An Uncomfortable Relationship With Wealth

November 4, 2013 at 10:53 AM 5 comments

Cash

I have an uncomfortable relationship with wealth. While I’m proud of the accomplishments my husband and I have reached I don’t want anyone else to know how much money we’ve actually accumulated. I don’t like people, (outside of this blog), to know that I own a beach house and another property that we plan to build a house on one day.

I recently joined a book club and on the way to my first meeting I grabbed the key to my new Toyota Highlander and then contemplated exchanging it for the key to my ’99 Camry. I ended up driving the Highlander, because it was a bit nippy out and I knew the Highlander would heat up a lot faster, but the very fact that I considered trading cars shows just how uncomfortable money makes me.

Society assigns a stigma to those who are wealthy. The rich are often viewed as unsympathetic and uncaring. I suppose at a basic level I don’t want to be associated with either of these characteristics. I don’t want people to think that I’m pompous or conceited. I don’t think more highly of myself because I have money.

I’ve made smart choices with the money I earned, but I also know that being smart in and of itself is a blessing. Living in the United States is a blessing. It certainly didn’t hurt to marry a man who is both smart and hard working. Not everyone is afforded the same opportunities that I have been given and given those opportunities not everyone would learn how to grow and build from them.

I’m not sure when I began to think of money in such a negative light. My grandmother often complains that rich people aren’t compassionate. She tells stories of family members who hoarded their money while she and her parents were suffering through the depression. Perhaps after all of these years her words echo in the back of my head.

My parents did not have a lot of money when I was growing up. Though we certainly lived quite comfortably in a small three bedroom rancher, we knew at times that cash was not abundant. My mom stayed home to raise my brother and I, but she drove a car with a duct taped hood and spent little money on herself. We were probably on par with our neighbors. Give or take a little they probably held similar balances in their bank accounts.

Perhaps at the most basic level my uncomfortable feelings have less to do with money and more to do with fitting in. When I drove off to my first b0ok club meeting I wanted to feel just like everyone else. I didn’t want to be perceived as the ‘girl who has money’ and I didn’t want the fact that I have money to change the way anyone thought about me.

Photo Credit: Basim

Entry filed under: thoughts. Tags: .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Liquid  |  November 4, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    I don’t reveal my income to other people for the same reason. I don’t want to be associated with being wealthy because people judge others who are different from themselves. I think other finance bloggers are in the same boat as you. We value money but don’t feel comfortable talking about our personal finances with coworkers or friends :) Sometimes discretion is necessary if we want to fit in. Sam also wrote a post today about this topic.

    Reply
  • 2. One Frugal Girl  |  November 4, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    Interesting links! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • 3. Newlyweds on a Budget  |  November 4, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    I remember thinking rich people were like a different species when I was growing up. Through a scholarship program, I was able to attend a private high school and everyone there was significantly wealthy in comparison to my family. I was surprised by how “normal” everyone was though. It sounds nutty now, but it was honestly a concern that rich people would be different. Of course, they didn’t consider themselves “rich” bc someone else is always more rich than you. I guess wealth is all relative.

    Reply
  • 4. Blair@LifeDollarsandSense  |  November 6, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    This is a very interesting view. I am still making it in the world….but I can relate to your car comment. If I ever end up with plenty of money I know that I will never drive a flashy, $100K sports car. No way. I will drive something nice but reasonable. I have a lot of respect for individuals that are well off but live fairly average day to day lives. I don’t think your situation should be something to be ashamed of. I went to a private college (scholarship kid) and I never judged my peers for being rich (or poor). I judge them by their character. Money has little to do with who you are as a person. I think that is why I am comfortable talking about it on my blog.

    Reply
    • 5. One Frugal Girl  |  November 6, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      Beautiful comment! I wish everyone in the world though the way you do about a person’s character.

      Reply

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