It’s All Relative

Do you have any friends that ever complain that they “never have any money” and are “so broke”, but you know they make more money than you do?

I do. It’s annoying.

On one hand, I want to “sympathize” with them, but then I think to myself, If I had that salary, I’d be rich and pay off my debt easily.

It never ceases to amaze me that I know people making 40, 60, even 100k a year and they “have no money”. It really bothers me being around these people, because when they talk like that it’s as if they have no self-awareness and are oblivious to the fact that I make WAY less than that. How does that make me feel? If you are broke and have no money, then I’m royally screwed! Shall I give up now?

Of course, we all know in the personal finance world, people that are making those salaries and “have no money” are clearly just not budgeting and tracking expenses. I hear it in their exasperated tones, I just don’t know where it all goes or everything adds up.

Yes, it does. But it’s also a simple mathematical equation. Spend less than you make. Save money. Find out what is really important to you.  The wrench in all this is these tricky things called emotions and lifestyle. People are not born with these ideas about money, they adapt into them.  Family upbringing, friends, school, and many other things influence our ideas about money.

Most of the above problems are caused by one of the following:

Lifestyle leap: An increase in pay suddenly calls for a drastic shift in lifestyle.  A person’s lifestyle has surpassed what their income can afford.

Lifestyle creep: An increase in pay slowly, over time changes a person’s lifestyle. Going out becomes more frequent, drinks every night common, upgrading to a larger place, etc. Suddenly these things are normalized.

Lifestyle deep (in shit): There was never an increase in pay, if there was pay to begin with. A mindset of “keeping up with Jones’” is always at play. Nothing is out of reach. What’s a budget? Why not buy something you can pay for later?

I am sure all of us have been guilty of these things, to an extent. It makes total sense. We live in a society where money means a lot. Money means privilege, freedom, class, power, and more.  People with money make the decisions for people without money. People without money are undoubtedly working for people with money. It’s a sick game.

Although I complain about my wealthier friends, I have no reason to complain myself. On a global perspective, I am rich. The United States is one of the richest nations in the world and comparatively speaking, we are doing just fine.

I think everyone can use some perspective and privilege checking….because in the end, it’s all relative.

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One response to “It’s All Relative

  1. Every new place we rent seems to be more expensive that the last. I’m hoping we can keep renting this place for a number of years so we can finally keep our housing costs level for a while.

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