Author Topic: Choosing your friends  (Read 2886 times)

AJ

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Choosing your friends
« on: March 08, 2012, 10:55:07 AM »
So, DH and I came from working poor families, and it wasn't that long ago that we were just starting out and making very little. Consequently, the majority of our close friends and family make between $25k and $40k per year (household income). Even though our income is significantly higher than that ($140k base) we have kept our expenses in line with others in our social cohort. That is possible in part because we don't have a ton of social pressure to spend from them. OTOH, we do have some newer friends that are in our income bracket. Their lifestyles and spending habits are drastically different than ours, but they are also interested in investing and retirement, and generally have a firmer grasp on financial topics (which are of great interest to me).

So, my question is this: do you find that you have more in common with those who have a similar income as you, or those who have similar expenses? Or, do you find there to be no difference?

madgeylou

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Re: Choosing your friends
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2012, 11:24:12 AM »
what an interesting question!

i come from a working poor background, too, and have ended up making a good amount of money, though the last few years have been odd -- i went from making $100K to making nothing, then working in a restaurant part time for about $1000 a month, to a contract job now where i'm back up in the almost-6-figures range. (i'm also working on my startup, which i think has a HUGE potential to make lots of money and radically improve my industry.)

there have been some awkward moments when people have found out how much i make, but honestly the awkwardness has come much more from my family than from my friends. i've heard several comments about how lucky i am, how not everyone can have a great job, etc. several family members have a big chip on their shoulder about where they are in life, which is sad to see. :(

none of my friends have this attitude, because i don't generally befriend people who think that way! but i'm stuck with my family, so i just nod a lot and say "mm hmm." not much else to do.

anyhow, among the people i've chosen to have in my life, their incomes are all over the map. among my best friends ...

* one comes from an upper middle class background and now is making around $50K doing what she loves in her early 30s.
* another is a theater director who does amazing work but makes very very little money for it. he's very frugal and awesome.
* another is an office manager in NYC and makes more than the rest of us do combined
* the last one has, like me, bounced from a high, 6-figure income, down to almost nothing, and is in startup mode on her own small business.

so, i guess i'd say i tend to be compatible with people who think big and do what they want in life. it comes down to attitude more than income or consumption.

j3000

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Re: Choosing your friends
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2012, 11:24:40 AM »
I actually thought about this recently.  At my last job, I used to make quite a bit of money, and definitely spent it very freely on toys, but was unhappy and took a career change, and now at my current job I make far less, so I've tightened up and now am more interested in frugality.  I still hang out with friends I made at my old job, and one of the last times we hung out, I sort of felt as if our values had diverged.  At least on a superficial level, because they would talk of vacationing and eating out, things I wouldn't have thought twice about doing before but have a completely different attitude towards now, both out of principle and the fact of my low salary.  None of that would really get to me, except at times, for some reason I really can't understand, I get made fun of for selling some of my old possessions or teased about things I might buy (?? hard to explain, because I don't really understand it myself).  I haven't really explained any of what I am doing to anyone, and don't really want to, but it's just weird that since I've taken a different path, people with different ideas about things seem to ridicule me for things I'm doing concerning money/possessions.  Meanwhile, I'd say I do relate more to people around my income level these days.  So by my own experience, I would choose option A to your question.  But ultimately, I think it just depends on who someone is.  The amount of money one has/makes is superficial to what's inside.

velocistar237

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Re: Choosing your friends
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2012, 11:47:35 AM »
Between expenses and income, I think apparent expense level is the greater factor, because social class is determined more by appearance than by reality, but I find that common interest, common values, and level of education affect our relationships more than expenses or income alone. You can find people who have the same level of expenses but are living on credit, or have the same income and don't care about investing. Then I suppose the question becomes, is frugality or finance more of a common interest for me, and I would say it's a toss-up. Fortunately, we have some friends who are interested in both.