Author Topic: Accepting generosity from those who really should be saving  (Read 3457 times)

redrocker

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Accepting generosity from those who really should be saving
« on: April 18, 2017, 07:31:16 PM »
Maybe once a week this last month, with multiple different people, when a couple of drinks are involved, or a casual lunch out, etc, and the other party says "Oh I got this/it's on me" and me knowing more about their financial situation than they mine, I can't help but say (and think to myself much more emphatically) "but you REALLY shouldn't."

One person in particular, who I know has a pretty large student debt and clearly suffering some lifestyle creep, was way too eager to pay for my wife and I at a recent social outing. Another friend in better financial shape but not FI likes to go out to lunch a lot and often when I come along he'll casually pay and when I try to split he'll say "oh get it next time." So either he's really forgetful or he's slick about not making it awkward that he pays for both of us often.

I'm recently FI and most likely done with any "real"/conventional employment but I'm also not in the shape where I can be any kind of spendthrift until compound interest works for me a decade or two. Our finances can manage a fairly minimalist lifestyle but we have a pretty strict budget on eating out or hitting the bar which I haven't broadcast to anyone outside of the immediate family but I'm wondering if my hesitance to go out has clued in friends that I don't *feel* like I can afford to and that's prompting some generosity that they should probably be bestowing on their retirement accounts instead.

Anyone else experience this? Any thoughts on whether to make it a gentle teaching moment or just graciously accept (as I've been doing even with the somewhat guilty conscience)?

Paul der Krake

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Re: Accepting generosity from those who really should be saving
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2017, 07:56:24 PM »
I'm not FI, but every time I go home both sets of grandparents ambush me with a check for a couple hundred Euros. They don't hurt for money but worked their entire lives and live off their pensions. I'd much rather they spent it on a vacation than on their high-income grandson who already saves many times that amount every month.

I don't know how to tell them that without sounding like a prick. So this money sits in my foreign bank account, and I spend it on some random Euro-denominated purchase every couple years when the exchange rate is particularly favorable.

concealed stache

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Re: Accepting generosity from those who really should be saving
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2017, 08:08:59 PM »
Just my take on it, but if someone tells me "just get it next time", I make sure that I do. Clearly I don't know the specifics of your situation so that might not be appropriate for you.

Maenad

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Re: Accepting generosity from those who really should be saving
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2017, 06:38:28 AM »
My parents are retired blue-collar workers, living off of modest pensions and SS. They still give money to me, despite the fact that DH and I make enough money to pay the AMT and are part of the two-comma club. I'll never break them of the habit, so I just maintain the ability to return the favor in the future if needed.

I'm guessing your friends have picked up on your fixed-income status, and are being kind and generous*. If you feel guilty, can you get together with them in some way that eliminates the possibility of them paying for you? Can you have them over to your place for lunch/dinner/drinks ("I wanted to try out this new recipe but it feeds more than just the SO and me")? Can you go for a walk in a park instead of sitting and eating?


*It's OK to be simultaneously thankful and want to shake them a little!


redrocker

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Re: Accepting generosity from those who really should be saving
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2017, 06:52:58 AM »
can you get together with them in some way that eliminates the possibility of them paying for you? Can you have them over to your place for lunch/dinner/drinks ("I wanted to try out this new recipe but it feeds more than just the SO and me")?

DW and I actually do this quite a lot. We keep a healthy liquor cabinet (thank you, Costco) and host fairly frequent cocktail parties and dinners. That was actually my wife's response to my ruminations last time, that our friends might just see buying our drinks out that as their contribution. I struggle with making everything about reciprocation though as I like to be generous too, just in different ways.

deborah

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Re: Accepting generosity from those who really should be saving
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2017, 01:20:27 AM »
There is a lot of pressure in society to make your contribution. Friends are supposed to share, so it is good to let them. However, ou might suggest less expensive options that allow everyone's contribution to be less.

Nudel

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Re: Accepting generosity from those who really should be saving
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2017, 08:06:41 PM »
It's taken several attempts but I've been able to convince people getting together on Friday we should either potluck, or I make up the meal. I've even packed up the assembled food and cooked it at a friend's house. We enjoyed a glass of home brew while waiting for the oven to finish the job I'd started. At first I think they felt odd but I said repeatedly that they shouldn't, that I had time to do so and they were at work all day. When I felt weird was when I was told to come empty handed because I'd cooked so much before, and they cooked up some frozen fancy pizzas. Still it was a great cost saving alternative to going to a restaurant.

They may even start to grow a little peach fuzz on their upper lip if the conversation goes well. ; )

Mezzie

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Re: Accepting generosity from those who really should be saving
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2017, 05:16:10 AM »
I don't let my parents pay for much. They're retired and deserve to be spoiled a bit. Otherwise, I think my friends and I take turns or split in such a way that things really are even. I try not to assume too much about others' finances.

Anyone in college, though, (family, friend, former student) always gets treated. College expenses are no joke. If they protest, I tell them they can treat me when they land their dream jobs.
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boarder42

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Re: Accepting generosity from those who really should be saving
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2017, 06:39:39 AM »
Just my take on it, but if someone tells me "just get it next time", I make sure that I do. Clearly I don't know the specifics of your situation so that might not be appropriate for you.

i'm not a fan of this and dont really hang around a culture that there is one check that comes. Splitting checks is very common.  the i got this one you get the next one give me no control over what you buy next time where if we split everytime i'm 100% in control of what i spend. 

I wonder if this is a cultural thing based on geographic region b/c in the midwest when out with a large group the waitress almost always will ask how to split the checks often before we order to make it easier at the end.

when out with family its a different story though.  and my parents who have saved way beyond what they need (who also are living in our house for the next 5 months) often pick up the tab a bit more than we do. 
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WoodStache

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Re: Accepting generosity from those who really should be saving
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2017, 06:55:24 AM »
I'm not FI, but every time I go home both sets of grandparents ambush me with a check for a couple hundred Euros. They don't hurt for money but worked their entire lives and live off their pensions. I'd much rather they spent it on a vacation than on their high-income grandson who already saves many times that amount every month.

I don't know how to tell them that without sounding like a prick. So this money sits in my foreign bank account, and I spend it on some random Euro-denominated purchase every couple years when the exchange rate is particularly favorable.

It could be that giving the money to you brings them more joy than a vacation.


anisotropy

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Re: Accepting generosity from those who really should be saving
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2017, 01:25:21 PM »

Perhaps off topic, but certainly related in my mind. This past year and half I have been a witness to a really questionable (brilliant?) act. A girl I met at my prestigious snobby uni is a victim of a rare disease and required several neuro-surgeries to improve her quality of life (there's no cure).

Despite her parents' high net worth/income (which includes some prime real-estates in high cost cities such as NYC, London, SF, and others. Easily 2 million each.), they opted to hire a marketing professional (a family friend) and started a crowdfunding campaign (on-going still) that has raised over $600K USD through various channels including local/regional churches, the internet, and local/industry newspapers and journals. It is quite clear from the crowdfunding website, thousands of less financially fortunate people had donated to their cause.

Granted, no two patients have the exact same condition, but another person with the same disease who had also undergone similar surgeries ended up with a bill around $170K USD. Yet another person with the same disease, albeit more severe and required for corrective surgeries had a bill around $250K USD. Then I learned that the girl and her families had been using the funds raised to pay for first/business class flights and lux hotels so the girl could receive her treatments. The family friend's cut so far is around $40K if I am not mistaken.

What makes the whole thing comical is that she is touting that her strength, courage, and positivity are the main factors for her miraculous recovery and she is transitioning into a motivational idol/icon of sorts to give people hope. These days she seems to live a very socially active life, but every 3 month or so there would be a new pledge because she needs further treatments. These are real treatments as far as I can tell, but she seems to recover and go back to her usual live around 3-5 days after each treatment.

This is by no means a scam, it however, shows how uninformed people can be, and how eager they are willing to part with their hard earned cash with a little push.

Hargrove

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Re: Accepting generosity from those who really should be saving
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2017, 06:21:52 AM »
This is by no means a scam, it however, shows how uninformed people can be, and how eager they are willing to part with their hard earned cash with a little push.

This is a gross, premeditated manipulation of the best impulses of strangers. They aren't "eager to part with their hard-earned cash," they're eager to reach out to those in need, which presumably they believe this girl is. It's a scam and it's deplorable. Any charitable organization doing this would have a scandal on its hands.

OP: you aren't exactly, ahem, crowdsourcing your dinner out. Nobody will do a survey to see who the most financially fit is who can pay for dinner. My SO and I had this problem, so to avoid the arms race, we minimized expensive outings so nobody felt guilty but still had fun with get-togethers, just like you're doing. After that, it's not really your place to tell them what they can afford, and they wouldn't take it well in that context anyway. They have a right to give if they want to, and if it's not a product of some deception on your part, it's actually unfair to tell them they can't contribute.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 06:28:08 AM by Hargrove »

redrocker

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Re: Accepting generosity from those who really should be saving
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2017, 07:35:12 AM »
This is a gross, premeditated manipulation of the best impulses of strangers.

Agreed. Same level of scum that panhandle in a wheelchair but you see them walking to the corner store after dark to spend their "wages" on a tallboy or two.

And this thread has simply encouraged me to host another cocktail party this weekend.

BTDretire

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Re: Accepting generosity from those who really should be saving
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2017, 09:23:55 PM »
My wife and I have a small retail business, we sell one product and and it is not what
one would assume would create a millonaire.
 I am offered or get tips, from people that I know have much less then we do.
I'm not comfortable knowing they are giving me money when they should be
saving it.
 The worst is when a waitress gives me a tip, and waitress's seem to be very willing to give tips.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2017, 06:48:56 PM by BTDretire »