Author Topic: Total savings still small but already feeling others envious toward me  (Read 5319 times)

cosmopolitano

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Hello everybody

This topic might sound a little bad and I hope you don't judge me too quickly. Well, as some you might know, Brazil's economy is in a recession and all the predictions say that it will get even worse. In this scenario many persons are losing jobs and/or acquiring debts that are tough to pay (the credit card interest rate here is around 15% per MONTH at the moment). This situation caught many persons swimming naked, some of which live with me at a shared house. They are students like me and we live together to reduce the renting costs. I recognize them as big spenders (even now they still make more money than I do) but they never lose a chance to complay about how poor they are now, say they don't have money and sometimes ask if they can borrow some. This same behavior appears with some of my relatives.

In this scenario the frugal lifestyle puts me into a really good and above the average position. Because I kept spending less than I earn and I have some money saved the others noticed that I am not complaining like them. Right now it seems that not complaining is like living in luxury and I've even heard that some of them think I am rich. I've never said how much I have nor make, but for a period I have been trying to sell the ER idea to them. Maybe it created more harm than good.

I would like to know if any of you has ever struggled to deal with persons that believe you are swimming in gold while they can't fulfill their habitual lifestyle. How did you overcome the envy that comes together? I'm looking for ways to remove this pressure over me.

Elliot

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Re: Total savings still small but already feeling others envious toward me
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2016, 08:45:01 PM »
I think the best thing to do is not to talk about money.

Texan

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Re: Total savings still small but already feeling others envious toward me
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2016, 08:47:26 PM »
Why do you want to 'overcome' the envy? It is a personal thing YOU have to work out inside your self. My advice, don't give a hoot if you have jealous friends or family.

You have to be proud of where you are, and if they want to bring you down or make you feel less so, I would cut off the relationship. Surely, there are other Brazilians like yourself, make new friends!

Adventine

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Re: Total savings still small but already feeling others envious toward me
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2016, 09:55:35 PM »
^Texan, in an ideal world, none of us would need to give a damn about what others think about frugality. But the OP lives in a shared house with these people. I know from personal experience how unpleasant it can be to live with people who don't like my frugal life choices. I've had my share of envious comments fishing for info on my finances ("you must be a millionaire by now"), condescending remarks on my hobbies ("you should live a little! Your life is so boring!"). The atmosphere eventually turned from mildly annoying to soul-sucking.

I eventually saved up enough to leave, but until then, I kept to myself, kept all my bank statements in a private place, and held my tongue whenever anyone tried to provoke me because I seemed to be what they saw as a rich miser unwilling to help them with their self-created money problems.

tobitonic

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Re: Total savings still small but already feeling others envious toward me
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2016, 09:58:31 PM »
^ What Adventine said. Head down, keep swimming.

Lovelife

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Re: Total savings still small but already feeling others envious toward me
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2016, 10:15:51 PM »
I think there are some things you could do that might help. First, I'd stop talking to them about ER unless one of them comes to you and specifically asks for financial advice. Which sounds unlikely from your description of your roommates, but if someone isn't ready to hear something they won't hear it no matter how you explain it.

Second, idk how close you are with these people.. if they're actually your friends or just roommates without a close friendship. If they aren't your actual friends then maybe commiserate with them a little bit. You don't have to lie or even complain really, but when they start complaining about how their lives suck just show some compassion and say "yeah I hear you, it's really hard right now." Because it obviously is hard for them. No matter if you think it is their fault they're broke it doesn't mean that it isn't hard for them. You can only live from where you are... it's rare for many people to have the views that people on this forum have and it isn't really their fault. We're all raised by different parents who teach us varying money lessons and different cultures/societies that also teach us varying money styles. Anyways, some empathy can go a long way in dealing with people with different lifestyles and beliefs as you.

Third, if you are comfortable with this you could mention your salary (not your savings). As you said, it's less than what they make and if they already think it's impossible to live on their own wages then they will most likely assume that you're even worse off than they are. They may even think that you never complained with them before because you were embarrassed because you were "so much poorer than them". People who are complaining rarely listen to what you're actually saying before continuing to talk about their own problems. They usually only remember if you commiserated with them or not.

cosmopolitano

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Re: Total savings still small but already feeling others envious toward me
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2016, 01:04:12 PM »
Thanks for those who read and took time to answer.

I think the talk about money comes naturally when persons don't understand why you prefer to do 'sacrifices' not consuming certain products and services. Because they don't understand I try to show that I am actually buying freedom hours and/or days with my savings, and I enjoy my current lifestyle so it's no sacrifice at all. But since this lack of comprehension isn't exactly a request for advice it's seems I would have been in a better situation now if I had followed the rule of not helping those who hadn't asked for help. Talking to them about ER was a mistake and the lesson is learned. I know that I will get rid of them as soon as I move to another house, but I still need to figure out a way to deal with my relatives.

I really liked the suggestion of showing empathy and commiserate a little bit. This is a tip that works in many situations since is what most persons are, consciously or not, waiting for. Thanks for remembering me this.

I still need to learn how to properly keep out of the radar when I reach FI, but this problem is years in the future. And I guess there are many other discussions about this subject with some very good answers.

BTDretire

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Re: Total savings still small but already feeling others envious toward me
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2016, 07:35:16 AM »
Put up a sign. Or call it a mantra.
Or a response to, I'm so broke.

"Don't be stupid, spend less than you earn"

Parizade

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Re: Total savings still small but already feeling others envious toward me
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2016, 08:29:57 AM »

I really liked the suggestion of showing empathy and commiserate a little bit. This is a tip that works in many situations since is what most persons are, consciously or not, waiting for. Thanks for remembering me this.


I agree, and I would also suggest looking for ways you can show respect or admiration. This kind of situation will arise whenever you choose a challenging path of self improvement, whether you successfully quit smoking, lose weight, or control your finances. Those who have not found the will within themselves to do the same will see your success as proof of their failure.

One of my good friends eats too much, drinks too much, and spends too much. She is an absolute joy to be with because of her spontaneity and her huge heart of gold, but she can also be very touchy regarding her weaknesses. I was traveling with her last summer and we had dinner at a world famous restaurant. I ordered a glass of wine and a healthy, reasonably priced dish that sounded good. She ordered the most expensive and calorie laden thing on the menu, plus dessert and wine. She then proceeded to justify it, loudly and assertively, for several minutes.

I had not said a word, but I've come to accept that just BEING my healthy frugal self is enough to trigger her shame at times like this. Now I counter by casually bringing up her many strengths and praising them. How I envy her social grace and popularity. Her dramatic boho style. What a caring parent she is. How much everyone loves her. Etc. Gently, gently restoring some balance to her mood.

Not all relationships are worth this much effort, but for me this one is. If you are stuck with these roommates for a time, it may be worth your while as well.

arebelspy

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Re: Total savings still small but already feeling others envious toward me
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2016, 11:18:23 AM »
held my tongue whenever anyone tried to provoke me because I seemed to be what they saw as a rich miser unwilling to help them with their self-created money problems.

IMO this will just make them think they're right--if every time they make a snide comment about how rich you are, you say nothing?

Maybe something semi-self-deprecating, like "Oh, but you have plenty of money, you're rich," you can laugh and say "I wish I was rich"... that sort of thing.

Either way, just keep it lighthearted.  Don't worry about what they think, just relax, enjoy yourself. You are still stressing about money, just as they are, just for a different reason.  Stop.  It's not worth stressing over.  :)
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Kwill

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Re: Total savings still small but already feeling others envious toward me
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2016, 02:22:06 PM »
What everyone else said, but also, you may want to make sure that any bank statements, investment transaction confirmations, prospectuses, etc. are being delivered electronically and not to the mailbox you share with your housemates. Having Fidelity or Vanguard or whatever sending you things would probably reinforce the idea that you are rich and maybe provoke resentment, even if the amounts in the statements are actually small. I would also do direct deposit, etc.

With This Herring

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Re: Total savings still small but already feeling others envious toward me
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2016, 05:22:23 PM »
I can't remember where, but I read this suggestion somewhere else on the forums:
Go to the biggest gossip and ask to borrow $20 (or your local equivalent) to get you through until payday.

Adventine

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Re: Total savings still small but already feeling others envious toward me
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2016, 08:11:55 PM »
held my tongue whenever anyone tried to provoke me because I seemed to be what they saw as a rich miser unwilling to help them with their self-created money problems.

IMO this will just make them think they're right--if every time they make a snide comment about how rich you are, you say nothing?

Maybe something semi-self-deprecating, like "Oh, but you have plenty of money, you're rich," you can laugh and say "I wish I was rich"... that sort of thing.

Either way, just keep it lighthearted.  Don't worry about what they think, just relax, enjoy yourself. You are still stressing about money, just as they are, just for a different reason.  Stop.  It's not worth stressing over.  :)

Thank you. It's good advice. Looking back I should have been more lighthearted, but it was difficult to do when the people trying to provoke you are the parents and sisters you live with. I started to joke around a bit more after I moved out. My sense of humor when it comes to my personal finances is still a work in progress, though :)

arebelspy

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Re: Total savings still small but already feeling others envious toward me
« Reply #13 on: February 29, 2016, 12:24:46 AM »
Family relationships can be tricky.  I'm glad you were able to get independent enough to extract yourself from that one.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.