Does it bother you when people with higher incomes complain to be broke? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 22 Old 06-10-2013, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Now I know everyone's situation is different so I try not to judge. Sometimes; however, I find it humorous when friends/family members who I know make way more money than we do complain about not being able to do things or always being broke.

 

Recently both my sister and my SIL made comments about how they are envious that "everything always works out" or "everything is always perfect" for DH and I. Yes, I would agree everything always works out especially when on paper we should be in the red every month but we always get by with minimal issues. We spend very little money on frivolous things and save up for big purchases like a used vitamix via Craigslist that was our christmas/anniversary/birthday present to each other. In a way I'm flattered that people see my life as something to be envied, yet at the same time I find it kind of awkward/sad when someone complains to me that they can't have anything that they want.

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#2 of 22 Old 06-10-2013, 05:08 PM
 
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this happens to me all of the time.  Mostly with family that make more than I do but still don't have any money saved.  They don't seem to make the connection of how I live and the fact that I am not living hand to mouth.  They don't notice that I don't pay for cable, that I drive an old paid off car, that I live in the cheapest rental anywhere in this area, or that I make my breakfast, lunch and dinner at home every single day and never even get an order of tea out.  They comment that I can afford a gym, but we have financial aid there.  And then my parents, whose income is almost what mine is, except that they have a totally paid for house and no kids to feed/cloth/send to college want me to pay for their things because they are so broke.  yeah, it gets to me. 
 

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#3 of 22 Old 06-11-2013, 01:00 AM
 
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I guess I must be very lucky.  Nobody ever complains about being broke to me.  Either my friends and family feel ashamed about being broke, or they're not broke.  I know none of us make loads of money, but frugality and good money management seem to run in our circles.  The only exception is my brother who is both broke (unemployed) and frivolous in spending, but he never talk about it. 


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#4 of 22 Old 06-11-2013, 04:56 AM
 
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While I understand the "high income- high debt" thing that leads to being "broke" all the time, it does bother me since my kids and I live below the poverty line.  We scrape for change for toilet paper or dish soap most months and certain people in my life make a very comfortable salary and nickle and dime themselves into the poorhouse and feel the right to complain and tell me that they understand.  It's poor money management really.  And that's okay because everyone has a right to spend their money as they see fit and not everyone was blessed with an upbringing that respected saving but.....don't complain to me when you are buying coffee twice a day plus lunch and driving a brand new vehicle.  Those are CHOICES.  I wasn't raised to be money-savvy either.  It was a trial by fire when I became a suddenly single parent with not enough money to pay the bills, much less the things we wanted or needed.  

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#5 of 22 Old 06-11-2013, 05:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by justmama View Post

While I understand the "high income- high debt" thing that leads to being "broke" all the time, it does bother me since my kids and I live below the poverty line.  We scrape for change for toilet paper or dish soap most months and certain people in my life make a very comfortable salary and nickle and dime themselves into the poorhouse and feel the right to complain and tell me that they understand.  It's poor money management really.  And that's okay because everyone has a right to spend their money as they see fit and not everyone was blessed with an upbringing that respected saving but.....don't complain to me when you are buying coffee twice a day plus lunch and driving a brand new vehicle.  Those are CHOICES.  I wasn't raised to be money-savvy either.  It was a trial by fire when I became a suddenly single parent with not enough money to pay the bills, much less the things we wanted or needed.  

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#6 of 22 Old 06-14-2013, 06:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by justmama View Post

While I understand the "high income- high debt" thing that leads to being "broke" all the time, it does bother me since my kids and I live below the poverty line.  We scrape for change for toilet paper or dish soap most months and certain people in my life make a very comfortable salary and nickle and dime themselves into the poorhouse and feel the right to complain and tell me that they understand.  It's poor money management really.  And that's okay because everyone has a right to spend their money as they see fit and not everyone was blessed with an upbringing that respected saving but.....don't complain to me when you are buying coffee twice a day plus lunch and driving a brand new vehicle.  Those are CHOICES.  I wasn't raised to be money-savvy either.  It was a trial by fire when I became a suddenly single parent with not enough money to pay the bills, much less the things we wanted or needed.  

Well said.  

 

I try not to let it bother me but I do feel a bit irked sometimes, especially when people in my family say it to me who know that I'm a single mother of 4 getting no child support and struggling on my own. Sometimes I just want to say "honey, you don't know what broke is!!!".


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#7 of 22 Old 06-14-2013, 09:46 AM
 
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I wouldn't even listen to comparative comments about income. I think it's incredibly rude, especially from someone who is close to you and who supposedly supports and respects you.

 

The only affect that would have on me is to withdraw somewhat from my intimacy with that person, especially for events like eating out or shopping together where money is an obvious aspect, and I would lose some respect for that person. Envy is a quality I despise.

 

Besides, no one except my husband and I know our financial situation, that is private to our marriage.

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#8 of 22 Old 06-14-2013, 07:34 PM
 
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Yes, it drives me insane. My mom cleans house for one guy who complains of being broke, yet he can afford 3 60,000 dollar cars.

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#9 of 22 Old 06-15-2013, 10:14 PM
 
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Mixed feelings here because I am sometimes on the other side. While my income puts me well below the poverty line for my family size, I do have a full time job and a couple other income sources to make it work. I work with families in far worse situations - fighting to get deserved social security or disability payments, TANF or food stamps screwed up and payment is delayed, inability to find housing due to poor credit, etc. I feel guilty to complain about how I run out of gas $ before payday, how will I pay the bills, etc. But my concerns are real, too. On the other hand... One of my dearest childhood friends is feeling financial stress, and looking to get back into the job market after 15 years home with her kids. They live in a million dollar home. She had a major fight with her husband when he went out and bought an airplane without her knowledge. Now I will grant you he should have consulted her. But they had enough in savings to buy a friggin AIRPLANE! I am sorry, but I can't muster too much sympathy for your financial woes. (Relationship issues are another story). She buys all organic everything, her kids participate in every high cost activity you have ever heard of, and they travel all over, all the time. They all dress in the latest, new, name brand everything. I don't begrudge them their lifestyle - if those things were important to me, I imagine I would find a way to afford them. Or maybe if I made as much $ as her DH, I would spend it, too. I just don't understand setting yourself up in a situation that causes so much stress. But I guess that doesn't make her stress any less real to her. My father said the difference between rich and poor is $2. If what you need costs $20, and you only have $19, you are poor. If what you need costs $20, and you have $21, you are rich. And I guess it depends on your definition of need.

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#10 of 22 Old 06-17-2013, 04:20 PM
 
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It's all relative really.  My parents always consider us (DH and me) poor because I SAH and only he brought income.  DH made about average for this area so we were definitely middle class, and because we've always been frugal we probably were doing a lot better than others in the same income range.  But for my parents' circle anything less than 100k a year is poor, 200k a year is acceptable, 300k is enviable.  They're just the type who always complain about something, even if I live a perfectly content life with no debt.


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#11 of 22 Old 06-21-2013, 02:34 PM
 
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On paper we make really good money, but when you see our bills - and not credit card bills mind you, but student loan debt, that's where we are always broke. I have a Master's Degree and DH has a bachelors and we had to put ourselves through school. Couple that with the crazy interest rates that student loans are fetching nowadays, and we seem to always be living paycheck to paycheck. 

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#12 of 22 Old 06-22-2013, 08:34 AM
 
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Never mind.  Going to sit this one out ;-)

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#13 of 22 Old 06-22-2013, 04:09 PM
 
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I am on the other side of this, so I keep my mouth shut about it. I started a 'high income/high debt' thread on this board to talk about concerns more relevant to this lifestyle. Back when I was a pharmacy tech making $8.50 an hour it really irritated me when the pharmacy manager (making 80k or 90k/year) would complain about how broke he was... I thought it was so insensitive. 


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#14 of 22 Old 06-22-2013, 05:05 PM
 
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I tend to stay quiet about it too.  It depends on the person whether I think anything of their comment or not.  I'm aware I'm not privy to other people's financial details.  When I was a kid my parents were rich and I was often judged by my peers as having a lot of money - when in reality, they often had a lot more of it than I did.  (My parents didn't share their money with ME, odd as that sounds.  Yeah, we had a nice house, but I had no spending money, wasn't allowed to work, etc.)  As young adults DH and I were rather poor but we also made poor financial choices at times until we learned to better manage money.  We are now more comfortable but also live moderately frugally, and I know how to make a little go a long way.  My mother annoys me now because she got my father's inheritance (she never worked) and has absolutely squandered it in just a few years with ridiculously poor financial choices and a hoarding problem.  The only other person that has annoyed me with finances was someone who was very condescending about "how little" DH and I lived on (which, I don't think is little at all, even though he had a really high income and ran in those circles, lived in the city where six figures didn't go very far, etc.).  But he had nothing to show for it, whereas DH and I had a house, kids, a paid off car, etc.  Meanwhile this guy was talking about how HE felt sorry for US - whereas he was basically sleeping on our couch because he was in between jobs and had no savings, etc.  Oh well.

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#15 of 22 Old 06-23-2013, 01:00 AM
 
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how much you make is all relative and I need to remind myself that on a daily basis. I do get irritated sometimes when others complain about being broke but talk about the nails they just had done or the newest ipad they plan on buying. but I remind myself it is so easy to spend all your income. I did it for yrs no matter how much I made I would spend it all never had a lot in savings. if anything  was left over at the end of the month it was spent on something I really wanted but didn't need.

the only person that bothers me right now is my mom. who is truely broke and living on a fixed income. she is finally finishing up her payments on her furniture and small loan on a shed she has at her place. so instead of saving for the next purchase at her place she is already talking about taking out an equity loan on the house so she can buy some more land. mind you she is 64 yrs old the house has 27yrs left on the mortgage she has now. The more debt she is in the more stress I feel. Mostly because I don't think her BF helps with these bills and seems to not care about the debt since none is in his name.

She wants to leave this place to me as long a BF can live there. I don't want the place. and told her that. it is a crippling debt I wouldn't ever get out from. :(

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#16 of 22 Old 06-26-2013, 07:32 PM
 
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Yep, drives me nuts, complain they are broke but yet I see them spending thousands on extras that can wait.
 


Seriously?
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#17 of 22 Old 06-26-2013, 10:17 PM
 
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I definitely think it's relative.  It depends on your area, your circle, and your priorities.  We are fortunate enough that steps like driving old cars, cloth diapering, cooking from scratch, buying limited/used clothing & toys let us focus on buying organic produce, for example (but also work to grow our own).

 

Thoughts: 1.)  I think we just live in a complaining culture - the glass is half empty, and people build social relationships around complaining (even if what they are complaining about is trivial and they are completely exaggerating it simply to create community).  Also, there is something confessional in admitting that you are "broke" even (or especially) if it's because you simply can't get a handle on your spending.

 

2.)  Most people buy into consumerism and mainstream ideas about life values.  Most people I have come into contact with are on 2 incomes to afford lavish lifestyles (lots of lattes, pedicures, cars, meals out, multiple homes) - but they perceive this as a "need."  I don't think most realize the breadth of possibilities out there if you are willing to tailor your life to what really makes you happy - how customizable life can be, if you make certain sacrifices (this is the crowd that is "so jealous" that I can be a SAHM - when they easily could, if they only made different choices - but I'm not entirely sure they are even aware of this).

 

3.)  Everything is relative.  We are "broke" by many standards, but we are happy, full of joy and love and gratitude for what we DO have - because so many, right outside our door and in our neighborhood, are getting by on much less.  DH has a good job, we even have health insurance!  We have the luxury of tweaking spending and balancing our priorities, even if it's mostly paycheck to paycheck - we don't have savings, but we also don't have a great deal of debt beyond remaining student loans and a mortgage.  We have major home repairs needed (postponed indefinitely for lack of funds), we get hit by medical bills, but we squeak by somehow.  I call that a raging success, even if we aren't going out for dinner and drinks with everyone else. thumb.gif

 

Perspective matters. 

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#18 of 22 Old 06-29-2013, 08:35 PM
 
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My in laws who make well into the 6 figures- if not 7-complain that they are scraping the bottom of the barrel then two weeks later take a 2 week vacation in Prague then two weeks after that a week in Mexico.  They expect us to drive down the 2 hours to see them all the time when they flew their plane several hours to see my sister in laws and won't do the same for us.  It is absolutely ridiculous to expect us to do all the work and complain about money to someone who easily makes10 x what we do


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#19 of 22 Old 06-29-2013, 11:51 PM
 
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My aunt is like this. It makes me nuts. She just bought a new dodge charger and my uncle a third harley but whines and complains about being broke. ALL OF THE TIME. So annoying,
 

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#20 of 22 Old 06-30-2013, 01:04 AM
 
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I've been on both sides--i used to be married to a fairly wealthy man and i enjoyed massages, lavish trips, nice clothes, dinners at nice restaurants whenever we felt like it. I was spoiled. Now I am divorced from that man, i am with someone who struggles to make money, we barely get by but i am truly happy. I used to think all those massages and vacations were important for happiness but i didnt know what happiness truly meant. I think if you dont know, if you're used to feeling happy from material stuff or expensive trips, its easy to lose sight of whats important. Its like that becomes the focal point of your relationship, your friendships, and your way of life. So when thats the case its very easy to feel "broke" if you cant have everything you want when you want it. Its excessive, i dont really miss living that way, these days i am much more appreciative of the little things and i also value things more. Yes, sometimes i miss being able to go to a day spa whenever i want, but saving up for a massage makes it more satsifying, imo. I dont waste things like i used to, i reuse what i can and i fill my life with truly enjoying the moment, not just waiting for the next exciting thing.
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#21 of 22 Old 06-30-2013, 01:22 AM
 
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I agree that complaining seem to be part of the culture.  It used to annoy me much more as I'm a problem solver and it seems nobody wanted to hear any solutions.  Now I realize people are just trying to de-stress or relate to others and just pretend to listen.  I still have trouble with my own parents complain about money, though.  We all came from very poor background, especially my dad.  The family members are dying of starvation kind of poor.  We were all slightly malnourished as children.  But now their wastefulness (and complaints about money) just astound me.  About half they food they bought are thrown out, and they want the best of everything.  I guess they feel they deserve that after decades of hard work. 

 

i.e. Me - I buy a BBQ chicken, eat it with my family for a meal, then pick off all meat and freeze them for soup later, then I crush the carcass and make a pot of chicken stock.

My parents - buy a BBQ chicken, eat a few bites, put in the fridge, nag each other a few more times about eating it but neither of them ate any more.  Toss it out after a week in the fridge.

 

My mom's mouth was very big when she saw me processing the chicken.  I told her other people here do that too and she didn't believe me. 


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#22 of 22 Old 10-17-2013, 03:45 PM
 
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I think it's very relative. I have a family member whose household income (no debt) is over three times what we make. They can go buy a boat without batting an eyelash. But then they complain their kids don't have socks so they need them for Christmas. eyesroll.gif On paper, dh's salary is "good" but not more than a few dollars above poverty line for our household size. But that's before taxes, union dues, required salary contributions for our state (he teaches and this is mandatory over 8%), etc. And THEN we have student loan debt, etc. When I get child support from my ex, we pay up front for any kids activities, dentistry (required work, that is), etc. so it looks like we have nice things because I prepay on the rare occasions I get CS. I have two kids in Suzuki, but it's a non-profit through a college and really dirt cheap. We can't really afford it, but I have to make sacrifices because I want my kids to have a chance someday with music as a backup to make money since they are gifted. We also got lucky with our house. It's a good neighborhood, but worth less than 1/2 of the neighbors' houses, so people assume we're rich when our mortgage was cheaper than you can imagine. So I try to be understanding, and I'm happy for my friends when they get some good luck and can afford good shoes, and good electronics, and vacations. Because I know the feeling of "spend it while you have it!" since I was raised so poor!

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