Author Topic: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant  (Read 49303 times)

Kitsune

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External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« on: May 25, 2016, 08:27:39 AM »
My colleagues are... clown-car ridiculous. A few of them have wound up on the 'overheard at work' board a few times, for context.

My sister, who works in my office, showed someone a picture of my kid playing in sprinklers this past weekend (everyone was sharing weekend pictures and kid-pictures, it was totally appropriate) and my house was in the background of the picture. I'm now getting comments about 'wow, you must be rich' and 'wow, your husband must make a LOT'. And I've gotten snarky comments from 'friends' in a similar fashion, and I'm mad. And rather than pitch a fit at them, I'm gonna rant here, calm the hell down, and get one with my life. Warning: this is a venting rant.

a) Thank you, sexism: I have out-earned my husband for the ENTIRE length of our relationship, INCLUDING the year I was on maternity leave at 55% salary. Don't give me 'he must earn so much'. b) I make the same amount as the people making these comments, give or take 5% - I do the profitability metrics at work, so I actually know their salaries. c) Dear 'friends' who judge my house: yes, I know that we are all in our early 30s, and you can barely afford rent with roommates. But remember when we were 24, and you kept quitting jobs because you wanted to 'enjoy your summer', and you laughed at me for working 70+ hour weeks on big projects and getting promoted and stashing away money instead of spending it because I 'wasn't enjoying my life' (I was, just differently than you were)? This is why I have a well-established career and a down payment, and you are working seasonal jobs and have free time. No judgement if that's what you chose, and I sincerely hope you're happy, but stop wondering 'how it happened'. It's the logical freakin' results of the choices we all made and keep making.

To answer their comments, as well as other snarky comments I've gotten about my house:
1) Yes, the cedar deck that is in the process of being built is huge (10x36 - the entire length of the house). HOWEVER: our contractor quoted 12K for it. The wood is from my FIL's woodlot, and he and my husband got it cut, used the sawmill in the back field to cut it into boards, let it cure over winter, and we are now building the deck out of it. We have to buy screws, brackets, and a few larger posts. Total cost of the deck will be under 600$. It's not that extravagant, it's just work!

2) Yes, those garden boxes are nice. Yes, everything is growing and looks lush and amazing. Yes, colleague-who-spent-almost-1K-asking-someone-to-build-garden-boxes, paying someone to do that is very expensive. We built the garden boxes out of pine my husband sawed, filled them ourselves with topsoil (that we bought, because ours is too clay-filled to be much good for a vegetable garden - 200$), I started the seedlings from seed 2 months ago and spent an extra 10$ on a few plants that didn't come up, and assuming everything keeps growing well we basically won't be buying vegetables for about 5 months.

3) Yes, my front deck will look lovely with large flower boxes all built and put in. Yes, I know they are 100$ at the local garden center, and yes, colleagues who bought them at that price, they ARE nice. I found a plan for ones I like online. My husband sawed the lumber, and my dad and I are building them next weekend. We'll then paint them with leftover paint, and plant the on-sale plants I got last weekend. Total: 8$ including plants, and most of that is because I had to buy more screws.

4) Yes, I have a large-ish house on 2 acres of land. But y'know what? I live in the country. My 4-bedroom(plus one office), 3-story, 2.5 bathroom house cost less to build than buying a 3-bedroom house on a 1/4 acre in the city. I commute to work only twice a week, AND I'm not spending 1.5K to rent a cottage down the street from where I live in the summer, like 3 of my colleagues do. It's a choice: slightly longer commute, but living in a way better place that I actually enjoy living in. Coming home feels like being on vacation. I like it.

5) Yeah, I agree: my furniture is gorgeous. It is 90% hand-me-downs, Craigslist, Kijiji, or garage sales, which means that I have a house full of gorgeous antiques for about 1/3 the price of Ikea. God, I love country garage sales. 10$ oak table, anyone? I also spend a fair amount of time painting/decorating/making it look nice, because living in a place that looks nice is important to me. No judgement if it's not important to you. But it IS possible to have a nice place for relatively little, IF you spend the time and effort. It's a CHOICE.

You know how we afford it? HERE'S HOW:
- We do things ourselves, or with the help of family. And we also help family with stuff. It's a trade-off.
- We buy used, we fix things, we make aesthetic changes to things (a coat of paint works wonders)
- One car. ONE car, which is a 2011 Honda Fit. We commute together when we need to. It's good on gas, runs great, doesn't require all that much maintenance. And when we're going around the lake, or anywhere that's within 5km? BIKES, YO. What do my colleagues drive? All families have, minimum, 2 cars. At least one BMW and one Audi. 3 of them have 'summer cars' (convertable) and 'winter cars' (heat-able).
- Restaurants? Muahahaha, funny joke. We live in the country, there isn't one within 25km. Half of my office eats lunch from the 'lunch menu' of places down the street. Cost: 12$/day. Every day. Plus dinner out at least twice a week with the whole family, AND cocktails with friends, AND take-out. You wanna know why you have no spare cash? THAT.
- Vacations: several colleagues spend 1.5K for a week in a cottage across the lake from my house, in summer. I LIVE in a vacation spot. Many other ones think that not going 'down south' at least once a winter, with the entire family, is 'cheap' and 'living like you're poor'. I'm like... guys, I LIVE in the spot where you pay to vacation. My vacation expense this summer will be a hammock stand, and maybe a fresh pitcher of ice tea and gas to get to the library. Add a bottle of wine and a stroll down to the lake, and why would I pay to go elsewhere??

To be clear: if people WANT to spend money on cars, or restaurants, or vacations, or hiring people to do things around their house instead of learning to do it themselves: go. cheers. knock yourselves out. your money, your goals, your choices, etc.

But the things we can afford are the result of the choices we make. No, I couldn't afford to live where I do if I was eating out multiple times a week, driving a BMW, and flying south twice a winter. But I CAN afford to live like I do AND save 33% of a perfectly average Canadian family income because of the CHOICES WE MAKE. Cut the damn snark. It's not flattering to anyone. Spend money on the things you value (house? travel? food? whatever it is - but it can't be EVERYTHING. Make choices.) and let the rest GO.

Argh.

Now I feel better. Thanks. ;)

gardeningandgreen

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2016, 08:49:32 AM »
This is fantastic. I have family and friends who talk about this all the time. My coworkers along with the concrete guys were flabbergasted when we paid in cash for the concrete to be poured for the garage we are building ourselves. Its amazing what you can afford when you make a priority of affording it! People just don't think about where their money goes!

Kitsune

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2016, 09:03:14 AM »
Honestly, it's just annoying to be judged. Like, guys, we're a) making an average-but-not-phenomenal amount, and b) we're living in a house, we're not living in a house AT YOU. Stop the judgement, enjoy your life, get over it.

Also, you can afford a whole lot more if you make a habit of doing things yourself. There is absolutely no way I could afford to pay someone to build that deck, or spend 200$ on 2 wood garden boxes for the front porch, or buy antiques from an antique store OR new furniture from anywhere not ikea, or... anything else, really. But we can afford all of those things via time, effort, and work. It's a trade-off.



MgoSam

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2016, 09:09:50 AM »
Kitsune, that's awesome!

The comments your co-workers made about you being "rich" reminds me of something that happened at my gym.

There's a women there that I train with occasionally, she generally does 3 classes M-T and then another class on Friday and Saturday, in addition to running and lifting in the morning. She's really modest about this, I just did my first triple (3 classes) yesterday and haven't stopped bragging about it, but a few weeks ago she mentioned this to another women at the gym who said, "I wish I had the time," and I couldn't help but butt in by saying, "Asil doesn't have time, she makes it, in addition to working out she works a full-time job and a part-time job on the weekend," and Asil gave me the biggest smile, which told me that she wanted to say that but didn't want to be rude. She did add, "Well I really enjoy working out, and I no longer need to work part-time."

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2016, 09:11:11 AM »
Good rant, particularly the sexism bit. I have the same thing when people see my wedding photos and comment on how much it must have cost my dad. Or ask which dad paid for my sister and her wife's wedding. And they look genuinely surprised when I explain to them how sexist they are being. As if grown adults need a parent to pay for a party; and as if anyone should be getting married before they can figure out how to pay for said party.

You are right, they are being fools. It is crazy that your friends think they can laugh at you for working hard in your twenties and now be judgemental that you can afford the things that money and effort can buy.

If I was as foolish as your colleagues sound (clown cars, holidays, $100 for a planter?!?) I'd struggle to put on my own shoes, never mind figure out how to choose to spend my money.

Thank you for posting here, I hope it was therapeutic for you. Thanks also for the phrases 'pitch a fit' and 'living in a house AT YOU', I hadn't heard them before.

homestead neohio

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2016, 09:13:24 AM »
...we're living in a house, we're not living in a house AT YOU.

That's amazing.  Thanks for this.

acorn

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2016, 09:21:42 AM »
I have such immense house envy right now.

Kitsune

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2016, 09:25:32 AM »
...we're living in a house, we're not living in a house AT YOU.

That's amazing.  Thanks for this.

I think it's originally from Captain Awkward? It's incredibly useful when people are reacting to something you're doing in your own life as if there's an implied judgement on their life and their choices. It was great when people were criticizing our decision to get married as if we were criticizing theirs to not get married (no judgement, again; this is just what we chose to do in our life) and I could be like, look, we're getting married, we're not getting married AT YOU. Why are you so invested in this?

Vertical Mode

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2016, 09:45:55 AM »
This is awesome! Great read, hope you're feeling better.

It absolutely baffles me that people don't see (or refuse to/are in denial about) the fact that all of these things are connected. You didn't hit the lotto or marry a trust-fund heir, you made smart moves with your money and continue to avoid the traps of consumerism others regard as normal fare. One bar tab foregone can be several bricks in the cash castle, lest ye remain a serf!

mm1970

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2016, 09:58:17 AM »
That was pretty awesome.  It's rare for people to make comments about how lucky we are, but it happens.  I try to not take it personally.  I do occasionally (gently) agree that it's terribly hard to afford a house in this town, and many things have to line up for it to happen.

- We bought our house in our mid 30's
- We were frugal and saved money for over a decade before buying the house
- We bought the house before kids
- We had a bit of stock options for 1/2 the down payment (though honestly, we could have self-funded the whole down payment)
- We bought the bottom of the single family  house market (albeit at a bad time, near the peak). We still live in the 2BR, 1BA 1100 sf house with no garage.

We make choices every day that are frugal, or partially so.  For example: eating out.  I'm not a fan of eating out.  Hubby and bigger kid are.  We work it into our budget.

So last night was a celebratory pizza meal with the baseball team. Husband and big kid went, I took toddler home (eating out with a toddler sucks, especially one who doesn't want to be there).  They used a coupon.
Tonight is a fundraiser meal for the school. We'll go.  We'll order light.  But more importantly, it's in our budget.  If you were to look at the times that we eat out, they are *always* social/ special occasions.  Or at least 99%.  We don't go out to breakfast, or dinner just because.  We go to baseball pizza, or birthday lunches at the burger place, or fundraiser dinners for the school.  Usually it's not more than 1-2x a month.

I mean, we aren't even talking massive mustachianism here.  I could go on:
- We didn't join the $275/ month swim club for the summer
- We signed our son up for the free summer drop in program.  Instead of a summer full of expensive camps.  A full summer of camp would be a minimum of $1500, and those are the cheap camps.  Many of the camps are $300-400 a week for half days.  The free program allows us to sign him up for 3 weeks of quality camps (robotics, gifted, and softball) for about $600.  Oh and he gets free lunch there too.
- We don't have a huge entertainment expense.  We don't go on dates very often (though have been doing better this year).  Date nights are $40-60 in babysitting alone (nobody wants to swap).  We are going to our first concert at the musical venue in town!  After living here for almost 20 years. 
- We don't have a huge grocery expense.  I actually work on this.
- Our 20th anniversary is this summer.  I was thinking about doing a fantastic vacation to Hawaii or the Caribbean.  Instead, we are going to my niece's graduation.  The plane tickets for the summer trip/graduation are about $2700 (4 people, 5 round trip flights).  Cheaper than a bigger trip.  On our actual anniversary (a Wednesday after we are back), we will take the work day off, go kayaking (using a gift card we already have), and have a picnic on the beach. 

I really enjoyed your post.

mm1970

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2016, 10:00:01 AM »
This is awesome! Great read, hope you're feeling better.

It absolutely baffles me that people don't see (or refuse to/are in denial about) the fact that all of these things are connected. You didn't hit the lotto or marry a trust-fund heir, you made smart moves with your money and continue to avoid the traps of consumerism others regard as normal fare. One bar tab foregone can be several bricks in the cash castle, lest ye remain a serf!
Most of it they don't see.

They don't really think about the fact that their gas guzzling truck was 2x a small car, but also costs more to operate.
They don't see you spending your evenings at home cooking dinner, or going for hikes or to the beach or going camping.

They don't see you doing your own yard work, darning your own socks.

MgoSam

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2016, 10:02:08 AM »
darning your own socks.

I don't know if anyone here has played the Monkey Island computer games made by Lucasarts, I just started playing their newest version and there's a line where Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate, looks at a pair of socks and says, "Those socks need a good darning." Hesitates and then raises fists, "DARN YA SOCKS!"

I'm a red panda

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2016, 10:17:33 AM »
My SIL called and cancelled cable the day that she was talking about how jealous she was my husband and I go on a fancy vacation every year (granted, we do out earn them and have no kids). But I pointed out to her what she pays annually for cable is MORE than we pay for our yearly cruise.  And she told me she never used it because they watch netflix anyway!

People thing some things are "necessities" and just assume everyone does the exact same things they do- so everything else is extra.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2016, 10:45:04 AM by iowajes »

ketchup

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2016, 10:34:51 AM »
That has to be frustrating.

It's interesting the things that make people think we're rich or poor.

Some of my coworkers think I'm dirt poor.  I never go out to lunch, I drive the sort of car a normal person would throw away, and I wear thrift store clothes.

Some of them think I'm a millionaire because I'm 25 and own two houses (one almost paid off).

It's like they can't connect the two.

Elderwood17

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2016, 10:51:13 AM »
I think it is interesting that Mustachians can be "judged" negatively because we might drive a small, older car or because we don't spend in whatever frivolous manner others think we should, but then we get judged because we can afford a house or are able to pay for something in cash.

People just cannot connect the dots.....l

FIREwoman

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2016, 10:56:14 AM »
i love this

i'm still on the "extremely pathetic" end of the MMM spectrum (earning- and stache-wise). i don't really talk money around friends/ acquaintances, but sometimes get the "you're so lucky!" thing. dude...almost the entire time you've known me, i've been working 7 days a week (took a part-time job to pay off debt, lasted four years). i drive a 14 year old car and don't eat out much (i still need to work on it, but have cut down a lot). i also don't ask a local smoke shop if they're having any "4/20" deals right after i've been fired from my PT job at 28 whilst constantly bitching about being broke and how "life is against me!!!".

i mean i'm lucky that i was born in the US and have a shit-tonne of opportunity in contrast to a lot of the world. but then again, so do they.

i guess i am lucky that i finally woke up.




MgoSam

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2016, 11:35:27 AM »
I think it is interesting that Mustachians can be "judged" negatively because we might drive a small, older car or because we don't spend in whatever frivolous manner others think we should, but then we get judged because we can afford a house or are able to pay for something in cash.

Well it's like we are often told to spend more money so that we can "enjoy life," and then when we don't and enjoy life, people feel like there's no possible way that our foresight has helped us live more comfortable lives...is has to be luck, or being rich, or some other thing that helps them justify their own state.

I have a customer that's a good friend, and he constantly pays his invoices late. I put up with it because he gives me a ton of advice on products, advice that has helped me make a ton of money, so him paying a few weeks late is a small price to pay. We talk a lot about life, and he considers me to be cheap. Each time I want to say, "I may be cheap, but I can pay all my invoices on time."

TravelJunkyQC

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2016, 11:40:23 AM »
Thank-you so much - if I recall Kitsune, you're also in Québec, as am I.

I get the same shade from people. I quit my job because it was making me physically ill (very unhappy - the day I puked at work was the day I decided to leave). Was told that I was "lucky" I had a man who could support me as I quit (he doesn't, we have separate finances, and I would have been fine even if I hadn't found a new job immediately).

We get judged for our lifestyle of not going out to eat, living in a small loft, having old cars, preferring camping and being in the woods to anything else... and then they also say how we must make a huge salary to be considering buying a land in the country with cash (we don't - very average Québec salary as well).

Thank-you for the rant, you said exactly what I've always wanted to say.

onlykelsey

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2016, 11:41:47 AM »
i mean i'm lucky that i was born in the US and have a shit-tonne of opportunity in contrast to a lot of the world. but then again, so do they.

Yeah, this is my pet peeve.  I am SO INCREDIBLY LUCKY in so many ways.  I grew up able-bodied, white, in 21st century America, with a literate mother and English as my first language.  I have won the freaking lottery of humanity. BUT SO HAS PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE MAKING THESE COMPLAINTS.  Especially because I was orphaned as a teenager and grew up in probably the 25% or 30% percentile income-wise, I do not want to hear your lame excuses.   

MgoSam

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2016, 12:29:12 PM »
i mean i'm lucky that i was born in the US and have a shit-tonne of opportunity in contrast to a lot of the world. but then again, so do they.

Yeah, this is my pet peeve.  I am SO INCREDIBLY LUCKY in so many ways.  I grew up able-bodied, white, in 21st century America, with a literate mother and English as my first language.  I have won the freaking lottery of humanity. BUT SO HAS PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE MAKING THESE COMPLAINTS.  Especially because I was orphaned as a teenager and grew up in probably the 25% or 30% percentile income-wise, I do not want to hear your lame excuses.

Also, America isn't the beeknee's for opportunity. Obvi as an American I can't speak to other country's opportunities, but there are more opportunities in countries that were previously very class based (think India). In short, I believe that this is among the best times to be alive and kicking. Of course it isn't perfect everywhere and too many people suffer from lack of nutrition and access to clean water, but I can't think of a single period in history that was better for the global population than now.

That said, in addition to the problems I mentioned, there are growing problems that could plague us for the next century.

Kitsune

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2016, 12:48:06 PM »
Thank-you so much - if I recall Kitsune, you're also in Québec, as am I.

I get the same shade from people. I quit my job because it was making me physically ill (very unhappy - the day I puked at work was the day I decided to leave). Was told that I was "lucky" I had a man who could support me as I quit (he doesn't, we have separate finances, and I would have been fine even if I hadn't found a new job immediately).

We get judged for our lifestyle of not going out to eat, living in a small loft, having old cars, preferring camping and being in the woods to anything else... and then they also say how we must make a huge salary to be considering buying a land in the country with cash (we don't - very average Québec salary as well).

Thank-you for the rant, you said exactly what I've always wanted to say.

Yep, Quebec-based.

And, I mean... I've had a lot of privilege - I was born to fairly well-off parents, in good health, in a place where education is heavily subsidized, I have a decently varied skillset and learn quickly, I've had the luck to find/get decent jobs at the right time.... but the people I'm talking about have ALSO had all those advantages.

Chris22

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2016, 12:49:06 PM »
Also, America isn't the beeknee's for opportunity. Obvi as an American I can't speak to other country's opportunities, but there are more opportunities in countries that were previously very class based (think India).

Which is why so many Americans are getting H-1B visas to go work in India.  Oh wait.

I have to think America offers the most opportunity to the total population than any other country on earth.  Yes, for instance, if you're a Saudi Royal in Saudi America, you've got more opportunity, but if you show up there tomorrow as an American, or God forbid as an Indian or Pakistani, good luck.  Or even if you're of African or Middle Eastern and in Europe, where employment is 50% + for those demographics.  Now, there may be more upside if you were to start a business in India versus starting one in the US, but I put your chances of moderate success MUCH higher in the US, even if you are potentially less likely to be a billionaire.

onlykelsey

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2016, 12:52:37 PM »
Also, America isn't the beeknee's for opportunity. Obvi as an American I can't speak to other country's opportunities, but there are more opportunities in countries that were previously very class based (think India).

Which is why so many Americans are getting H-1B visas to go work in India.  Oh wait.

I have to think America offers the most opportunity to the total population than any other country on earth.  Yes, for instance, if you're a Saudi Royal in Saudi America, you've got more opportunity, but if you show up there tomorrow as an American, or God forbid as an Indian or Pakistani, good luck.  Or even if you're of African or Middle Eastern and in Europe, where employment is 50% + for those demographics.  Now, there may be more upside if you were to start a business in India versus starting one in the US, but I put your chances of moderate success MUCH higher in the US, even if you are potentially less likely to be a billionaire.

Yeah, this comment confused me, as well.  Mgo usually has good input on posts, though, maybe I'm missing something.  I'd be more sympathetic to the argument that certain other countries incubate developing companies (for example, Sweden with Skype, Spotify, etc).

Warlord1986

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2016, 12:54:11 PM »
What you're experiencing is something I ranted about recently in another thread. The 'Must be nice' and 'You're so lucky' shade that gets thrown around is nothing but sour grapes. Pardon the French, but it's a bunch of bullshit that people use to absolve  themselves of blame for problems they could resolve, but won't. It annoys me greatly.

I am lucky in the same way everyone around me is lucky. I just choose to capitalize on my luck by taking control of my finances.

MgoSam

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2016, 12:58:14 PM »
Also, America isn't the beeknee's for opportunity. Obvi as an American I can't speak to other country's opportunities, but there are more opportunities in countries that were previously very class based (think India).

Which is why so many Americans are getting H-1B visas to go work in India.  Oh wait.

I have to think America offers the most opportunity to the total population than any other country on earth.  Yes, for instance, if you're a Saudi Royal in Saudi America, you've got more opportunity, but if you show up there tomorrow as an American, or God forbid as an Indian or Pakistani, good luck.  Or even if you're of African or Middle Eastern and in Europe, where employment is 50% + for those demographics.  Now, there may be more upside if you were to start a business in India versus starting one in the US, but I put your chances of moderate success MUCH higher in the US, even if you are potentially less likely to be a billionaire.

Yeah, this comment confused me, as well.  Mgo usually has good input on posts, though, maybe I'm missing something.  I'd be more sympathetic to the argument that certain other countries incubate developing companies (for example, Sweden with Skype, Spotify, etc).

I went back and re-read my comments, allow me to clarify.

I think America has the greatest opportunities for it's population, but I do believe that many foreign countries are becoming a better place for it's citizens to achieve upward mobility. India is where my family is from and my parents left in the 1970s due to a lack of opportunities. This was due to a combination of a poor economy (THANKS NEHRU!) and a lack of opportunities (class structure, ect). Had it been 2016, there is a great chance they would have stayed.0

Chris22

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2016, 01:01:05 PM »
There is no question that India in 2016 is better than India in 1970 as far as upward mobility.

There is also no question that the US in 2016 is better than India in 2016 as far as upward mobility, in general. 

onlykelsey

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2016, 01:06:28 PM »
There is no question that India in 2016 is better than India in 1970 as far as upward mobility.

There is also no question that the US in 2016 is better than India in 2016 as far as upward mobility, in general. 

Two additional points:

US in 1970 was better for upward mobility than US in 2016

I'd rather be NON upwardly mobile (ie stuck in the 10th percentile) in the US than in India, in either year

Kitsune

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2016, 01:10:03 PM »
What you're experiencing is something I ranted about recently in another thread. The 'Must be nice' and 'You're so lucky' shade that gets thrown around is nothing but sour grapes. Pardon the French, but it's a bunch of bullshit that people use to absolve  themselves of blame for problems they could resolve, but won't. It annoys me greatly.

I am lucky in the same way everyone around me is lucky. I just choose to capitalize on my luck by taking control of my finances.

Exactly!

Like, ok, there are people who had the advantages I had and then were UNlucky - their health was bad, or a disabled child/parent required a stay-at-home parent as caretaker, or prolonged layoffs drained savings before they could build up, or... you know. That kind of stuff.

But I'm having a hard time mustering sympathy that someone 'can't' have a house as nice as what I have while they're making BMW payments and eating out 4 nights a week. Like, you chose what you get, and they chose differently, and that's genuinely fine (like, my house makes me happy, their BMW can make them happy, sure!) but don't whine that you can't have ALL the things. You can have SOME of the things. You get to pick what those things are! Ain't it wonderful? You picked! But now don't exect sympathy because you don't have what you didn't pick - that's your choice, argh!!

And stop throwing shade at me because I have what you don't! I have what I chose to have! Which means I GAVE UP OTHER THINGS, and you don't see me whining about not having THOSE! ARGH.

Patience has never been my strong point.

exterous

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2016, 01:36:57 PM »
I feel your pain when it comes to house comments. So many people don't do things themselves or buy items at full price that they have a vastly inflated perception of cost. We have gotten a lot of the same sorts of comments. We do almost everything ourselves - even if we don't know how to do it we'll read, research or just give it a go to learn how. We'll look at how we can fix\change\modify something we find at a reuse center or on craigslist. People don't see that time and effort though. They just see the results and, after applying their version of costs, think that you have more money than you do. I have been particularly annoyed as our house purchase came 7 months after my father died so people look at our house and the work we've done and assume it was inheritance related.

What you're experiencing is something I ranted about recently in another thread. The 'Must be nice' and 'You're so lucky' shade that gets thrown around is nothing but sour grapes. Pardon the French, but it's a bunch of bullshit that people use to absolve  themselves of blame for problems they could resolve, but won't. It annoys me greatly.

I am lucky in the same way everyone around me is lucky. I just choose to capitalize on my luck by taking control of my finances.

I think people have a hard time seeing the sum of their expenditures and instead see a lot of smaller purchases that don't appear to add up to large numbers. "Its only $x" adds up

zolotiyeruki

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2016, 02:08:02 PM »
That was an epic rant, and I enjoyed it immensely.  The whole idea of "my position is largely a result of my choices" is one that I've really come to appreciate over the last few years.  I think MMM needs to quote this rant as the basis for a new blog posting.  Seriously.  So I can post it on Facebook.
I feel your pain when it comes to house comments. So many people don't do things themselves or buy items at full price that they have a vastly inflated perception of cost. We have gotten a lot of the same sorts of comments. We do almost everything ourselves - even if we don't know how to do it we'll read, research or just give it a go to learn how. We'll look at how we can fix\change\modify something we find at a reuse center or on craigslist. People don't see that time and effort though. They just see the results and, after applying their version of costs, think that you have more money than you do. I have been particularly annoyed as our house purchase came 7 months after my father died so people look at our house and the work we've done and assume it was inheritance related.
That's really insightful, actually--I can think of several projects that I've done around the house for next-to-nothing, that many people would think were very expensive, because they would hire it out.  Because it's so much cheaper for me to tackle these projects myself, they actually happen more frequently than an outsider might expect, given my income.

Warlord1986

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #30 on: May 25, 2016, 02:08:30 PM »

Exactly!

Like, ok, there are people who had the advantages I had and then were UNlucky - their health was bad, or a disabled child/parent required a stay-at-home parent as caretaker, or prolonged layoffs drained savings before they could build up, or... you know. That kind of stuff.

But I'm having a hard time mustering sympathy that someone 'can't' have a house as nice as what I have while they're making BMW payments and eating out 4 nights a week. Like, you chose what you get, and they chose differently, and that's genuinely fine (like, my house makes me happy, their BMW can make them happy, sure!) but don't whine that you can't have ALL the things. You can have SOME of the things. You get to pick what those things are! Ain't it wonderful? You picked! But now don't exect sympathy because you don't have what you didn't pick - that's your choice, argh!!

And stop throwing shade at me because I have what you don't! I have what I chose to have! Which means I GAVE UP OTHER THINGS, and you don't see me whining about not having THOSE! ARGH.

Patience has never been my strong point.

Exactly. Yes, I went on an awesome vacation. But I don't eat out for lunch every day; I cook dinner at home and eat leftovers for lunch. And my clothes come from the consignment shop and I wear them out.

Whining because they don't have everything they want is something I associated with and expect from children. Grown adults should know better.


I think people have a hard time seeing the sum of their expenditures and instead see a lot of smaller purchases that don't appear to add up to large numbers. "Its only $x" adds up

This gets back to MMM's post about a millionaire being made ten bucks at a time. Millionaires are also unmade ten bucks at a time.

mm1970

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2016, 02:09:56 PM »
Also, America isn't the beeknee's for opportunity. Obvi as an American I can't speak to other country's opportunities, but there are more opportunities in countries that were previously very class based (think India).

Which is why so many Americans are getting H-1B visas to go work in India.  Oh wait.

I have to think America offers the most opportunity to the total population than any other country on earth.  Yes, for instance, if you're a Saudi Royal in Saudi America, you've got more opportunity, but if you show up there tomorrow as an American, or God forbid as an Indian or Pakistani, good luck.  Or even if you're of African or Middle Eastern and in Europe, where employment is 50% + for those demographics.  Now, there may be more upside if you were to start a business in India versus starting one in the US, but I put your chances of moderate success MUCH higher in the US, even if you are potentially less likely to be a billionaire.

Yeah, this comment confused me, as well.  Mgo usually has good input on posts, though, maybe I'm missing something.  I'd be more sympathetic to the argument that certain other countries incubate developing companies (for example, Sweden with Skype, Spotify, etc).

I went back and re-read my comments, allow me to clarify.

I think America has the greatest opportunities for it's population, but I do believe that many foreign countries are becoming a better place for it's citizens to achieve upward mobility. India is where my family is from and my parents left in the 1970s due to a lack of opportunities. This was due to a combination of a poor economy (THANKS NEHRU!) and a lack of opportunities (class structure, ect). Had it been 2016, there is a great chance they would have stayed.0
I have many friends and coworkers from India.  I know a lot of guys who came over for their PhDs.  There are a fair number who are working for US companies in India.  Of all countries that I know people from (India, China, Korea, Brazil, Germany, Norway)... a greater percentage of Indians go back home to work.  Still way less than half.

Vertical Mode

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2016, 02:12:19 PM »
This is awesome! Great read, hope you're feeling better.

It absolutely baffles me that people don't see (or refuse to/are in denial about) the fact that all of these things are connected. You didn't hit the lotto or marry a trust-fund heir, you made smart moves with your money and continue to avoid the traps of consumerism others regard as normal fare. One bar tab foregone can be several bricks in the cash castle, lest ye remain a serf!
Most of it they don't see.

They don't really think about the fact that their gas guzzling truck was 2x a small car, but also costs more to operate.
They don't see you spending your evenings at home cooking dinner, or going for hikes or to the beach or going camping.

They don't see you doing your own yard work, darning your own socks.

Interesting. Not quite how I meant for that to read, but also true. I was referring to a seeming inability to "connect the dots" of the big picture that to a Mustachian would be quite obvious - driving a behemoth, going out to eat all the time, expensive cocktails on the regular, etc. and then crying poor wondering where the whole paycheck went, for example. But yes, much of what has gotten OP ahead of the game seems to be the stuff that coworkers probably don't see, like making dinners at home or biking to nearby places instead of driving. My guess is that one of the reasons the coworkers are surprised by OP's situation is that they're extrapolating their own idea of "normal behavior" and assuming everyone acts that way, failing to account for the fact that others may indeed be much more frugal and efficient with their spending patterns.

It is amazing how quickly people will disregard math when dollar signs are placed in front of the values.

yourusernamehere

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2016, 04:24:45 PM »
Kitsune, glad you could get that off your chest. We're here for you! Very well said.

markbike528CBX

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2016, 04:42:31 PM »
....
I mean, we aren't even talking massive mustachianism here.  I could go on:
- We didn't join the $275/ month swim club for the summer.......

I hadn't realized that my above ground pool was semi-mustachian (~$2K)
vs 4 months/year*$275/month*3 years (so far)= $3300.

I thought it was a facepunchable thingy.--- Thanks mm1970!

KodeBlue

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #35 on: May 25, 2016, 04:50:16 PM »
Isn't it nice to be lucky, Kitsune? Our mortgage will be paid off in about three months- not because over the years I've worked holidays and OT and thrown the extra money on the house payment- it's because I'm just lucky like you are! hard work has nothing to do with it ;)

Dear jerky coworkers: If I really possessed that much "luck" don't you think I would won lottery and packed it in years ago? 

galliver

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #36 on: May 25, 2016, 05:42:56 PM »
Kitsune, your house sounds fantastic and the work you put into it, tremendous. Seems like it is certainly paying off in creating your little corner of lakeside paradise. :) *a little bit of envy*

But I wouldn't be sure your coworkers were necessarily sexist in suggesting your husband's paycheck was responsible for your lovely situation. I expect it was a matter of them assigning the value to an obvious unknown (his paycheck) rather than the non-obvious (to them) unknown of all the labor and DIY you put into it. Maybe if you were a man you'd get a similar response ("You married well, huh?" or whatever dudes say to each other). Hard to check of course.

Also, I hope you realize the ways in which you are lucky. Your FIL has a woodlot that was able to provide materials for this project. That's awesome! Furthermore, it sounds like you and your husband both had fathers who passed down a tradition of DIY/projects, ones you could "help" in the garage on weekends? Not everyone has that. Though I do think anyone can read an instruction manual (to a saw), watch some YouTube, and figure out how to make BOXES. It does require having work or at least storage space for some tools, though...but if you need $1k worth of boxes for a house, you probably have that!

Finally, I think you may not be giving yourself credit: your sense of aesthetics that allows you to create a beautiful home with secondhand finds? It may seem so natural and integral to you that you don't realize it, but it's also not something everyone has. Same way I don't understand how people can have trouble with trigonometry or kinematics. But I've observed that there is a spectrum of people when it comes to aesthetics. Some people can be surrounded by mismatched colors, styles, etc and not care; I think my parents, at least my dad, are in this group. Then there's people like me: I care, and I can pick out things I like that go quite well together, and even find some of them secondhand, if they are "ready to go". And finally people like two of my former roommates, and I suspect you as well, who have VISION...you can see a crummy chair/table/chest on Craigslist and say "I can sand that, stain it, change the hardware, and it will look gorgeous *here*" and be right. Maybe it can be learned, to an extent, but like all art I think it takes a degree of talent as well. So: take their jealousy of your furnishings as a compliment to your immense skill, and if it's something you enjoy maybe consider starting a side-hustle as a decorator-craigslist trawler-furniture refinisher? Free consultation (tour their house), $X per piece found+price of piece+$Y/hr for refinishing. :)

accountingteacher

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #37 on: May 25, 2016, 05:43:49 PM »
Kitsune - you are my soul mate. 

It amazes me how people try really hard to justify their own lack of wealth.  The one I get regularly is, "...but you don't have kids."  It doesn't matter that I lived at home for university and graduated with no debt, or that my husband and I lived in a house we hated for 5 years while we saved for this one, or that I know where every single penny of our (admittedly high) incomes go, or that I have 3 different levels of emergency financial plans.  I didn't have kids and that's why I appear wealthy.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #38 on: May 25, 2016, 07:43:56 PM »
That was such a fun read Kitsune, thank you.  Throwing facepunches right and left!

Tuskalusa

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #39 on: May 25, 2016, 08:35:18 PM »
Amen sister!  Love your post.

LeRainDrop

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #40 on: May 25, 2016, 08:45:54 PM »
Awesome post, Kitsune!  Don't let those jellies force you to play defense.  Also, I am reminded of TLC's "No Scrubs":

Quote
A scrub is a guy that thinks he's fly
And is also known as a buster
Always talkin' about what he wants
And just sits on his broke ass . . .
« Last Edit: May 25, 2016, 08:48:30 PM by LeRainDrop »

shelivesthedream

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #41 on: May 26, 2016, 02:09:31 AM »
@galliver: I think a high level of taste can be learned by most people (at least 75%) if they want. I wasn't born knowing what a great colour mustard can be in the right combination or where to put a lamp to lift a room.

Over the past fifteen years...
- I spent ten years reading interior design magazines as a teen
- and transitioned into another ten years reading fashion magazines
- my parents took me to stately homes and gardens in the holidays
- I love a good design museum
- I took a History of Art class at school and another at university, and woodwork at school, for fun
- I used to watch TV makeover shows (fashion and interiors) so I understand how a person or space can be transformed by some simple changes
- I love crafts and DIY so I practice making things and have learned what options are available to me
- I look at things with a design mindset all the time. I compare and contrast and work out what I like about everything, from Autumn colours to the uniform of the till assistants at the supermarket
- Browsing Pinterest (for actual design stuff, not shitty mommy crafts) could be considered a hobby of mine

I've made some horrendous aesthetic decisions but I've been practicing for fifteen years straight. That's why when my friend asked me to help her pick paint colours for her new flat she was sceptical when we were looking online but when the walls were painted she said "You were right!" If you don't think about something your whole life, how can you expect to know anything about it? But anyone can get started by flipping through some design books at the library, looking on Pinterest or going to a furniture museum. It's like anything in life, you just have to make an effort. I feel like people who understand cars are born with some special "car gene" but I know they're not really, they just practiced for a while and I can't see that. It's not magic!

Kitsune

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #42 on: May 26, 2016, 06:00:05 AM »
@galliver: I think a high level of taste can be learned by most people (at least 75%) if they want. I wasn't born knowing what a great colour mustard can be in the right combination or where to put a lamp to lift a room.

Over the past fifteen years...
- I spent ten years reading interior design magazines as a teen
- and transitioned into another ten years reading fashion magazines
- my parents took me to stately homes and gardens in the holidays
- I love a good design museum
- I took a History of Art class at school and another at university, and woodwork at school, for fun
- I used to watch TV makeover shows (fashion and interiors) so I understand how a person or space can be transformed by some simple changes
- I love crafts and DIY so I practice making things and have learned what options are available to me
- I look at things with a design mindset all the time. I compare and contrast and work out what I like about everything, from Autumn colours to the uniform of the till assistants at the supermarket
- Browsing Pinterest (for actual design stuff, not shitty mommy crafts) could be considered a hobby of mine

I've made some horrendous aesthetic decisions but I've been practicing for fifteen years straight. That's why when my friend asked me to help her pick paint colours for her new flat she was sceptical when we were looking online but when the walls were painted she said "You were right!" If you don't think about something your whole life, how can you expect to know anything about it? But anyone can get started by flipping through some design books at the library, looking on Pinterest or going to a furniture museum. It's like anything in life, you just have to make an effort. I feel like people who understand cars are born with some special "car gene" but I know they're not really, they just practiced for a while and I can't see that. It's not magic!

This. I think if you care about aesthetics, you can learn - it's not an inherent skill. I mean, it takes an eye for design, but if you care enough to notice when stuff doesn't work, you have the potential to train yourself to see what might.

I strongly, STRONGLY recommend the Manhattan Nest blog for inspiration - his most recent stuff is full-on construction and renovation, but his earlier stuff (apartments - accessed in the sidebar) was basically just student apartments re-done on a student budget and a lot of elbow grease. His style is NOT my style (I go for vaguely colonial, dark woods, natural textures, lots of books; he goes for more mid-century glam) but in terms of training yourself to see the potential in things, man, does that guy have an eye for it. Also DesignSponge, though they can edge into the much pricier. Good inspiration, though.

I'm not discounting my luck in a lot of ways - I think I posted that above somewhere!

I had the luck to negotiate myself into a job after graduating university with an English Lit degree (minor in history and women's studies, no less). I then worked my ass off in the worst job imaginable (staplers flung at your head at 8am on Monday morning? yup. Being consistently screamed at? yup. Panic attacks in the bathroom before pulling it together and getting back to work? yup.) and gained enough experience to find a BETTER job, and then a better one, and then another better one, and 10 years later I'm working half the hours for twice the salary. It was luck COMBINED with effort. It's the people who didn't put in the effort, told me I shouldn't bother, and are now wondering why I'm doing what I'm doing that drive me up the wall.

I have good health, my family has good health, no one is bankrupted or having serious issues, etc - that counts, success-wise.

My FIL has a woodlot - yes, that's SUPER helpful! And, in return, we're helping paint his house, re-do the floors, and put in his garden because he hurt his knee. The help flows both ways. ;)

And Galiiver, in terms of learning DIY skills from my dad: hahahahahahahaaaaaaaa NO.

For woodworking: my dad likes it as a solitary hobby. So I learned basic woodworking from a handyman friend of mine AFTER I moved out of my dad's house, in my 20s (along with practical things like re-caulking a bathtub and the like - I paid him to teach me, instead of paying him to do it. Best decision ever.) I'm ok for the basics of woodworking, but definitely not the detail work of making fine furniture... yet. ;) These planters I'm building are from Ana White's website (super easy plans, for the most part, and shown very clearly - I recommend it for basic woodworking), and for things I'm not sure of, I Youtube. At this point, my dad is coming over to help, but I could do it on my own, and NOT because he taught me. (don't get me wrong - I'm grateful for the help, and it's easier with 2 people)

For sewing stuff: my mom taught me... ish. Very ish. Enough to hem pants and fix a button. So, when I lived in the city, I went to a sewing studio and signed up for lessons (best 30$ ever spent), and got a 3-hour crash course on using a sewing machine, following patterns, etc. I then spent 80$ on a dirt cheap sewing machine and a lot of time on youtube and blogs figuring out how the hell this works. Now, I can make the household stuff I want and the shirts I want and can't find ready-made.

Like: some of it was luck, sure. Absolutely. 100%. I would not be in the same spot without some luck and privilege. But a) a lot of it was also making the effort to grab the luck, build on it, spend the money and time learning practical skills, and applying them until they get better, and b) a lot of the people whining and complaining at me HAVE HAD THE SAME LUCK (I am NOT complaining about people who, like, grew up in a ghetto with a disabled parent, or something. Totally different starting points). Like, seriously, one colleague who was shade-admiring my house? her husband is a contractor. Like, lady, if ANYONE has the skills to improve their own house...   

Tjat

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #43 on: May 26, 2016, 07:35:52 AM »
Just posting to comment that more than a few times I'm reading a post, nodding my head in agreement, and when finished, see that it's posted by Kitsune....

zephyr911

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #44 on: May 26, 2016, 07:46:21 AM »
Fully expect someone to try to cover my gas money to be nice...
Take it, but laugh while you do it. Shrug apologetically so they know you're just indulging them. $20 is $20 ;)

Kitsune/"all"; I guess I'm lucky to have a circle of friends who really don't care about this stuff. Some of them probably make more than I do, some of them most assuredly earn less. Homes, cars, and lifestyle accessories at least would indicate a large spread, though a couple of years here have opened my eyes to how vague those indicators can be; regardless, nobody seems to fixate on them. I'm spending less than half what I was in late 2013 and actually doing more stuff out around town with friends; we're living in a much smaller house but having raucous gatherings more often too. They like my cooking enough that if the "downgrade" bothers them, I've never heard it. And if someone doesn't have the $5 entry fee for a typical throwdown, people will line up to cover it for them. Good people, if you ask me.

Kitsune

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #45 on: May 26, 2016, 08:17:56 AM »
Just posting to comment that more than a few times I'm reading a post, nodding my head in agreement, and when finished, see that it's posted by Kitsune....

Awwww. Totally made my morning. Thanks! :)

MgoSam

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #46 on: May 26, 2016, 08:38:26 AM »
I just remembered a great quote.

"The harder I work, the luckier I get." - Samuel Goldwyn

The Happy Philosopher

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #47 on: May 26, 2016, 08:56:55 AM »
Ahhhh! Nothing like an epic rant first thing in the morning. I feel so energized :)  Thank you!

Kitsune

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #48 on: May 26, 2016, 09:02:45 AM »
I just remembered a great quote.

"The harder I work, the luckier I get." - Samuel Goldwyn

Basically.

And to be clear: working hard is not a guarantee for success. Plenty of people work hard and can't get ahead. But it is a PREREQUISITE for success.

Making Cookies

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Re: External perception vs actual financial state: A Rant
« Reply #49 on: May 26, 2016, 09:05:39 AM »
I hate the whole luck thing that put on you when you really spent months and years learning how to do what you do.

"Oh you're so lucky you could get a job like that" when you're thinking about all the crummy jobs and self-taught skills you've cultivated over the years.

Maybe it's just people's version of small talk but to me it diminishes what you have accomplished.

I'm probably repeating something said here a million times already but that's what I thought of reading your rant.