have no concept of the difference between earnings and disposable income.  My kids used to belong to the YMCA but I could not afford a membership for myself.  An acquaintance of mine would sometimes be there when I was picking up my kids and ask why I didn't use the facilities too.  I told her we could not afford it.  She was shocked though I am not sure why since she was not in a position to know our income.  Maybe it was because we own a home in a decent neighborhood in a high CoL area and don't appear to be "poor."  But that house payment takes a big chunk of our income, so there are other things we can't afford.  It was a choice we made (and some poor timing).   Similarly, we know young people who don't make a lot of money but travel a lot, taking way more trips than we can afford to.  But they live in inexpensive apartments, have no kids, etc. Their lives are not comparable to ours.  We are not jealous, but some mutual acquaintances seem to be ("Wow, Tom and Kelly are flying out west again!  Must be nice to have all that money for trips...").   Why? 

 

I'm not sure this exactly fits the conversation.  It's what came to mind.   Money is so weird.  Or, I should say, peoples' relationships with money are so weird.

 

This is a great post.  I deal with the bolded with my own parents quite a bit.  They seem to think I make "a lot" of money (not sure what that is, but it's certainly more than what I do!), and can't understand when I say I can't afford to do certain things.  They accuse me of "crying poor".  No, I never said that I'm poor.  I do say that there are things that I don't have the money for at the moment because the funds are allocated for other things, or, I really don't have the money.  They cannot seem to grasp that concept.  

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I know people on both extremes. I am close to some who make several thousand a year, and others who make that much in an hour. Both sides get barraged. One side gets told they are a drain on society, the other gets told they don't deserve what they have. I have seen a friend (who happened to be living in his car at the time) in tears because someone told him that he should just kill himself because he was costing taxpayers money and he wasn't worth that money. He wasn't able to get a job, so instead spent his time volunteering at the local hospital (and doing a fine job at it too). I've had a friend have their (fairly nice, expensive) car get keyed, windows broken, tires popped, with a note on the car saying something to the affect of "you're what's wrong with the world today" while he was volunteering his time helping others get a good, solid meal that day.

 

They are both told they are the cause for all the problems we have in the US today.

 

Ridiculous? I agree. I get angry when people treat others like this. It's disgraceful.

 

They are very different kinds of people, I'll give you that. I can see how some get along with one group and not the other. They tend to have different philosophies, different things motivate them, yada yada yada.

 

And this doesn't just apply to the extremes, that's just the specific examples I addressed. The group in the middle are criticized for much of the same things. Reactions just don't tend to be as severe.

 

In my opinion, their attitude is what matters. Their reaction to adversity. Being able to pick themselves up and keep growing as a person. The value they are able to bring to others. Not how much money they do or do not earn. The people I'm friends with, I'm friends with because they are good people. Because they add value to my life. Because they help me grow and improve myself and are supportive of me. Because I can add value to their lives, and help them grow and improve and become better people. I'm not friends with them to make myself feel better, or because they could fly me to the Bahamas if only I'd ask.

 

I can see people criticizing others for bad decisions (though that can still be incredibly rude at times, especially if the person doing the criticism isn't personally involved).

 

But telling poor people that simply because they don't have money, they are worthless? Or telling rich people that them earning lots of money = them taking advantage of others, and that they need to give it all away and live like paupers or they're a**holes?

 

That just seems shallow to me. And the media perpetuates this.

 

 

Judge people for who they are, not what they have. Treat people how you want to be treated. Etc.

 

You guys get what I'm trying to get at, I'm sure. Rant over. ;)

 

EDIT: I just realized I may have gone a little off topic. My bad. I'll leave this as it stands, though, I'll try to update when I get home.

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I have a hard time with this question after being a teacher of Crown Financial for the past 8 years.  We see over and over again people seeing that they need to make some huge changes to their finances to live within (or under) their means.  I think MANY people tend to buy things they don't need, spend more than they make, make poor financial decisions, and then whine about how expensive it is just to "live."  

 

So, I don't know if you would call it a judgement.....well, yes, you could.  A judgement is simply coming to a conclusion based on evidence.  

 

However, if there is no evidence, I don't make a judgement.  

 

But if you tell me you make $30K, can barely pay your bills, and then go out and get a brand new car with $450 payments, then yes, I do have an opinion about that AND you have already shared your financial plight.

 

If you simply tell me you bought a new car......I don't care in the least to judge your financial abilities.

 

I understand what you're saying, but it still comes back to the question of why do you care one way or another what people are doing with their money?

 

Maybe you don't, actually, except in the context of what it is that you're teaching.  If people are going to you specifically to teach them money management, and you're pointing to actual evidence that shows they can't afford a $450 car payment without having a hard time getting ends to meet otherwise, but they refuse to make changes, then that would aggravate me, too, I suppose.  But in the general scheme of things, if that's what they want to spend their money on, then that's their business.  

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Ever since the industrial revolution , poverty is seen as a shameful consequence of sloth, or implicitly the judgement of God. And the reverse - wealth is a reward for hard work and being good.

 

People still love to think this, particularly if they are not in the 1at category. It is not 'corporations' but it is very much a capitalistic viewpoint. Earn comfort through work. Shame the poor. As opposed to, say, value the elderly , or judge people by their virtues.

 

Interesting you say that it's a capitalistic viewpoint.   I would think that, but now I'm not so sure.

 

A few months ago I was part of a conversation with some Norwegian people that I know.  They were lamenting the fact that they pay so much in taxes and the government was just giving it away to immigrants who had never paid into the system but were being granted asylum at an unprecedented rate, and it was threatening their way of life.  They weren't suggesting a change to capitalism from socialism; in fact, much to the contrary, they were saying saying that socialism gave them the freedom to explore and take risks and do things they would not otherwise have been able to do, because they didn't have to worry about health care or having a place to live when they became elderly, and the general consensus was that society as a whole lived richer, fuller lives because of it.  The numbers would support that.  And yet, they were still lamenting the fact that they worked, others didn't, and now someone else was taking what they shouldn't be allowed to have. 

 

Seems to me they were talking in circles, applying the same biases that you referenced in regard to a capitalist point of view, to their own socialist society.  

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I know people on both extremes. I am close to some who make several thousand a year, and others who make that much in an hour. Both sides get barraged. One side gets told they are a drain on society, the other gets told they don't deserve what they have. I have seen a friend (who happened to be living in his car at the time) in tears because someone told him that he should just kill himself because he was costing taxpayers money and he wasn't worth that money. He wasn't able to get a job, so instead spent his time volunteering at the local hospital (and doing a fine job at it too). I've had a friend have their (fairly nice, expensive) car get keyed, windows broken, tires popped, with a note on the car saying something to the affect of "you're what's wrong with the world today" while he was volunteering his time helping others get a good, solid meal that day.

 

They are both told they are the cause for all the problems we have in the US today.

 

Ridiculous? I agree. I get angry when people treat others like this. It's disgraceful.

 

They are very different kinds of people, I'll give you that. I can see how some get along with one group and not the other. They tend to have different philosophies, different things motivate them, yada yada yada.

 

And this doesn't just apply to the extremes, that's just the specific examples I addressed. The group in the middle are criticized for much of the same things. Reactions just don't tend to be as severe.

 

In my opinion, their attitude is what matters. Their reaction to adversity. Being able to pick themselves up and keep growing as a person. The value they are able to bring to others. Not how much money they do or do not earn. The people I'm friends with, I'm friends with because they are good people. Because they add value to my life. Because they help me grow and improve myself and are supportive of me. Because I can add value to their lives, and help them grow and improve and become better people. I'm not friends with them to make myself feel better, or because they could fly me to the Bahamas if only I'd ask.

 

I can see people criticizing others for bad decisions (though that can still be incredibly rude at times, especially if the person doing the criticism isn't personally involved).

 

But telling poor people that simply because they don't have money, they are worthless? Or telling rich people that them earning lots of money = them taking advantage of others, and that they need to give it all away and live like paupers or they're a**holes?

 

That just seems shallow to me. And the media perpetuates this.

 

 

Judge people for who they are, not what they have. Treat people how you want to be treated. Etc.

 

You guys get what I'm trying to get at, I'm sure. Rant over. ;)

 

EDIT: I just realized I may have gone a little off topic. My bad. I'll leave this as it stands, though, I'll try to update when I get home.

 

oh my word!!  I can't imagine someone actually saying something like this to anyone.  How heartless. 

 

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Plus, knowing that other people might get negative feelings about it, why say something (or wear something or drive something) that would make someone else feel bad?

 

But, why not?  You can't be responsible for every single feeling of every other person.  And, chances are, no matter what you do is going to piss off someone.  Maybe a different someone, but still, someone.   

 

I'm a big fan of wearing/driving whatever floats your boat.  

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oh my word!!  I can't imagine someone actually saying something like this to anyone.  How heartless. 

 

 

But even if they don't say it, they think it.  A lot of people do.  On both sides of the equation.  

 

We (people, in general) really are way too consumed by money.  

 

People will try to say that it's not the money; it's the effort/time/characteristics of the human that matter, and that's what they're really judging, not the result.  I call BS.  Because I know people who work crazy hard and live upper-crust lives, and people who work crazy hard and are barely making it.  I know people who are basically lazy and do nothing but somehow always seem to come out ahead, and people who are basically lazy and do nothing, and have nothing.  

 

So, yeah, I think it's the money.  

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But, why not?  You can't be responsible for every single feeling of every other person.  And, chances are, no matter what you do is going to piss off someone.  Maybe a different someone, but still, someone.   

 

I'm a big fan of wearing/driving whatever floats your boat.  

 

Yes, I agree with that.  Our dentist drives a very nice vehicle.  He is also a great dentist and a friendly acquaintance.  I don't care that he drives a new luxury car while my husband and I are driving 17 year old cars.  His family and mine made different decisions. 

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What I hate is when someone looks down at my old car, which I would love to upgrade but can't justify the expense, and then complains because her husband temporarily only makes 100K/year instead of 300K, and says that their situation is desperate.  Well, they have a far nicer house than I do, and buy new, expensive cars every few years, and I don't have a problem with that UNTIL they start whining about being poor.

 

I think in general I hate whining, and in particular, I hate it when people whine for sympathy with a situation that is either A) not difficult or B) would not be difficult except for their own choices, which they fail to acknowledge or C) is far easier than my own but they want me to feel sorry for them

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But, why not?  You can't be responsible for every single feeling of every other person.  And, chances are, no matter what you do is going to piss off someone.  Maybe a different someone, but still, someone.   

 

I'm a big fan of wearing/driving whatever floats your boat.  

 

I think reasonable minds can differ on this point.  But I do know that a lot of "rich" people do choose to be low-key for the reason I stated.

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I'm going to give this some thought, but right off the top of my head, I do agree that many people judge the poor as "slothful" or lazy. However, I know some people, especially single parents, who are working their tails off, are wisely using money and have had a run of bad luck. In the future, when their kids are grown, I think they will do fine.

 

Also, people judge the rich just as negatively, but as greedy or taking advantage of others.

 

Personally, I don't care how much money people make. It really doesn't occur to me. We make a good amount of money, but pour it into our farm, So when we say "That's not in the budget" it's not that we don't have the money, it's that it is allocated for farm stuff usually.

 

The only judgement I make is about classiness or behavior. Whether you are rich or poor and you are telling me how much something cost (if it was expensive) that's not classy. If you're telling me that you got a 200 dollar purse at good will with the tags still attached for 10 bucks, I'll rejoice with you over your great deal.

 

Probably helps that we don;t have access to broadcast TV and we are not shoppers (except for cows!) I'm just not into buying "stuff." And I don't really understand people that are.

 

FRT, my dh and I both grew up in poor families, remember what being hungry was like, and at times wore tattered clothing to school. We've worked really hard and we're comfortable financially, but we are not above growing our own food, clipping coupons and shopping thrift stores.

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I have this. In my emotional and personal reflection "work" associated with getting out of the poverty cycle, I have realized the shame I carry about my financial history. It prevents me from seeking a pay for service practice at $125 an hour and keeps me accepting $20 an jour part time or considering $40 per visit CPS cases.

 

The same stuff behind how I have always had 2 - 3 job and major life roles simultaneously.

 

It is probably why I have not yet written and published my book, or contacted the high profile people who have encouraged me to so so.

 

I *know* I would rock as teacher on a mass scale for parenting, substance abuse, life or study skills. I just can't make the leap.

Make the leap Joanne! We believe in you and support you! We know you an do it.
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What I hate is when someone looks down at my old car, which I would love to upgrade but can't justify the expense, and then complains because her husband temporarily only makes 100K/year instead of 300K, and says that their situation is desperate.  Well, they have a far nicer house than I do, and buy new, expensive cars every few years, and I don't have a problem with that UNTIL they start whining about being poor.

 

I think in general I hate whining, and in particular, I hate it when people whine for sympathy with a situation that is either A) not difficult or B) would not be difficult except for their own choices, which they fail to acknowledge or C) is far easier than my own but they want me to feel sorry for them

 

I understand this, to a point.

 

But keep in mind that people become accustomed to living a certain way, and when something changes that affects that, they'll feel it.  Regardless of the level of income.  So where to you, $100K or $300K or whatever seems like a good deal of money, and they should have no reason to whine, what about that anesthesiologist I wrote about earlier?  For him, a $100k per year salary would represent roughly an 85% drop in income.  That's huge.  Even if he were living dramatically below his means, that would still be quite a lifestyle adjustment.  

 

Anyone, at nearly any income level, whose income decreases dramatically is going to feel the squeeze.  Changes in lifestyle are always uncomfortable.  Surely there is one thing that you do that is, to you, maybe a splurge or a treat, but that you have managed to work into your budget anyway.  For me, that's my nails.  I enjoy getting professional manis and pedis.  If my income changed where I couldn't afford to do it anymore, it wouldn't be the end of the world but I would feel the loss.  For many people who have only been able to work into their budget once or twice a year, or never, they would look at me and say "cry me a river."  

 

What I mean to say is that it's all relative. 

 

Anyway, just another perspective.  

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People who complain about their financial situation is a bit of a different issue.  I think it does kind of invite judgment.  Especially if it's an in-law.  :P  I think we are wired to try to think of a solution when someone tells us about a problem.  If someone seems to be willfully choosing not to do what will fix the problem, and still come back and whine, the eyerolls will follow.  Regardless of whether the whiner is rich, poor, or somewhere in between.

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I think reasonable minds can differ on this point.  But I do know that a lot of "rich" people do choose to be low-key for the reason I stated.

 

I'm not saying that they shouldn't make that choice, and I'm not saying it's a bad thing to do.  I just don't believe that not doing that is bad, either.  That seemed to be what you were saying with "why would you choose to wear/drive something that would make someone else uncomfortable."  It's actually a perfect example of a value judgment I was talking about in my initial post. 

 

Again, I find it really interesting. 

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People who complain about their financial situation is a bit of a different issue.  I think it does kind of invite judgment.  Especially if it's an in-law.  :p  I think we are wired to try to think of a solution when someone tells us about a problem.  If someone seems to be willfully choosing not to do what will fix the problem, and still come back and whine, the eyerolls will follow.  Regardless of whether the whiner is rich, poor, or somewhere in between.

 

Yeah, this is a good point. 

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I'm not saying that they shouldn't make that choice, and I'm not saying it's a bad thing to do.  I just don't believe that not doing that is bad, either.  That seemed to be what you were saying with "why would you choose to wear/drive something that would make someone else uncomfortable."  It's actually a perfect example of a value judgment I was talking about in my initial post. 

 

Again, I find it really interesting. 

 

I didn't mean it as a put-down, but as another reason rich people may choose to be low-key.

 

I understand both sides and I've been on both sides.

 

I remember traveling in India and an American friend of mine was eating a sandwich in the car.  Outside was a crowd of beggar children looking at that sandwich.  My Indian friend (who was well-off) chided the American friend for eating in front of hungry children who are not eating.  I think back on that often.  Nobody was trying to hurt anyone, but giving it a little thought beforehand would have been kinder.  So that's kind of where I am right now.

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Plus, knowing that other people might get negative feelings about it, why say something (or wear something or drive something) that would make someone else feel bad?

 

OK, so even if I can afford it and I absolutely love cars and jewelry, I shouldn't drive a Mercedes or wear a Rolex watch on the off-chance that it might somehow make someone else feel bad? :confused:

 

Seriously?

 

Honestly, if people are going to be hurt by my choice of clothing or jewelry or cars or whatever, they've got bigger problems than whether or not they can afford to buy their own. They've got some serious envy issues, and those would apply to anything I had that was better than a comparable item they had, whether it was a car or a nicer shade of lip gloss. Otherwise, why would they care about my stuff? It's just stuff. It shouldn't matter to them in the least, and if it does, it's not my problem. I'm not trying to compete with them, and if they're trying to compete with me, that's in their own mind, not from anything I have done.

 

I think reasonable minds can differ on this point. But I do know that a lot of "rich" people do choose to be low-key for the reason I stated.

I don't buy that for a minute.

 

I think many wealthy people choose to be low-key because they don't care about impressing anyone else, and also because they don't have any great interest in cars or whatever. I don't believe for a minute that anyone walks out of a store without buying a designer handbag because she's worried that she might hurt someone else's feelings because she has a nicer handbag than they do. The simple fact is that if she doesn't buy the handbag, it's because she doesn't want it. If it was important to her and she really liked it, she would have bought it.

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OK, so even if I can afford it and I absolutely love cars and jewelry, I shouldn't drive a Mercedes or wear a Rolex watch on the off-chance that it might somehow make someone else feel bad? :confused:

 

Seriously?

 

Honestly, if people are going to be hurt by my choice of clothing or jewelry or cars or whatever, they've got bigger problems than whether or not they can afford to buy their own. They've got some serious envy issues, and those would apply to anything I had that was better than a comparable item they had, whether it was a car or a nicer shade of lip gloss. Otherwise, why would they care about my stuff? It's just stuff. It shouldn't matter to them in the least, and if it does, it's not my problem. I'm not trying to compete with them, and if they're trying to compete with me, that's in their own mind, not from anything I have done.

 

 

I don't buy that for a minute.

 

I think many wealthy people choose to be low-key because they don't care about impressing anyone else, and also because they don't have any great interest in cars or whatever. I don't believe for a minute that anyone walks out of a store without buying a designer handbag because she's worried that she might hurt someone else's feelings because she has a nicer handbag than they do. The simple fact is that if she doesn't buy the handbag, it's because she doesn't want it. If it was important to her and she really liked it, she would have bought it.

 

Is it impossible that different people of wealth have different philosophies?

 

I really was not trying to put anyone down.  I was just saying that sometimes the decision to be outwardly simple is not because of fear but because of compassion.  I may not have chosen the best words for it.

 

 

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Is it impossible that different people of wealth have different philosophies?

 

I really was not trying to put anyone down. I was just saying that sometimes the decision to be outwardly simple is not because of fear but because of compassion. I may not have chosen the best words for it.

 

 

I don't understand how living simply is demonstrating compassion for others.

 

If you're living simply so you can donate more of your money to others, that's obviously a different and very admirable thing.

 

Otherwise, I think people live simply because it's what they like to do.

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I don't understand how living simply is demonstrating compassion for others.

 

If you're living simply so you can donate more of your money to others, that's obviously a different and very admirable thing.

 

Otherwise, I think people live simply because it's what they like to do.

 

It might be more of an Eastern philosophy.

 

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The only judgement I make is about classiness or behavior. Whether you are rich or poor and you are telling me how much something cost (if it was expensive) that's not classy. If you're telling me that you got a 200 dollar purse at good will with the tags still attached for 10 bucks, I'll rejoice with you over your great deal.

 

 

So if your friend tells you what they spent (purchase at full price) you look down on them, but if they tell you what they spent (purchase at a discount) it's different? They are still telling you the cost. It shows that you value frugality, not that your friends in your example are exhibiting less classy behavior than the other.

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It was always a way of life.

 

Your blaming "corporations" seems to me an example of the judging that's being discussed. Basically I'm hearing you say that the people making decisions in corporations want some people to be unhappy. That is pretty judgmental IMO.

I actually blame the Puritans, lol.

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Speaking of class, I remember when I was a student and I was visiting with some ex-student friends.  We went shopping at one of those big discount stores (Sam's, BJs, whatever) and we were talking about bargains.  Someone brought up classiness.  One of my friends commented that buying at discount is smart, but buying at the Salvation Army etc. would be low-class (so he would never make that mistake).  My other friend, who knew my history, whispered that I'd better not mention that most of my clothes came from the Salvation Army for many years.  ;)

 

These were actually nice people, but people who grew up in an entirely different vacuum than mine.  :)

 

I don't have time for thrift shopping any more, but I still have a few favorite shirts I bought at a thrift store about 25 years ago.  I love it when people ask where I got them.  :)

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I can totally see why that man would be embarrassed. He anticipates judgement or a reaction coming and by avoiding eye contact he's probably trying to deflect or something. Not everyone is professional and who knows what kinds of reactions he has received in the past.

 

Up until a few months ago I did not have a smart phone. Now I do. But I feel self-conscious when I take it out in public. For example, ds wanted to take a picture in front of some silly cardboard cut out in the store and I did kind of wonder if anyone thought anything of my phone. We live in a very poverty-stricken area. Ironically, I felt self-conscious about my old phone, too. No data plan. No touch screen.

 

Growing up my parents only had cars they could pay for in full. My husband and I moved to a rural area and needed a good, reliable car. I was shocked he even looked at/tested a new car when we went car shopping. I was glad he kept looking. We got a car that was used (thank goodness) but less than 5 years old. I feel like I have a flashy car because compared to everything else I've driven it is. This is the first car I've ever had with a button on the keychain to lock it. Sometimes I think those things are obnoxious and I get self-conscious locking the car in front of people.

 

Someone that works with my husband (has been there longer, different department, older) suggested we join the country club because of the access to the pool and things for kids. I listened and kept my reaction of the price to myself. She told me it was "only $600" (or $800?) for the summer. Internally my jaw dropped. I told dh about it and he said what kind of money do they think we make?

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I think where the problem comes in is when the other person's choices start affecting me (or us) personally.  For example, if someone is on welfare and makes some poor choices and then continues that way, it ends up costing me (us) as taxpayers more money in taxes to support them in their not so wise decisions.  That is different than a family getting assistance for a time and working to make good choices to get off welfare or the elderly/disabled needing help.

 

When we see the welfare mom (or dad) driving the fancy car, getting the fancy haircuts/manicures/clothing, etc. while utilizing the welfare system we do tend to judge.  Now if you can afford that stuff, I have no problem with it at all.  Like a friend said "the rich/big spenders are the ones creating the jobs for the rest of us".  She designs homes that start at #1-2 million and up just for the house---not lot, furnishings, etc. yet she lives with a roommate in a very modest condo.

 

Personally, I chose to spend my money on horses.  Others choose to spend it on clothes, etc.

 

Basically, if you can afford it and it is not illegal or unethical then it is none of my business...............just remember me when you want to upgrade and need a place for your hand me downs :-)

 

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I think where the problem comes in is when the other person's choices start affecting me (or us) personally.  For example, if someone is on welfare and makes some poor choices and then continues that way, it ends up costing me (us) as taxpayers more money in taxes to support them in their not so wise decisions.  That is different than a family getting assistance for a time and working to make good choices to get off welfare or the elderly/disabled needing help.

 

When we see the welfare mom (or dad) driving the fancy car, getting the fancy haircuts/manicures/clothing, etc. while utilizing the welfare system we do tend to judge.  Now if you can afford that stuff, I have no problem with it at all.  Like a friend said "the rich/big spenders are the ones creating the jobs for the rest of us".  She designs homes that start at #1-2 million and up just for the house---not lot, furnishings, etc. yet she lives with a roommate in a very modest condo.

 

Personally, I chose to spend my money on horses.  Others choose to spend it on clothes, etc.

 

Basically, if you can afford it and it is not illegal or unethical then it is none of my business...............just remember me when you want to upgrade and need a place for your hand me downs :-)

 

Uggh not this again. I get what you are saying but sometimes the nice car or the haircut or whatever is not paid with their own money. They could have had that car before they fell on hard times. They could have a gift card for the hair cut.

 

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Just throwing a thought out there.  Some people who are not on welfare are spending themselves into bankruptcy/poverty and may well end up on some sort of relief paid for by the rest of us.  So does that give us a right to judge them too?

 

Then there are people who could afford to give more to family members or employees or charity, thus keeping people off the welfare rolls, but instead they choose to buy a bigger house or car or get a facial and manicure.  So do they deserve judgment too?

 

Maybe everyone who isn't frugal should be judged.  Or not?

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