Author Topic: Guilt about doing well financially  (Read 5379 times)

eddie

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Guilt about doing well financially
« on: December 02, 2017, 04:03:43 PM »
I recently had dinner & drinks with my best friends from college.  We're all in our 30s and don't get together that often because of various life circumstances, babies, one moved to another state, etc.  We were talking about life and generally everyone is having a bad time financially.  One divorce, one wife going to grad school and not working (they are super strapped financially), one generally not making a lot of $ and not being smart with the little he makes for 15+ years.  And I'm the a-hole sitting in the corner thinking that life is going great.  My wife and I have done a few dumb things with $ and 10 years ago I made the least in the group.  Now we make the most and probably have more assets than the rest of the group twice over.  We've had a rocky stretch in our marriage, but we went to counseling and worked through it.  I want to be supportive and listen and talk about the the topics we all enjoy, but when topics turn to $ I don't want to say we're less than $70k away from paying off everything including our house, or our net worth has gone up 6 figures in the last year and rub it in.  I don't really know what I'm expecting by posting this I just wish I could talk about it with my friends.

Slow road to freedom

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2017, 04:14:34 PM »
Hi eddie

Apparently we are the average of the five people we are closest to (I may have misheard of course). So if you enjoy growing a ‘stache and the freedom it ultimately brings, versus some whose values appear to include a spendy lifestyle, that could cause friction over time.

One thing I’ve picked up from this forum is that becoming FI is necessarily a little different from the norm. Embrace it. Don’t gloat. Don’t give advice (unless it is genuinely asked for). Don’t compare. Just work on the things that make you truly happy, and spend time with people that add to your happiness.

* grief! * that was a bit deep for a Saturday ...
I really want to do things other than work... :-)

marty998

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2017, 04:24:27 PM »
People change. Time changes people too.

You wouldn't notice it if you saw them every day or every week. But you do notice it after not seeing people for a long time.

Your circumstances are a largely a product of your choices. Theirs are a product of theirs.

Don't feel guilty about doing what is best for you.

(Edited to remove rogue apostrophe's)
« Last Edit: December 03, 2017, 03:49:02 AM by marty998 »

Llewellyn2006

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2017, 04:31:35 PM »
Slow Road has good advice. While I don't feel guilty about how well we have done/are doing I never provide specifics about our finances to other people because I think it can all too easily come across as gloating and can breed envy. Likewise I won't provide any advice in case it sounds like I'm being a smartarse. Or unless I'm specifically asked.

To the OP, embrace your success and smart decision-making just between you and your wife. As for those occasions like those you describe, just sit back, smile politely and don't give too much away. And well done being the only one in that position in your group of friends.

COEE

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2017, 05:00:33 PM »
First - unless they told you specifics about their situation, they may not be all that bad off.  I have been learning to understand the difference between complaining and friends that are really in a bad situation.  Usually it's just complaining.  No big deal.

Second, I was in a similar spot to your friends a few years ago.  I had three really good friends help me through it.  How?  They listened, and they showed me they cared.  I was such a huge ass-hole complainy pants!  I'm so thankful they stuck around - real brothers - and with their actions we formed bonds that will not be broken.  They encouraged me to make some moves that I wanted to make, but may not have made if I didn't have my friends' encouragement.  Today I'm in a much better situation in large part due to those discussions.  Stay in touch and let them know you genuinely care.

Third, Don't feel bad about your wealth.  They've made their decisions and you've made yours.  No need to gloat, just keep it to yourself and thank your lucky stars that you're in the situation you're in.  (I'm talking to myself here too).

SC93

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2017, 07:34:53 PM »
I used to feel bad and I tried to talk to people about it but they would always end up mad at me. So I just stopped talking about my money and when others are talking about money I make short sentences to keep in the conversation and never give advice anymore. I have a friends wife who retired from teaching so she does get a small check each month and he works a phone job making $15 an hour. He talks about starting his own business and I always tell him I'm there to help with any questions about getting customers. He is never interested. She tried to start a business walking dogs and couldn't get any customers so I told her I could help but no interest... so now I just keep my mouth shut. If they don't want to succeed, that's their own fault. On the norm, nowadays not many friends talk about their money situation.

Bateaux

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2017, 07:51:46 PM »
If you want to keep your friends might be best to practice stealth wealth.   I hang out with a variety of  people of various economic levels.  I've backpacked with people who are penniless and I know people personally of extreme wealth.  I repect them all the same.
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wenchsenior

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2017, 09:28:55 PM »
We are in dramatically better position financially than many of our family and friends, but we also know some extremely wealthy people (1% or higher) as well.  Everyone has life problems.  Some of them money can fix or help.  A lot, money cannot help.  To some degree, money management is just another skill set.  Certainly, life is more 'manageable' when you have money, but it isn't necessarily ALWAYS better in any subjective sense. We know quite a few less financially secure people who are happier day to day than we are, or they do other things apart from managing money better than we do.  Handling money well does not necessarily equate to handling other elements of life well. If things are going well for us in any area, I try to be thankful and compassionate for those that are struggling. In the areas where we struggle (not financial, usually), I try to learn from others.  Don't feel guilty, but try to feel thankful and humble enough to learn.  That's my motto.

Syonyk

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2017, 10:21:48 PM »
If you want to keep your friends might be best to practice stealth wealth.

Eh, "stealth wealth" is, at least as far as I've seen, a term for "Spending lots of money on crap that most people don't think is that expensive" - "This is a $3000 watch but you'd never know it unless you were into watches."  Stuff like that.

We're in decent financial shape, certainly not retired by any means, but there's a lot to talk about regardless of income/wealth level.  I still work on my own vehicles.  I still mow my own lawn.  Etc.  "Ways to efficiently spend money" is a good topic regardless of wealth/income.
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Johnez

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2017, 12:36:18 AM »
^It's more like "has $5 million in assets but lives in a modest home, drives a 10 year old Corolla, but gets the best quality things to suit his lifestyle" thing. At least what I've read about anyway...

OP, you're in a position where you've found and already travelled down the correct path in life while your peers are busy picking out which shoes to wear. I'd say if you feel bad and want to help out, throw a feeler out, an accomplishment or something, and to those who are curious give em some of the good stuff- 50% savings rate or higher, index funds, low cost commute, anti-consumerism, compound interest, etc. Give em MMM's blog (or whatever got you started). Ya might open some eyes.

jpdx

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2017, 01:40:30 AM »
I struggle with this feeling as well, a lot, especially since buying a house when many of my peers consider home ownership just a dream.

Here's what helps me: realizing that you cannot control what others think, but you can control your own thoughts. It's unlikely that your friends are actively making you feel guilty, but rather you are making yourself feel guilty. It's also possible that your friends actually see you as someone who has their shit together, which puts you in the position of being able to help and offer advice should they ever ask for it. That's a good spot to be in.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2017, 03:10:42 AM »
I remember feeling that exact way with my friends at your age and for me it was tough because I owned a few businesses that couldnt just hide BUT I never brought it up. I always included my friends and treated them the same but in the long run it didnt matter we all eventually separated because our lives took different paths. Yea we Facebook once in awhile but everyone has had kids, divorced , moved etc..  As long as you dont change your actions and just are true to yourself thats all that matters. Friends are going to come and go especially the older you get. Any you admitted you had some marriage issues you worked out so everyone has something. So as far as your money and how things are going for you be proud/happy about it and thats that!
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Catbert

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2017, 01:04:01 PM »
You've gotten good advice above.  The only thing I would add is to remember that you doing well didn't influence them doing poorly.  It's not as if they are a sibling who didn't go to college because your parent spent all the college money on your drug rehab.  You've got nothing to feel guilty about. 

Leisured

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2017, 11:19:20 PM »
Interesting post, eddy. COEE makes a good point that there can be a difference between the position people claim to be in, and the position they are really in. Some people must be heard bragging about being 'battlers', to use the Australian term.

I seem to remember a fable about the industrious squirrel spending late summer storing nuts for the winter, and the party squirrel giving no thought for the future. Party squirrel will pay the price by not surviving winter.

All creatures have strategies for survival, and they have to execute those strategies. No room for excuses. In modern rich societies, people need to get a skill, get a job, stay informed, accept scientific advice, ignore political and social fantasies, and save and invest. They will not die if they do not do these things, because rich societies have social safety nets.

Those living in rich societies who complain about what a hard life they have should visit any third world slum. Dickensian conditions are e alive and well over a large part of the world. The saving grace is that these slums are in warm countries and people do not die of cold over winter, as could happen in the bad old days in Europe and North America.

I agree with other posters, eddy; forget guilt.

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2017, 11:43:09 PM »
I recently had dinner & drinks with my best friends from college.  We're all in our 30s and don't get together that often because of various life circumstances, babies, one moved to another state, etc.  We were talking about life and generally everyone is having a bad time financially.  One divorce, one wife going to grad school and not working (they are super strapped financially), one generally not making a lot of $ and not being smart with the little he makes for 15+ years.  And I'm the a-hole sitting in the corner thinking that life is going great.  My wife and I have done a few dumb things with $ and 10 years ago I made the least in the group.  Now we make the most and probably have more assets than the rest of the group twice over.  We've had a rocky stretch in our marriage, but we went to counseling and worked through it.  I want to be supportive and listen and talk about the the topics we all enjoy, but when topics turn to $ I don't want to say we're less than $70k away from paying off everything including our house, or our net worth has gone up 6 figures in the last year and rub it in.  I don't really know what I'm expecting by posting this I just wish I could talk about it with my friends.

I had a similar conversation with a friend of mine a few days ago. He was talking about all the student loans he had still, and how he's living paycheck to paycheck, with only 2 months of rent saved. Making double what I do. Ironically enough, he purchased 5-6 drinks that night, at $9 each.

Kakashi

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2017, 11:53:07 PM »
Don't feel guilty.  Not only have you made good decisions, you stuck to your decisions.  That takes discipline.  I get it though...somehow, the subject of money gets people's emotions involved.  It's strongly tied to ego.  What I've found is that people who understand money and finances have no issues talking about money.  But it's those that don't understand it, who may struggle with it, who seem to have an emotional relationship with money.  For the latter, don't give unsolicited advice.  It may threaten their ego and raise negative emotions.  But be ready to help if they ever ask you for advice. 

StockBeard

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2017, 12:36:27 AM »
I think that as people who are FI, or on the path to it, there's often a mix of "wanting to help friends" and a bit of a "show off" attitude.

We genuinely care about our friends and would love for them to do financially well. But that means giving advice that is often not asked for, and can easily sour relationships. I'm getting regularly burnt by this, and every time I try to help a friend who did not ask for it, I'm worried it's damaging our friendship. (Yet I can't seem to restrain myself from doing it)

Ultimately, "mustachianism" is a way of life that might not be compatible with some of our friends' habits, and that alone could be enough for mustachians to look around for new friendships at some point.

Laura33

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2017, 07:47:08 AM »
Ditto on the "no guilt."  Guilt is a worthless emotion -- it can signal that something is wrong (i.e. your conscience speaking), but more often it's something we feel because we feel like we should feel bad but don't, or should do something but don't care enough to.  Either use it as an incentive to change something, or decide, no, you're doing what feels right already, and kick the guilt to the curb.

This case seems to fall pretty clearly in the latter category -- you have done nothing wrong and in fact have made a number of difficult but wise decisions, and they have paid off.  You have the right to feel proud of what you have accomplished to get to this point, so let yourself feel that.  Just temper it by acknowledging the impact of luck and privilege in your success, and be circumspect when you are with people who aren't doing as well (i.e., don't brag/flaunt).

With your friends, it's always safest to assume they are just venting and don't actually want advice unless they directly ask for it.  It's also safe to assume that they are far more interested in talking about their own problems than in listening to yours.  So when they talk about money, you can be that great friend everyone needs who listens and empathizes without butting in with your own problems; honestly, most people get wrapped up in their own heads and their own problems and will think to ask a cursory "how's it going" only after they realize they've been rambling on forever -- and that kind of inquiry is easily diverted with a general "yeah, you know, it's been tough at times, but we're ok -- so tell me more about [insert their problem here]." 

Then reserve your own kvetching/share of active conversation for the non-financial topics.
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ACyclist

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2017, 08:05:33 AM »
My least favorite are the people that try to inflict guilt due to our situation.

People in worse positions love to toss this comment around... "Well, it must be nice."  That comment is intended to inflict shame or guilt for what we have.  I try to comment back like "It's just due to certain choices."  Then they scowl and walk away.

RedmondStash

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2017, 09:46:32 AM »
I just pulled the FIRE trigger on Friday, and when coworkers asked where I was going next, I said, "Home" or "I'm retiring." I got a couple of those pleasant, rueful "I'm a little jealous" responses.

A couple of times, I offered info about the JL Collins stock series or about MMM, but very cautiously, always opening with, "If you're interested, I can tell you what I did to get here."

I've come to believe that it is personality that determines who can follow the FIRE path, more than intelligence, self-control, income level, etc. Stress makes some people spend money; it makes me want to save or even hoard it. Some people feel anxious or deprived when they can't buy lunch at work; I feel accomplished when I bring my own homemade lunch. Some people are too terrified of math or money to think about them; I find them fascinating. I feel lucky to have a FIRE-appropriate temperament; several of my friends work way harder than I do but can't cope with how those choices would make them feel. We all follow our emotions more than our heads, no matter how we rationalize or frame our choices. There are things that send me into a blind panic that I'd do just about anything to get out of; it's just that math & money aren't among them.

OP, I'm glad you found a place where you can talk about your unsettling experience with your friends. What helps me is remembering that we all make the choices we feel we have to, but for each of us, those choices are different. The path you've taken might not be worth it to or comfortable for your friends, just as theirs wouldn't have been comfortable for you. All you can really do is be there for them.

And -- I was way more like your friends 20 years ago; it took a while for me to get comfortable with the choices that led to FIRE. You never know where life will lead you.

undercover

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2017, 01:26:44 PM »
I like this from John Green:

"The difference between alive and not: that's something. But from where the stars are watching, there is almost no difference between variations of alive, between me and the newly mown grass I'm lying on right now. We are both astonishments, the closest thing in the known universe to a miracle."

Basically you are the exact same as your friends except you have a little bit more money. They still get all their essentials met the same as you and likely will until the day they die.
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clutchy

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2017, 01:27:54 PM »
I recently had dinner & drinks with my best friends from college.  We're all in our 30s and don't get together that often because of various life circumstances, babies, one moved to another state, etc.  We were talking about life and generally everyone is having a bad time financially.  One divorce, one wife going to grad school and not working (they are super strapped financially), one generally not making a lot of $ and not being smart with the little he makes for 15+ years.  And I'm the a-hole sitting in the corner thinking that life is going great.  My wife and I have done a few dumb things with $ and 10 years ago I made the least in the group.  Now we make the most and probably have more assets than the rest of the group twice over.  We've had a rocky stretch in our marriage, but we went to counseling and worked through it.  I want to be supportive and listen and talk about the the topics we all enjoy, but when topics turn to $ I don't want to say we're less than $70k away from paying off everything including our house, or our net worth has gone up 6 figures in the last year and rub it in.  I don't really know what I'm expecting by posting this I just wish I could talk about it with my friends.
 

I'm in my mid-30's too and It's an interesting conversation with people of differing means. 

Generally most of my friends do pretty well.  The top 10% and up are pretty well represented, but the outcomes from having that income are substantially different depending on the couple. 

One thing that I've found very helpful is to be supportive and offer constructive questions when people try to engage you in financial topics.  I give out books like the The Richest Man in Babylon and open up for conversation if needed.  I often will drop a hint or two to see how far they've come in their knowledge and when they hit a certain point of financial maturity I'll open up a bit more. 

Most people can't handle the full onslaught b/c they don't have the professional background to understand the full planning/transaction cycle.  I'm a CPA by trade and I've found that most finance people don't get the whole picture either which is fine but a little disheartening. 

what it comes down to is that everyone is human and all of our journeys are unique.  Be supportive and offer assistance if requested.  It's pretty much all you can do.  You'll know when people are ready and you'll also know when you've overstepped as well. 


I used to just share with everyone and offer help to all solicited or otherwise.  I quickly learned that many don't have the ability to ignore an instinct to sell or attribute gains to a particular person or fund as opposed to the market. 

enjoy the journey :)


sokoloff

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2017, 01:34:41 PM »
My least favorite are the people that try to inflict guilt due to our situation.

People in worse positions love to toss this comment around... "Well, it must be nice."  That comment is intended to inflict shame or guilt for what we have.  I try to comment back like "It's just due to certain choices."  Then they scowl and walk away.
If I'm feeling particularly salty when someone gives me an "it must be nice...", I simply dead-pan back, "Yeah, it is."

(That's the 5% case; the 95% case is some kind of subject change or mild acknowledgement.)

clutchy

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2017, 01:50:44 PM »


I had a similar conversation with a friend of mine a few days ago. He was talking about all the student loans he had still, and how he's living paycheck to paycheck, with only 2 months of rent saved. Making double what I do. Ironically enough, he purchased 5-6 drinks that night, at $9 each.

this is so common.  Most aren't willing to make the sacrifice that it takes to get to a better place.  They'll most likely get there but their life will have passed them by.

tyort1

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2017, 01:55:02 PM »
My least favorite are the people that try to inflict guilt due to our situation.

People in worse positions love to toss this comment around... "Well, it must be nice."  That comment is intended to inflict shame or guilt for what we have.  I try to comment back like "It's just due to certain choices."  Then they scowl and walk away.
If I'm feeling particularly salty when someone gives me an "it must be nice...", I simply dead-pan back, "Yeah, it is."

(That's the 5% case; the 95% case is some kind of subject change or mild acknowledgement.)

My response is similar.  "It is, actually - especially since I was so terrible with money for so much of my life."  Which is true.
Frugalite in training.

Slow&Steady

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #25 on: December 05, 2017, 08:22:00 AM »
I struggled with this same thing this weekend. 

Background story: About 3.5 years ago our daughter was born, my DH has some health issues and we chose for him to stop working full-time for a more flexible schedule and to pursue something that would not be so bad for his health.  Basically we chose to become a 1 income family that was just north of the US median income level.  About 3-6 months later my brothers both got laid off from 6 figure jobs (I believe mid 100's and mid 200's) and start complaining because there are no jobs out there making what they made and nobody can live off of $60k/year, my DH and I kept our mouth shut.  Both brothers are now running their own business and I don't know their income but it is obvious that it is not where it used to be. 

So this weekend we were at one of my brother's house and I was talking to his wife, while trying to figure out what to talk about I mentioned that I think our hot water heater is going out and that we will probably need to replace it this month.  She is completely floored and starts talking about how horrible the timing is with property taxes due in December, Christmas presents that need to be purchased, and the fact that I am pregnant (due in March).  I didn't know what to say because all of those items except the hot water heater are things that we planned for all year and there is money in the savings account to cover the hot water heater replacement (I just want to wait as long as possible to get the last drop out of this one).  I was feeling really guilty that they were struggling and would not be able to handle something like this if it came up.  I got over it when we walked out to the van (which we bought used) and had to walk past their 2 giant 4x4 4-door trucks.  I believe one is a 2017 and one is a 2018, yeah I am sure that the property taxes on those things (along with the registration, monthly payments, and gas bill) is huge and wouldn't leave hardly any money for anything else.

Syonyk

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #26 on: December 05, 2017, 08:48:10 AM »
Eh, letting water heaters fail fully is a bad idea.
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jpdx

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #27 on: December 05, 2017, 10:13:24 AM »
This is a great thread. One thing I find interesting is how taboo the subject of money is, considering our culture is obsessed with it.

sokoloff

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2017, 10:19:46 AM »
Eh, letting water heaters fail fully is a bad idea.
But it's one way to get the last drop out of them...

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2017, 10:25:08 AM »
That is why I come to places like this to talk about finances.

In real life, I only have a select few friends and family members I can be transparent with.
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Slow&Steady

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2017, 10:53:48 AM »
Eh, letting water heaters fail fully is a bad idea.

Really, what happens?  Not sarcastic, really want to to know, I guess I could google.  It is electric if that makes a difference.

sokoloff

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2017, 11:58:35 AM »
They rust through and typically fail by leaking (an unending stream of water, since there is a cold pipe continually filling the tank) all over the place.

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2017, 12:09:41 PM »
I recently had dinner & drinks with my best friends from college.  We're all in our 30s and don't get together that often because of various life circumstances, babies, one moved to another state, etc.  We were talking about life and generally everyone is having a bad time financially.  One divorce, one wife going to grad school and not working (they are super strapped financially), one generally not making a lot of $ and not being smart with the little he makes for 15+ years.  And I'm the a-hole sitting in the corner thinking that life is going great.  My wife and I have done a few dumb things with $ and 10 years ago I made the least in the group.  Now we make the most and probably have more assets than the rest of the group twice over.  We've had a rocky stretch in our marriage, but we went to counseling and worked through it.  I want to be supportive and listen and talk about the the topics we all enjoy, but when topics turn to $ I don't want to say we're less than $70k away from paying off everything including our house, or our net worth has gone up 6 figures in the last year and rub it in.  I don't really know what I'm expecting by posting this I just wish I could talk about it with my friends.

I had a similar conversation with a friend of mine a few days ago. He was talking about all the student loans he had still, and how he's living paycheck to paycheck, with only 2 months of rent saved. Making double what I do. Ironically enough, he purchased 5-6 drinks that night, at $9 each.

 Seems like a good candidate for a conversion! Teach that boy some religion!

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2017, 12:15:17 PM »
Eh, letting water heaters fail fully is a bad idea.
But it's one way to get the last drop out of them...

Lol.

Last drop out of them, all over your floor!

If you're going to run them to failure, at least have them in an area that can get wet, with a good moisture sensor.  To me, that's not worth the gamble of doing a lot of structure damage.  Yeah, you save a bit of time on the water heater purchase, but then have to pay for the structure repairs.

If it's in the basement, on a concrete floor, with a drain?  Sure, whatever.  Let it fail.  I mean, it'll fail Friday night on a holiday weekend, but as long as you know where the shutoff valve is, are home, and the valve isn't frozen from lack of use, whatever.  Your house.

That is why I come to places like this to talk about finances.

It's definitely nice, though I don't talk too much in the way of raw numbers on a place like this.

The thing is, there are a lot of industries that entirely rely on people being clueless about money.  Think about how many people you've heard say something like, "Yeah, I run a balance on my credit cards... I heard it's good for my credit score..." or something like that - they don't say it like they really believe it, but the whole Mighty Credit Score is one of the things people worry about without realizing why it matters (and that, above a certain point, it doesn't matter - your 800 or 790 or 830 is all the same, except as a bragging right).
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BTDretire

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #34 on: December 05, 2017, 12:35:21 PM »
I don't feel any guilt, I feel extremely lucky, but much of that luck was hard work by my wife and self. A lot was
the sensational stock market. And the biggest contributor, Spending less than we earned. We were never high income, about 1.5M total income over 36 years married years, but we have it all plus some.
 I don't have a lot of friends, but I do have some breakfast buddies that I can talk about money with. Several are millionaires or have at least $500k. All live frugally, live in modest homes, drive older cars, except for one*.

* this fellow is 92 years old, he does own a modest home, but came to breakfast one morning and said,
"my car had a flat tire, so I bought a new one" ya Ok, the tire was probably worn out. No he was joking with us. He actually bought a new 2017 car!  He can well afford it.

eddie

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #35 on: December 05, 2017, 01:30:50 PM »
Thank you.  My friends definitely don't make me feel guilty.  They don't have their hands out at all.  I do wish I could talk to them about $, but I don't see the conversation going well.  About 6 months ago I did tell one that we live on about 25% of our income (45% debt reduction/savings, 10% tithe, and 20% taxes) and he looked at me like I had a 3rd eye.  I just wish we were all heading in the same direction in life.  My wife and I are talking about scaling back to part-time work in 5-7 years (early 40s) or working FT til 45 or so and completely pulling the plug on work.  I just need to change my attitude and enjoy the time we do get to spend together hanging out on the rare occasion.  Keep the conversation on the things we have in common.


LiveLean

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2017, 01:44:46 PM »
If you want to keep your friends might be best to practice stealth wealth.

Eh, "stealth wealth" is, at least as far as I've seen, a term for "Spending lots of money on crap that most people don't think is that expensive" - "This is a $3000 watch but you'd never know it unless you were into watches."  Stuff like that.

We're in decent financial shape, certainly not retired by any means, but there's a lot to talk about regardless of income/wealth level.  I still work on my own vehicles.  I still mow my own lawn.  Etc.  "Ways to efficiently spend money" is a good topic regardless of wealth/income.

When I graduated from college my father gave me his late father's watch. I started wearing it as an everyday watch, treating it as a precious heirloom since, after all, I never knew my grandfather. I'm not a watch guy and the watch itself is modest in size with a basic leather wristband that I've replaced over the years.

On several occasions a guy -- always a guy -- has looked at my watch and said, "Holy shit. Nice watch." I've thus realized who among my friends are "watch guys." I also learned that this is a valuable watch -- not something I should be wearing every day.

Now I just wear it for special occasions. The great thing is, now that I can afford such a watch, I'd never buy something like it. Nor would I want to.


Living lean at www.tolivelean.com

OurTown

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #37 on: December 05, 2017, 02:03:34 PM »
I also don't feel guilty.  There are not many people IRL (other than my wife) who I talk to about my financial status.  We do, however, feel very fortunate especially when we see what other people are going through financially.

It is interesting how it is socially acceptable to moan and groan about your negative financial situation, but not acceptable to talk to people about how you have it all together.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #38 on: December 05, 2017, 02:13:33 PM »
Nobody in my family or circle of friends want to listen to me about money, which is absolutely ridiculous because I've become successful and I obviously know what I'm talking about. I think a lot of people are just too scared to talk about money. They take their lack of success personally and they are so afraid that they end up wearing blinders and sticking their fingers in their ears. That was certainly the case in my own life until I got my act together.

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2017, 03:04:24 PM »
Nobody in my family or circle of friends want to listen to me about money, which is absolutely ridiculous because I've become successful and I obviously know what I'm talking about.

Are you really, though?  Are you leasing a brand new SUV or sports car?  Do you have the hugest house in the neighborhood?  Did you take an all expenses paid luxury vacation to some exotic location, at least twice???

I thought not!  "Successful."  Hah.  Just a cheapskate!

</depressingly_common_views_on_success>

:p
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tyort1

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #40 on: December 05, 2017, 03:22:22 PM »
Nobody in my family or circle of friends want to listen to me about money, which is absolutely ridiculous because I've become successful and I obviously know what I'm talking about.

Are you really, though?  Are you leasing a brand new SUV or sports car?  Do you have the hugest house in the neighborhood?  Did you take an all expenses paid luxury vacation to some exotic location, at least twice???

I thought not!  "Successful."  Hah.  Just a cheapskate!

</depressingly_common_views_on_success>

:p

So true!  I felt that way too for a long time, but this quote from MMM really shifted my perspective:

"Turns out the best way to get rich is to spend less than you earn.  The ONLY way to get rich."
Frugalite in training.

BTDretire

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #41 on: December 05, 2017, 03:26:00 PM »
I struggled with this same thing this weekend. 

Background story: About 3.5 years ago our daughter was born, my DH has some health issues and we chose for him to stop working full-time for a more flexible schedule and to pursue something that would not be so bad for his health.  Basically we chose to become a 1 income family that was just north of the US median income level.  About 3-6 months later my brothers both got laid off from 6 figure jobs (I believe mid 100's and mid 200's) and start complaining because there are no jobs out there making what they made and nobody can live off of $60k/year, my DH and I kept our mouth shut.  Both brothers are now running their own business and I don't know their income but it is obvious that it is not where it used to be. 

So this weekend we were at one of my brother's house and I was talking to his wife, while trying to figure out what to talk about I mentioned that I think our hot water heater is going out and that we will probably need to replace it this month.  She is completely floored and starts talking about how horrible the timing is with property taxes due in December, Christmas presents that need to be purchased, and the fact that I am pregnant (due in March).  I didn't know what to say because all of those items except the hot water heater are things that we planned for all year and there is money in the savings account to cover the hot water heater replacement (I just want to wait as long as possible to get the last drop out of this one).  I was feeling really guilty that they were struggling and would not be able to handle something like this if it came up.  I got over it when we walked out to the van (which we bought used) and had to walk past their 2 giant 4x4 4-door trucks.  I believe one is a 2017 and one is a 2018, yeah I am sure that the property taxes on those things (along with the registration, monthly payments, and gas bill) is huge and wouldn't leave hardly any money for anything else.
Because the financial outcome of overspending is classic,  I'm calling your telling, definitive, authoritative, outstanding, first-rate, first-class, best, finest, excellent, superior, masterly.
Ya, I used a synonym source.

talltexan

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #42 on: December 06, 2017, 10:12:34 AM »
This community was great: I rejoiced in having the race to $1,000,000 thread, where I could share that success without seeming to boast.

When talking about your life with friends, perhaps it's better to discuss values: WHY are you being nourished by a less consumer-driven lifestyle? WHY are you enjoying more and more of your life without a car? WHAT changes do you hope to get from spending less on housing and eliminating debt from your life?

diapasoun

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #43 on: December 06, 2017, 12:45:16 PM »
When talking about your life with friends, perhaps it's better to discuss values: WHY are you being nourished by a less consumer-driven lifestyle? WHY are you enjoying more and more of your life without a car? WHAT changes do you hope to get from spending less on housing and eliminating debt from your life?

This! I have a few friends who I can talk about money with very freely, but for most folks, if they want to know why I walk to the grocery store... it's because it's good for me and the environment both, yeesh.

Gimesalot

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #44 on: December 07, 2017, 09:11:11 AM »
I have never felt guilty because I have always been the ass of all the cheap/stingy jokes or comments.  For years, friends, acquaintances, and even family, have made comments and jokes about how we are so cheap.  We regularly get looked down on for living in an ugly multi-family home, not having fancy furniture, refusing to pay $$ for hotels on vacation, even for buying 50 cent toothbrushes. 

Surprisingly, the closer to FI we get, the less comments we have gotten.  It's not that people know how much money we have, but we are moving to a country where it will be difficult to make ends meet by working, so people know we have some sort of nest egg.

After years of teasing and "joking", I refuse to feel guilty. 

dougules

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #45 on: December 08, 2017, 08:43:17 AM »
I only feel guilty if I think I'm doing well at other people's expense.  I feel it a little bit when a publicly traded company does anything shady because my mutual funds are profiting from that.

On the other hand I just feel sorry for my friends who are clueless with money.  Living frugally in the US takes a conscious effort to pull yourself out of a culture of extreme conspicuous consumption.  In that way I think the folks here are a good thing because we're causing ripples in that culture.  Having somebody else as an example helps people who are not as contrary independent as we are. 

clarkfan1979

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #46 on: December 08, 2017, 05:08:50 PM »
Most of my friends from grad school do well financially. They make an above average salary and probably save the average amount. Very few of my friends from grad school struggle.

However, one of my friends from grad school is horrible with money. He has an advanced degree and can't seem to make it work with his paycheck. He constantly complains on facebook about being totally broke. I've wanted to help him with some advice at times but have resisted the temptation. I can't help him unless he asks for help.

lifejoy

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #47 on: December 08, 2017, 05:27:12 PM »
That’s why I come here! So I can talk about money without making my friends feel bad :)

dcamnc

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #48 on: December 08, 2017, 07:41:37 PM »
I feel bad for some of my less well-off friends, who struggle with even simple monthly bills, for example. I don't feel guilty for what I have though.

MidWestLove

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Re: Guilt about doing well financially
« Reply #49 on: December 09, 2017, 07:41:57 AM »
one more voice for not waiting for your water heater to fail.. anyone who ever had to deal with 40+ water running (ruining?) your basement would tell you that is a very bad idea. the direct damage from water, plus repairs, plus damage to structure, will far exceed whatever savings you thing you are getting by not dealing with it...