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#91 of 109 Old 06-20-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

middle class - IMO is when you do not have ANY discretionary money- you only have what you need to cover your living 

 

poor - lower or what every you want to call it - has NOT enough to meet basic living conditions

 

if you have money after you meet your basic needs (food, shelter, transportation to employment) you have wealth--you have money to do beyond the basic needs -

 

 

even the most "poorest" societies have "wealth" - those that meet their needs and have EXTRA


This is in the direction of what I am saying. (typing on iPad, I will be brief and choppy, I'm not trying to sound rude)

I believe that it is jerky -for me- to refer to myself as only middle class because I grew up in genuine poverty and my family is still there. The amount of luxury, ease, and choice in my life is absurd. I will not demean people who are actually doing without by whining about the things I choose not to buy so I can spend my money elsewhere.

This is an issue that is huge for me. Class mobility is something I thing about a lot. I have a very hard time being sympathetic towards people who are in a bad place financially because they made bad decisions. It's an irrational, inappropriate hot button for me. I feel like people wanting to "claim" a lower financial/sociology-economic level than they really deserve is a pity grab. It bothers me. I don't think people are doing it consciously, but I think it is there.

With wealth comes responsibility and I take that seriously. I am on a month long trip. We are hemorrhaging money. Never the less when we go out to eat with my friend, whom we are visiting, we pay. We can afford to and it is only an inconvenience. It means I won't be able to do as many fun things. My friend would have to not buy groceries. That's not a trade off I can ask for because I am rich and she is not. It would be unethical for me to view myself as "only" middle class, so we have to be careful with our money and so she better do it to. Just no. When a different friend was in a horrible car accident and she was on the verge of being homeless I sent her $1000 because that was the difference between her surviving or not. It was honestly very inconvenient for me to do so. I had to give up things I wanted. But I view that as my role in society as a rich person. I help make up the gap for people who are working as absolutely hard as they can but they will never be at my level. I won't demean their struggles by acting like I am in the same boat.

Sorry for the typos, I don't know how to fix them.

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#92 of 109 Old 06-20-2011, 11:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

middle class - IMO is when you do not have ANY discretionary money- you only have what you need to cover your living 

 

poor - lower or what every you want to call it - has NOT enough to meet basic living conditions

 

if you have money after you meet your basic needs (food, shelter, transportation to employment) you have wealth--you have money to do beyond the basic needs -

 

 

even the most "poorest" societies have "wealth" - those that meet their needs and have EXTRA




This is in the direction of what I am saying. (typing on iPad, I will be brief and choppy, I'm not trying to sound rude)

I believe that it is jerky -for me- to refer to myself as only middle class because I grew up in genuine poverty and my family is still there. The amount of luxury, ease, and choice in my life is absurd. I will not demean people who are actually doing without by whining about the things I choose not to buy so I can spend my money elsewhere.

This is an issue that is huge for me. Class mobility is something I thing about a lot. I have a very hard time being sympathetic towards people who are in a bad place financially because they made bad decisions. It's an irrational, inappropriate hot button for me. I feel like people wanting to "claim" a lower financial/sociology-economic level than they really deserve is a pity grab. It bothers me. I don't think people are doing it consciously, but I think it is there.

With wealth comes responsibility and I take that seriously. I am on a month long trip. We are hemorrhaging money. Never the less when we go out to eat with my friend, whom we are visiting, we pay. We can afford to and it is only an inconvenience. It means I won't be able to do as many fun things. My friend would have to not buy groceries. That's not a trade off I can ask for because I am rich and she is not. It would be unethical for me to view myself as "only" middle class, so we have to be careful with our money and so she better do it to. Just no. When a different friend was in a horrible car accident and she was on the verge of being homeless I sent her $1000 because that was the difference between her surviving or not. It was honestly very inconvenient for me to do so. I had to give up things I wanted. But I view that as my role in society as a rich person. I help make up the gap for people who are working as absolutely hard as they can but they will never be at my level. I won't demean their struggles by acting like I am in the same boat.

Sorry for the typos, I don't know how to fix them.


Me too - I grew up in "run out of food by Wednesday" type poverty, and my family is still there. I feel rich now, but objectively that is not true. I feel lucky, and blessed, and grateful. Yes, I feel rich. But in terms of class, I am certainly working class. There is no shame in that, and working class does not necessarily mean absolute poverty - that is just a sub-category of the working class. 

 


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#93 of 109 Old 06-20-2011, 11:56 AM
 
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the poorest dirt farmer in Africa that has 4 cows and the majority of his neighbors have only one is often considered wealthy 

 

you can be middle class - IMO -  and be wealthy but somehow it is hard for some to except and acknowledge

 

 

 

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I have a very hard time being sympathetic towards people who are in a bad place financially because they made bad decisions. 

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#94 of 109 Old 06-20-2011, 12:35 PM
 
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Oh goodness, I don't think there is shame in being working class. I really hope I haven't sounded like I think that. My beef is people who have a lot saying, "but so and so has more so obviously I'm not rich." uhhhh no. Unless you are Bill Gates, there will always be someone who has more. That doesn't necessarily make you not rich. smile.gif

But all of these designations are really pretty useless. smile.gif and in the long run it doesn't matter if you are lower, middle, or upper class in terms of the worth of your personhood. There are crummy rich people who are a total waste of resources and air in my very judgmental opinion. There are destitute people who make the world enormously better. I'm trying to figure out my place in the scheme of things. I have a lot of privilege and I would like to use it for good for as many people as I can. I don't want to be just focused on increasing my net worth, you know? I feel a lot of social responsibility. I, perhaps naively, believe that if more people felt the same way that society as a whole would be improved. To me that includes being realistic about my privilege and not equating my struggles (which do exist) with the struggles of people in a different place in life.

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#95 of 109 Old 06-20-2011, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a very hard time being sympathetic towards people who are in a bad place financially because they made bad decisions.
 
...It would be unethical for me to view myself as "only" middle class, so we have to be careful with our money and so she better do it to. Just no. When a different friend was in a horrible car accident and she was on the verge of being homeless I sent her $1000 because that was the difference between her surviving or not.


but almost every one makes a bad decision from time to time. How our lives are working out at any given moment is a weird combination of our choices and our luck. I've made bad decisions that ended up having a fairly minor role in my overall life, but I don't feel that I've been so perfect as to look down on people whose bad decisions had a larger impact on their life.

 

I think most people are doing the best they can with the information and understanding they have. None of us are perfect. Some people's mistakes are more obvious to the outside world, other people hide their mistakes better. I see myself in those who are struggling -- I see different ways my life could have played out. I don't think I'm better than someone who made a different mistake. Because of my childhood, I so easily could have ended up as a homeless woman with children fleeing an abusive relationship. That would have been statistically more probable for me than being happily married and living in the burbs.

 

I don't agree that someone seeing themselves as "only" middle class means that they can't/don't give to others. A tremendous amount of the goods and money given to charities (or to friends and family) comes from working class and middle class homes. Many volunteer hours are given every year by people who don't have much to offer other than their time.

 

I think I've managed to be nearly every social class at some point in this life time (except rich!) and even when I was barely getting by serving beer while going to college, I still found time in my schedule to spend one afternoon a week volunteering with children who had been abused. I ALWAYS felt I had something to offer and that the ethical path was to give what I could, even when buying groceries was difficult.

 

Some years back, my DH and I decided that we wouldn't sell things when we were done with them -- we would only give them away. We didn't need money from people who made less than us when we were ready to get new things. It has led to an amazing array of experiences and conversations. We just put it out them to the universe to get our old things to whoever needs them, and trust that the universe will return that energy to us in a form more valuable than money.

 

But we don't consider ourselves rich. We consider ourselves fortunate to have enough to be generous, sometimes even with strangers.

 

My DH and I are in our 40's now, and we are comfortable. It's been through a combination of hard work and luck. Time really helps -- I suspect that a lot more families are comfortable in their 40's than in their 20's. Good choices gradually build on each other. But we've made mistakes along the way, too. We've done some stupid things and learned from them.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#96 of 109 Old 06-20-2011, 01:28 PM
 
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It is absolutely true that everyone makes mistakes. There is a big difference between making a mistake and making a bad decision, to me.

At this point I will say that my nasty judgmentalism is pretty much entirely reserved for my family. And given my relationship with them I'm allowed to be as hostile about their choices as I want to be. Pretty much everyone else gets a pass because I am aware I will never really know their story.

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#97 of 109 Old 06-20-2011, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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At this point I will say that my nasty judgmentalism is pretty much entirely reserved for my family. And given my relationship with them I'm allowed to be as hostile about their choices as I want to be.


 

ROTFLMAO.gif  that's so funny!!!  Money is very important to my family of orgin and everyone has it. Most of them have more of it than my DH and I do. However, they are really, deeply crazy and refuse to get help for their mental health issues.

 

Being happy, kind, or sane aren't high on their goals.

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#98 of 109 Old 06-20-2011, 01:37 PM
 
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Dude, my mom called me the night before a major surgery to say, "oh by the way, I have to have this surgery tomorrow and I can't pay for it so you have to give me money" even though it had been scheduled for weeks. Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part. orngtongue.gif I don't know where she got the money and I don't really care.

So, yeah. hot buttons!

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#99 of 109 Old 06-21-2011, 08:16 AM
 
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Try to remember that not everyone has the option to plan financially. There are those who have absolutely nothing leftover after bills, who have already cut every extra expense possible. Young people, also, have had much less time to plan and to carry out their plans for financial success. There are many situations where people could plan, and fail to do so, and I do agree with holding people accountable. But I like to cut people a little slack, because everyone makes mistakes. Things don't always go according to our plans. Even the best laid plans can fall through. Sometimes things happen that you just don't think to plan for. I'm sure there are many things that could happen to everyone posting on this thread that we each may have never considered before.


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#100 of 109 Old 06-22-2011, 03:19 PM
 
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Sorry, my quote wasn't working...

"This is an issue that is huge for me. Class mobility is something I thing about a lot. I have a very hard time being sympathetic towards people who are in a bad place financially because they made bad decisions. It's an irrational, inappropriate hot button for me. I feel like people wanting to "claim" a lower financial/sociology-economic level than they really deserve is a pity grab. It bothers me. I don't think people are doing it consciously, but I think it is there."

Well, I consider us to be money-poor. We live on about 17K a year for a family of four. If we didn't shop at thrift stores, we couldn't afford clothes. I have worn the same pair of sandals for the past 17 years. We make our bills but can't afford health insurance. There are no splurges in our lifestyle. We eat healthy foods because we grow a lot ourselves. We qualify for some reduced cost programs, like joining the Y for practically free.

But I don't feel... I dunno. Deprived. The library and Internet keep me more than entertained. I am creative. We have two reasonably healthy kids. I have really cheap hobbies. I make a lot of handmade toys for the kids, I knit, we do puzzles together. I am a read-a-holic as are the kids. We do art together. All this stuff can be really, really cheap. We don't do camps in the summer but I'm home with them to do stuff with them.

Are there certain things we miss out on? Yes. Proper dental care, that would be nice. Or proper health insurance. Or vacations. I miss vacations.

When I was a kid we used to take thrice yearly trips to everywhere, Europe, the Caribbean, all around the U.S. But what's funny is that my family growing up was really rich. My father would go off on shopping sprees and buy thousands of dollars worth of shoes and belts, or buy my mom closets and closets of clothes and jewelry and opera tickets. But they never once sent me to camp or bought me electronic games. They had three luxury cars at the time and only my dad drove. He also had a chauffeur. They said that after school activities and sports would cost too much, so I never got to do a single one growing up, even though that was unheard of in my town. We had like a 5000 square foot house in the CT suburbs, a huge apartment in Manhattan, and a summer cabin as well. When I was sick they didn't take me to the doctor because they didn't bother paying for health insurance for me.

They always told me that they weren't wealthy. Are you kidding me? My mom still attests to the fact that they were just average. Mmmph. A LOT of rich people think they're "just average" imo...

On the other hand, we might be seen as totally poor by American standards nowadays but we are very well off compared to the rest of the world. I have an education and I think that counts for a LOT. We are time-wealthy. We have two gorgeous kids. We have a kitty. I am happier now than I ever was growing up, even with our huge house and whatever.

As for the OP's question.. I think reasonably wealthy would be about 70-75 K in an average cost of living area. Adjust according to your local cost of living. Then again, with inflation... well, it's all mostly relative, isn't it? Everyone struggles, I think, except the truly wealthy, who don't really care what the prices of things went up. But everyone else is having a harder time meeting ends meet. So, I think the income limit is about the same even in this age of recession etc.

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#101 of 109 Old 06-23-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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When I was a kid we used to take thrice yearly trips to everywhere, Europe, the Caribbean, all around the U.S. But what's funny is that my family growing up was really rich. My father would go off on shopping sprees and buy thousands of dollars worth of shoes and belts, or buy my mom closets and closets of clothes and jewelry and opera tickets. But they never once sent me to camp or bought me electronic games. They had three luxury cars at the time and only my dad drove. He also had a chauffeur. They said that after school activities and sports would cost too much, so I never got to do a single one growing up, even though that was unheard of in my town. We had like a 5000 square foot house in the CT suburbs, a huge apartment in Manhattan, and a summer cabin as well. When I was sick they didn't take me to the doctor because they didn't bother paying for health insurance for me.
 
I'm not sure what to say, but I couldn't read that and not say anything. I find that really disturbing, and more than a little messed up. I don't know what kind of relationship you have with your parents these days, but they sound appallingly self-centered and selfish. I'm sorry they treated you as such a low priority when you were growing up.

They always told me that they weren't wealthy. Are you kidding me? My mom still attests to the fact that they were just average. Mmmph. A LOT of rich people think they're "just average" imo...

I haven't really run across that, but it sounds really frustrating to listen to.
 
I honestly don't know where we'd fit in. DH makes slightly more than the median household income for our region. We're a single income family, so we only have the work-related costs for one person (but we also pay more tax than if we had the same income from two earners). We don't have to pay childcare. OTOH, most of the numbers I've seen for families are based on a family of four, and we're a family of six. I suspect we come in pretty close to average, overall. But, except for not being able to buy a house (housing prices in the Vancouver area are truly insane), I think we've got it pretty easy. We're definitely better off than my family was when I was growing up. We weren't poor - my parents owned a house (admittedly, it was more of a shack), but housing prices were much, much lower, even allowing for inflation, back then. But, dh and I eat better than we did (mom cooked from scratch, and had a vegetable garden, so we ate a reasonably healthy diet, but we didn't have anywhere near the variety that dh and I have...and we ate a lot of ground beef). We have more money for activities for the kids than my parents had, and that's a high priority item for us, as we're homeschooling, and want them to able to see and try a lot of different things. We don't eat out or get pizza all that often, but more often than my parents did (we ate out a few times a year, mostly because mom and dad wanted us to learn how to behave in a restaurant). We're certainly quite comfortable, wherever we'd fit into a graph of "wealth"...but we also don't have much in savings, and our savings rate isn't as high as it should be.

 


 

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#102 of 109 Old 06-23-2011, 01:53 PM
 
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Funny story: my dad is so far to the right and I am such a flaming liberal that we don't even argue. We know there is such a huge sea of difference between us that why should we even bother, we can never meet. But growing up, he always said the funniest things: "It's a democracy, and I have 51% of the vote." And my favorite "You are such a liberal, but wait until you make over 100k a year, then even you will be a republican." What did he think, that I would just flip all my political and social beliefs based on my income? This still makes me laugh.

 

I would consider myself wealthy. And privileged. And having the luxury to say "I can't quit my job even though I hate it." Because reality is that it is not that I can't quit my job, it is that I won't. I want to live in the house we live in, in this neighborhood, I want to be able to redo my kitchen, I want to be able to go on vacation, and to be frank, I am so independent I don't want to heap all the financial responsibility on DH. But it isn't true that I can't quit, and trying to convince myself otherwise would just be dishonest. We would not go hungry, our kitchen from 74 looks totally out of date but there is very little actually wrong with it... These are all extras, and that means that I am privileged.

 

And it also bugs me when people with money are dishonest with themselves, saying "I can't do ABC or by XYZ" when in reality it is that they don't because they prioritize other items. I think it is totally fair for everyone to prioritize however they want. But then own up to it,as a choice.   

 

ITA with the PP who said many rich people call themselves upper-middle-class. Or upper-socio-ecconomic class. Or whatever. Though class often has very little to do with class. 

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#103 of 109 Old 06-23-2011, 07:45 PM
 
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I think the definitions of wealthy, rich, middle class, etc. can vary widely from person to person.
To me, the definition of rich is having enough investments/assets or net worth to not have to work, yet still live comfortably. IMO, if you must work, you are not rich.
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#104 of 109 Old 06-24-2011, 05:14 AM
 
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Storm Bridge:

Well, the relationship with my father was pretty sketchy. He said he would pay for my grad school like he did for my other sisters (that they never even told me I had until I was 18) but after I got accepted and couldn't change the private pay option he said he'd only do it if I broke up with my boyfriend (now husband). I refused; he cut me off and wouldn't speak to me again. He died a few years later and he left my mom five million and left me $10. That I'll get when I turn 35.

So that's about that.

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#105 of 109 Old 06-24-2011, 05:30 AM
 
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Storm Bridge:

Well, the relationship with my father was pretty sketchy. He said he would pay for my grad school like he did for my other sisters (that they never even told me I had until I was 18) but after I got accepted and couldn't change the private pay option he said he'd only do it if I broke up with my boyfriend (now husband). I refused; he cut me off and wouldn't speak to me again. He died a few years later and he left my mom five million and left me $10. That I'll get when I turn 35.

So that's about that.


I don't suppose you need anyone to tell you that is M.E.S.S.E.D. up. Mind games are so not worth it. Not even worth 5 million. For sure. Money, even given "free and clear" often has HUGE unwritten strings attached, if given by the wrong person. Even by the right person. I once owed 4000 dollars to my parents, which is very little but was a lot for me when I was so young. And they are kind, loving people, but there were still some subtle unwritten stings attachd to that debt I owed. I can not express the freedom and independence and relief I had paying it off. I have never owed anyone a penny since. I would rather (and have) eaten cold leftover soup for a week and be slighly hungry, than have someone be able to mess with my head over something like money. OK, that's my issue, and I can see I am getting off track. Just wanted to send you hugs seawitch. Also, I don't think a will like that would be valid - leaving someone 10 bucks when they are 35. But anyway, seems to me it was a favor he did, not speaking to you. You don't need that degree of disease in your life.
 

 

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#106 of 109 Old 06-24-2011, 05:37 AM
 
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I know. Well, the will was perfectly valid, but I suppose I could have contested it. My mom ended up giving me some money anyway as a consolation prize or whatever but she was basically in control of how it was spent - which was basically on the grandkids. Whatever, that was fine, at least my kids got some nice things.

I think the way I "rebelled" against that kind of upbringing was to (subconsciously) not put much worth in money. He tried to use money to control us and I just didn't care to play into that. So I cultivated other sorts of wealth than money. Time wealth, self-sustainability, frugality, etc. Family togetherness. None of which he put much value on. Looking back I think I kind of self-defeated myself a few times when I could have been making more money. Now that I'm almost 30 I'm just now starting to seriously get some perspective on it. Their attitude towards money was unhealthy, but totally shunning money is not healthy either.

ETA: There were all sorts of other unhealthy things going on in our relationship. For example he tried over and over again to go into my teachers to tell them that I cheated/forged a paper when I never would have dreamed of it. In high school it worked. He tried to do it in college too but my professor there straight up told him to get out of his classroom because he knew I was in attendance when I said I was, etc. But in high school I got in tons of trouble. And I never, ever did anything like cheating or anything. Hell, when I graduated from college with a 3.8 GPA he said I had forged the diploma and he refused to believe I graduated. (Though I wonder if that had to do with the fact that he promised me a car and one of the many family apartments if I graduated, and of course never got.) Or they'd take my whole extended family on a cruise to the Caribbean but they wouldn't even tell me about their plans to do that until they needed me to take my spring break off to come house-sit for them while they were gone. Etc.

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#107 of 109 Old 06-24-2011, 05:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by seawitch View Post
I think the way I "rebelled" against that kind of upbringing was to (subconsciously) not put much worth in money. He tried to use money to control us and I just didn't care to play into that. So I cultivated other sorts of wealth than money. Time wealth, self-sustainability, frugality, etc. Family togetherness. None of which he put much value on. Looking back I think I kind of self-defeated myself a few times when I could have been making more money. Now that I'm almost 30 I'm just now starting to seriously get some perspective on it. Their attitude towards money was unhealthy, but totally shunning money is not healthy either.

It is so strange to me to read a 'stranger's' post as if she had written it for me. can so relate to your attitude towards money. HOwever i wasnt disinherited. i just moved countries where my assessts werent worth much. When I went back to visit, my uncle who lives in a world of his own and rarely is aware of what is going on commented on my parenting and my relationship with my dd.

 

however i will say 'shunning' money gave me the courage to do what i love. the field i am going into, the path i have chosen i would have never been able to do if i didnt 'shun' money. i really feel i understand the 'worth' of money. i see it for what it is. paper. yes you do need a certain amount. but abject poverty and being super rich in my humble opinion is the same 'curse'. it looks different. its just different sides of the same coin. 

 

so yes i too have 'cultivated' other sorts of wealth (dont think i did it consciously though) and my life now without money is far richer than my life with money ever was. 

 

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#108 of 109 Old 06-24-2011, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for sharing your stories!

 

My family of origin was crazy and abusive, and although they lacked they wealth that some of your families had, money and status symbols were VERY important to them. (They just weren't as successful with it was your families!) Reading about your experiences is helping to clarify some of my own attitudes towards money and success. 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#109 of 109 Old 06-24-2011, 11:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seawitch View Post

Storm Bridge:

Well, the relationship with my father was pretty sketchy. He said he would pay for my grad school like he did for my other sisters (that they never even told me I had until I was 18) but after I got accepted and couldn't change the private pay option he said he'd only do it if I broke up with my boyfriend (now husband). I refused; he cut me off and wouldn't speak to me again. He died a few years later and he left my mom five million and left me $10. That I'll get when I turn 35.

So that's about that.

 

Umm...wow. I thought my grandmother was bad (actually - she was!) at the whole trying to control people through money thing. Your dad is something else again. (And, seriously - he left your mom $5 million, and she says they were "just average"???) That's seriously messed up.

 

I did something similar to you, actually. I think it was partly my upbringing, because my parents were people who just didn't care that much about money. (My mom has worked hard to build wealth, in the form of real estate, but that was a security thing - there was never any emphasis on having money or on spending money, yk?) But, I also consciously chose at an early age not to allow myself to be "bought" - and it drove my grandma crazy. My brother and sister both, in different ways, fell into the web, and I can still see the effects of it...and grandma died 21 or 22 years ago.
 

 


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