Author Topic: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant  (Read 48149 times)

Making Cookies

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #200 on: June 24, 2016, 09:50:23 AM »
There was a young couple who used to live in our small town and they worked the butts off at running a couple of different small businesses and they were active in the community, and from those who know them from community organizations I heard they were very down-to-earth.  At the end of the day, however, they couldn't live in the fishbowl because they'd inherited some money and some people treated them badly... as if they didn't have to work very hard.  Nothing about them ever appeared "entitled" to me.  I was sad to see them (and their energy) leave town.

That fishbowl would be a very uncomfortable place to be in a smaller community. Back when the lottery was huge and the coworkers were all discussing what they'd do if they won - all I could think about was "not tell anyone but DW that we had won". Except we never buy tickets.

In my mind telling anyone - even family - would end our happy existence. Our lives would become irreparably defined by our perceived bank account.

I remember a couple of do-nothing relatives who spent my entire childhood worrying about their parents' money and what would happen to it when their parent's died. It consumed their relationships with their parents and defined it. I thought it was fairly unique until I began lurking here at the MMM forums. Nope - pretty common after all.

Had they spent a fraction of the time and effort on a career they could have lived well-to-do lives.

I figured if DW and I ever won the lottery it would be better to slowly and quietly retreat to some hobby business (for example) that makes us happy and looks like we earn enough to live a comfortable life.

"Yeah, we grow kudzu for a living...." ;)

Slee_stack

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #201 on: June 24, 2016, 10:29:00 AM »
It is worse to be offended by ignorance or bust a gut laughing at it?

In the OP's place I'd have had a good time playing up the role and 'rubbing it in'.

Oh heck yeah its sweet!  I kind of just show up to work because I do get a little bored sometimes.  Sometimes I forget that everyone else doesn't have a choice!

Maybe pout a little or shake your head to feign concern.

Are they going to learn anything anyway at this point?  No, they're idiots!  May as well have some fun with them!  Bring that jealousy pot to a boil!

Perhaps that's a pretty mean thing to do, but generally I only work with my coworkers, I don't socialize with them.  (I'd actually probably bust chops even more if they were semi friends.)

If the only alternative is taking offense, will...EEEEEFFFFFFF that!

Of course if there are any mentally unstable folk whose skin is a looking a little too greenish, you might want to opt out of the ribbing.

accountingteacher

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #202 on: June 29, 2016, 08:19:58 PM »
Yes, this does sound completely braggy, which is kind of where I'm heading with this comment. This is a FWP. Sure we worked hard and denied ourselves to reach our goals, but we were born in a place and time that gave us the freedom to do so. Who cares what anyone else thinks?  Let 'em think they're right, while you go right along with your bad (ass) Mustachian self and life. Just remember to keep your success to yourself if you don't want to be criticized, misunderstood or hit up for money. Except here, of course.

I love this. I think people should be proud of things they accomplished by working hard and budgeting wisely. Even if not in the outside world, at least here we can share our accomplishments with our fellow Mustachians and know that they'll understand.

I think that's why I resent my BIL and SIL so much - not because they have accomplished more than we have but that they pretend to have by putting 5% down on a $600K house, leasing an Audi so they can 'write it off on taxes' etc.  We objectively know our family income is nearly twice theirs, but they think we're poor / cheap for spending less on a house, owning later model cars and (gasp) using the library instead of Indigo. 

Cassie

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #203 on: June 30, 2016, 03:57:34 PM »
I don't get why you resent them for making foolish choices?  Maybe feel bad that they are not good with their $.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #204 on: June 30, 2016, 09:35:30 PM »
I think that's why I resent xx so much - not because they have accomplished more than we have but that they pretend to have by putting 5% down on a $600K house, leasing an Audi so they can 'write it off on taxes' etc.  We objectively know our family income is nearly twice theirs, but they think we're poor / cheap for spending less on a house, owning later model cars and (gasp) using the library instead of Indigo.

I think this is a common conundrum for us forum members.  We Mustachian types have lots of savings and investments, but our peers or family have lots of stuff (and probably more stuff than they can reasonably ongoingly afford).  But ultimately, the tortoise beats the hare - you just have to love being the tortoise.  Of course, hares can win too if they are self-aware, so don't be a tortoise if you are actually a hare.  Ugh, what a complicated moral story :)

Giro

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #205 on: July 01, 2016, 07:49:49 AM »
I think that's why I resent xx so much - not because they have accomplished more than we have but that they pretend to have by putting 5% down on a $600K house, leasing an Audi so they can 'write it off on taxes' etc.  We objectively know our family income is nearly twice theirs, but they think we're poor / cheap for spending less on a house, owning later model cars and (gasp) using the library instead of Indigo.

I think this is a common conundrum for us forum members.  We Mustachian types have lots of savings and investments, but our peers or family have lots of stuff (and probably more stuff than they can reasonably ongoingly afford).  But ultimately, the tortoise beats the hare - you just have to love being the tortoise.  Of course, hares can win too if they are self-aware, so don't be a tortoise if you are actually a hare.  Ugh, what a complicated moral story :)

And we must be careful to not assume that our way is best for everyone.  That is what I struggle with sometimes.  It's okay for my entire neighborhood to buy new cars, it's not my business.  If they choose to work into their 60's, that is their choice and not mine. What I have to be careful with are assumptions.  I am assuming that they are leasing these new cars every year or two and that they are in debt up to their eyeballs.  How is that different than them assuming I am poor because I shop thrift stores and eat at home each night?





Sofa King

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #206 on: July 01, 2016, 08:06:31 AM »
I get really tired of the "oooo, Miss Moneybags now are we?" kind of comments.

My mother, who is in hospice now, started in on this during my last visit with her. She seems to think it is now my duty to support my younger brother because I'm so "rich." My brother is college educated, healthy, able-bodied, but will only apply for jobs he doesn't have much chance of getting. He has been unemployed/underemployed for at least 10 years now and was mooching off my mother until she went into hospice. I told him he could stay with me until I sell my current home (a year or two) while he gets his life together. Now he is entrenched and panicking because I'm ready to sell and he might have to get a job and support himself. And my dying mother is scolding me for "abandoning" him.

I really don't need this sh*t


Fuck this shit. He needs to live his own life. I would never of let him move in in the first place.

accountingteacher

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #207 on: July 02, 2016, 07:00:35 AM »
I don't get why you resent them for making foolish choices?  Maybe feel bad that they are not good with their $.

Because of how condescending they are with their "wealth".

accountingteacher

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #208 on: July 02, 2016, 07:11:01 AM »
I think that's why I resent xx so much - not because they have accomplished more than we have but that they pretend to have by putting 5% down on a $600K house, leasing an Audi so they can 'write it off on taxes' etc.  We objectively know our family income is nearly twice theirs, but they think we're poor / cheap for spending less on a house, owning later model cars and (gasp) using the library instead of Indigo.

I think this is a common conundrum for us forum members.  We Mustachian types have lots of savings and investments, but our peers or family have lots of stuff (and probably more stuff than they can reasonably ongoingly afford).  But ultimately, the tortoise beats the hare - you just have to love being the tortoise.  Of course, hares can win too if they are self-aware, so don't be a tortoise if you are actually a hare.  Ugh, what a complicated moral story :)

And we must be careful to not assume that our way is best for everyone.  That is what I struggle with sometimes.  It's okay for my entire neighborhood to buy new cars, it's not my business.  If they choose to work into their 60's, that is their choice and not mine. What I have to be careful with are assumptions.  I am assuming that they are leasing these new cars every year or two and that they are in debt up to their eyeballs.  How is that different than them assuming I am poor because I shop thrift stores and eat at home each night?

Definitely true, but in this case I'm not assuming.  I know about the 5% down because they asked us to borrow the other 15%.  They brag ($&@&$!) about the lease payments.  Regarding income, I'm off by 10% at most.  You are definitely right that there is no one right way, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of wrong ways.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #209 on: July 02, 2016, 05:18:55 PM »
But how do we ultimately know if their way is the wrong way?  Maybe it will all work out.  For instance, I have neighbors in their early 50's that act like 20-year olds.  Must be up to debt to their eyeballs, but they keep on spending.  They have probably spent the equivalent of what we have in savings in nicer cars, upgrades to the house, eating out, social life, travel, gifts to the kids...  They will probably take out loans when the kids go off to school and they will probably work into their 60's or longer just to pay off their debts and retire on social security.  Every once in a while they let on that they 'blew' $xx that they were trying to save or didn't realize how much insurance on the new M3 was going to cost.  But they don't know any differently, despite our shining fiscal example with sensible cars, cost-effective home maintenance, conversations about 401ks, 529s, etc.  On the flip side, I don't get to walk around with a bubble of my net worth over my head or any other special signifiers of status, which is fine with me.  So maybe we are currently at an equivalent level of life satisfaction for all I know, I just happen to prefer the security and excitement of being financially independent.

Of course, if both of us lose our jobs, I would much prefer to be me, but I don't resent them and wish them all the best.  They are fun to hang out with.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #210 on: July 03, 2016, 08:35:22 AM »
But how do we ultimately know if their way is the wrong way?  Maybe it will all work out.  For instance, I have neighbors in their early 50's that act like 20-year olds.  Must be up to debt to their eyeballs, but they keep on spending.  They have probably spent the equivalent of what we have in savings in nicer cars, upgrades to the house, eating out, social life, travel, gifts to the kids...  They will probably take out loans when the kids go off to school and they will probably work into their 60's or longer just to pay off their debts and retire on social security.  Every once in a while they let on that they 'blew' $xx that they were trying to save or didn't realize how much insurance on the new M3 was going to cost.  But they don't know any differently, despite our shining fiscal example with sensible cars, cost-effective home maintenance, conversations about 401ks, 529s, etc.  On the flip side, I don't get to walk around with a bubble of my net worth over my head or any other special signifiers of status, which is fine with me.  So maybe we are currently at an equivalent level of life satisfaction for all I know, I just happen to prefer the security and excitement of being financially independent.

Of course, if both of us lose our jobs, I would much prefer to be me, but I don't resent them and wish them all the best.  They are fun to hang out with.

It's probably a good thing that net worth isn't easily accessible public information for most people. I'd hate to make my family into a target for kidnappers or worse. Folks who don't have enough to meet their definition of what they need will either adjust their assessment of "need", or find a way to get more, or (more frequently) beg, borrow, and steal from people they perceive as having more. We all have problems with people who beg and borrow more than we'd like, but I'd venture to say Mustachians have less of a problem with "steal" than people who go in for conspicuous consumption.

Giro

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #211 on: July 03, 2016, 09:48:47 AM »
But how do we ultimately know if their way is the wrong way?  Maybe it will all work out.  For instance, I have neighbors in their early 50's that act like 20-year olds.  Must be up to debt to their eyeballs, but they keep on spending.  They have probably spent the equivalent of what we have in savings in nicer cars, upgrades to the house, eating out, social life, travel, gifts to the kids...  They will probably take out loans when the kids go off to school and they will probably work into their 60's or longer just to pay off their debts and retire on social security.  Every once in a while they let on that they 'blew' $xx that they were trying to save or didn't realize how much insurance on the new M3 was going to cost.  But they don't know any differently, despite our shining fiscal example with sensible cars, cost-effective home maintenance, conversations about 401ks, 529s, etc.  On the flip side, I don't get to walk around with a bubble of my net worth over my head or any other special signifiers of status, which is fine with me.  So maybe we are currently at an equivalent level of life satisfaction for all I know, I just happen to prefer the security and excitement of being financially independent.

Of course, if both of us lose our jobs, I would much prefer to be me, but I don't resent them and wish them all the best.  They are fun to hang out with.

Yep.  And they could die tomorrow and the debts would never matter.  I worry about that occasionally.  It doesn't change my behavior but it does make me pause occasionally.   

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #212 on: July 03, 2016, 11:58:24 PM »
I think the freedom of people to make their own choices is at the heart of the rant.

You can choose to be spendy or be thrifty, but you shouldn't be spendy and then act like a bitch when someone thrifty can do/have something you can't.

eyesonthehorizon

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #213 on: July 04, 2016, 08:16:28 AM »
I think the freedom of people to make their own choices is at the heart of the rant.

You can choose to be spendy or be thrifty, but you shouldn't be spendy and then act like a bitch when someone thrifty can do/have something you can't.
This right here. You have freedom of choice, not freedom from consequence.

merula

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #214 on: July 06, 2016, 08:54:04 AM »
This thread is great.

On the "Must be nice to have [external factor/rich spouse/etc.]", remember that's never about you, it's always about them. Always.

The fact that you are doing something (like retiring early or working part time or being a stay-at-home spouse) means that thing is possible. And if it's possible, it's possible for the other person to do too. Particularly if that person is a coworker who has reason to assume that you have similar incomes. So, if they want to be able to do that thing (ER/part-time/SAH) but aren't doing it, they have two options: (1) They can accept that their choices and priorities made the thing difficult or impossible for them and that you made better choices, or (2) They can blame it on an external factor rendering themselves blameless.

And what do you think most people have an easier time with: blaming others or accepting personal responsibility?

I have a friend and coworker that I really like as a person. I have every reason to believe our incomes are very close. We're both married to college-educated spouses with the same number and about the same ages of children. She talks about how she wishes she could stay home like my husband does. "You're lucky."

And I think "You and your husband drive an SUV and a loaded pickup truck, respectively. I take the bus to work and my husband walks most places, allowing us to have one small car that we don't drive much. My house is half the size of yours, but in a more walkable area and closer to work. I don't spend $200/month on cable TV. I don't eat out every lunch and then pay for a gym membership to keep fit. And, also, both of us have higher earning potential than our husbands, so it'd be easier to make it work if your husband was willing to stay home, but he isn't because gender roles."

But it's not about me or my choices. It's about her being unhappy with hers and finding an external place to lay blame.

mm1970

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #215 on: July 06, 2016, 10:38:07 AM »
This thread is great.

On the "Must be nice to have [external factor/rich spouse/etc.]", remember that's never about you, it's always about them. Always.

The fact that you are doing something (like retiring early or working part time or being a stay-at-home spouse) means that thing is possible. And if it's possible, it's possible for the other person to do too. Particularly if that person is a coworker who has reason to assume that you have similar incomes. So, if they want to be able to do that thing (ER/part-time/SAH) but aren't doing it, they have two options: (1) They can accept that their choices and priorities made the thing difficult or impossible for them and that you made better choices, or (2) They can blame it on an external factor rendering themselves blameless.

And what do you think most people have an easier time with: blaming others or accepting personal responsibility?

I have a friend and coworker that I really like as a person. I have every reason to believe our incomes are very close. We're both married to college-educated spouses with the same number and about the same ages of children. She talks about how she wishes she could stay home like my husband does. "You're lucky."

And I think "You and your husband drive an SUV and a loaded pickup truck, respectively. I take the bus to work and my husband walks most places, allowing us to have one small car that we don't drive much. My house is half the size of yours, but in a more walkable area and closer to work. I don't spend $200/month on cable TV. I don't eat out every lunch and then pay for a gym membership to keep fit. And, also, both of us have higher earning potential than our husbands, so it'd be easier to make it work if your husband was willing to stay home, but he isn't because gender roles."

But it's not about me or my choices. It's about her being unhappy with hers and finding an external place to lay blame.
Yes.  Once a friend told us "must be nice to be able to pay for summer camp and not use it".

For the record: we both were working full time.  My son was in the $145/wk summer camp for almost the entire summer (minus summer vacation).
The week in question, they enrolled their son, who is my son's best bud.  However, my son had a dentist and doctor appt that week, so we picked him up for those at 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and then just didn't take him back.  So he missed about a day, total.

Our "nice" car is a Matrix. They drive a Cayenne.  We both work.  In her family, husband is a business owner, she's an artist.  So she works, and brings in money here and there (and is incredibly talented, but not cut out for the 9-to-5).  They have owned their house for more than a decade longer than us, it was less than 1/3 the price. 

The summer camp comment was 4 years ago.  Recently, at a birthday party, I mentioned dates.  We had hired a babysitter for the birthday party, and had gone on about 7 dates this year (6 more than normal, ha!)  Quote: "You guys work hard, you should SPEND THE MONEY.  SPEND IT on vacation, treat yourself to dates!  Take time off with the kids!"  I just nodded.  I didn't know how to make the point about being able to afford camp because of frugality.  Or even to make the point that I only get so many days off a year.  So if I choose to stay home instead of send my kid to camp, I may be out of luck when the kids start barfing come winter.

LeRainDrop

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #216 on: July 06, 2016, 02:33:43 PM »
On the "Must be nice to have [external factor/rich spouse/etc.]", remember that's never about you, it's always about them. Always. . . . But it's not about me or my choices. It's about her being unhappy with hers and finding an external place to lay blame.

I'm trying to be better about just letting this stuff roll off and not get to me.  I realize that I am assessing the person who says that with only a limited amount of context, as well.  Sure, I see their pretty hefty consumer expenditures, and perhaps I can approximate their family income, but I generally don't know what is going on or has gone on behind the scenes of their life.  Perhaps they are supporting infirm parents or paying for their nursing home costs?  Perhaps they went through a period requiring significant medical care of themselves or a family member that they paid for?  Perhaps they had gone through a divorce and lost substantial assets?  Perhaps some family member stole from them, perhaps taking out a credit card in their name and racking it up or continuing to manipulate them into giving them money, and this person has not yet learned the emotional strength to turn the person in or to hold a bottom line of saying "no"?  Perhaps none of these, but I'm still just trying to be better about considering that just as there is more going on behind the scenes in my family, that could also be the case for theirs.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2016, 02:35:21 PM by LeRainDrop »