PDA

View Full Version : Conversation about money



chrissieq
9-7-11, 10:38pm
A co-worker today asked me about my family and if some compared themselves to others - money-wise - and how I felt about that. Basically she felt that her sisters lorded it over her that they had more money, bigger houses, fancier vacations, etc. I kind of danced around the topic feeling like she wanted to talk and not necessarily looking for my experience.

In retrospect, I wish I would have asked her if she was comfortable where she is in life (and truly she has traveled a lot, has a newer car, both she and her husband work good jobs). My guess is that this will be an on-going conversation and I can raise these thoughts. What it comes down to, for me, is that if you are satisfied with what you earn, spend, and give away - who cares what your sister or whoever thinks?!

redfox
9-7-11, 11:22pm
What a fabulous opening to refer her to the book Your Money or Your Life!

Zigzagman
9-8-11, 1:22am
Your question about money and materialism is indeed the question that probably drew most of us to this Simple Living forum. It is such a good description of what has happening to so many people that are caught up in the wage slave type of life that has come to define our Western culture.

Being overly materialistic, or overly concerned with financial success are all associated with lowered well-being.

Welcome to the forum!

Peace

ctg492
9-8-11, 6:57am
It can be hard for someone to feel somehow they have less then a family member. My mom has suffered from that for years and she is 80. The 'Oh my friend has a big beautiful car/house/clothes' feelings her entire life. It will never change.

Marianne
9-8-11, 8:18am
Comparing ourselves to others is one of the worst things we do. There's always someone with more 'stuff'. I agree with the other posters, most of those people won't change. Their 'stuff' defines them. Lack of 'stuff' with a constant smile also defines who we are. :o)

Rosemary
9-8-11, 9:28am
Not everyone *wants* a huge house, a more expensive car, a fancier vacation. However, having a family member who goes in for all that stuff, I know it can be difficult to deal with, because people who make those choices may not understand that someone might not want to spend all their time cleaning, use more gas than is necessary, or spend retirement/college money on vacations when there is plenty to see closer to home. I think it's good for people to know what they actually want and what makes them happy, because probably those things aren't the answer anyway.

Bastelmutti
9-8-11, 10:15am
Comparing ourselves to others is one of the worst things we do. There's always someone with more 'stuff'. I agree with the other posters, most of those people won't change. Their 'stuff' defines them. Lack of 'stuff' with a constant smile also defines who we are. :o)

I agree, but it can be hard to be surrounded by people who have significantly higher incomes - and not just due to "stuff." I have realized from offhand comments that most people either in my family or circle of friends earn about twice what DH and I do. While we are happy with our life choices - travel, stay-at-home parenting, freelance work, education - I do sometimes envy the people around me who clearly will have nice, paid-for homes, sometimes also a summer home, plus a comfortable, secure retirement. It's more the security and comfort that I envy, not the actual home or car or whatever.

puglogic
9-8-11, 5:41pm
I envy only the security aspect of that lifestyle -- but then again, at least in the U.S., many of the people flaunting new BMWs and mega-mansions are simply floating on a sea of debt to have them. It's an illusion in many ways.

I do envy people who have paid off their mortgages, or will soon. It makes me want to work harder, smarter, differently, so that I can do the same.

But I used to be a person who was jealous of people who had more --- and I DID change. So it's possible....with a little education and some inner work to learn what's really important, what really makes us happy. What a wonderful opportunity to help this person explore her true desires, chrissieq (gently and over time, of course)

Spartana
9-9-11, 6:00pm
at least in the U.S., many of the people flaunting new BMWs and mega-mansions are simply floating on a sea of debt to have them. It's an illusion in many ways.



So true! Almost everyone I know who has lots of stuff - especially luxury stuff like big houses and fancy cars - are deep deep in debt. They are tied to a job that may vanish at any moment and haven't saved a penny to support themselves if they lose that job. The lifestyle IS an illussion. I am much more envious of a person who has a tiny hovel and rides their bike everywhere and pinches their pennys but is free from any financial debts or obligations - and free to live life on their own terms rather than be part of the consumer rat race. As for the OP, I would use your co-workers desire to discuss finances as an opening to discuss simple frugal living.

RosieTR
9-11-11, 12:25am
Yeah, listening at first is a good opening. Just share tidbits on your own experience as the conversation warrants, maybe mention YMOYL or other books if it seems warranted. Good for you for being a good friend and hopefully you and she will have some more interesting conversations down the line. I know for myself that increasing earnings has (for me) generally meant decreasing happiness, and not necessarily a greater feeling of security or purpose. But other people may be different and that's fine. Everyone has a different road, and sometimes it's easy to get jealous of others' fortune. However, they may come into hardship later or have been through hardship before. At least, this is what I try to think about when I get jealous, and it sometimes works :-)

jp1
9-11-11, 12:08pm
Not everyone *wants* a huge house, a more expensive car, a fancier vacation. However, having a family member who goes in for all that stuff, I know it can be difficult to deal with, because people who make those choices may not understand that someone might not want to spend all their time cleaning, use more gas than is necessary, or spend retirement/college money on vacations when there is plenty to see closer to home. I think it's good for people to know what they actually want and what makes them happy, because probably those things aren't the answer anyway.

I think in some cases it's not just that the "stuff" person doesn't understand the "non-stuff" person. It's that the "stuff" person is used to other people validating them because of their stuff. So when a "non-stuff" person is not suitably impressed with all their stuff the "stuff" person isn't happy.

Marianne
9-11-11, 1:07pm
I agree, but it can be hard to be surrounded by people who have significantly higher incomes - and not just due to "stuff." I have realized from offhand comments that most people either in my family or circle of friends earn about twice what DH and I do. While we are happy with our life choices - travel, stay-at-home parenting, freelance work, education - I do sometimes envy the people around me who clearly will have nice, paid-for homes, sometimes also a summer home, plus a comfortable, secure retirement. It's more the security and comfort that I envy, not the actual home or car or whatever.

I truly understand. I also am pretty comfortable with where I am right now. I can't explain my feelings when I'm in a group that are talking about everything they have, then there's the 'oh, you poor dear' attitude towards my chosen lifestyle.