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other people’s money

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Does anyone else feel distinctly uncomfortable when other people talk about money?

I don’t mean people making bad money decisions, as much as people that make a lot less money that you do. For example, I earn a reasonable amount of money, pretty much the market rate in a good but not especially lucrative field - there is no way that I will ever make a six figure salary in today’s money. On the other hand I have a friend who makes about 2/3 what I do, he essentially has a wife and four children to support. They are going on holiday today for the first time in years, and that’s only because its costing the �20 per adult to go. I feel so bad.

I forget that I earn a little more than the average wage in the UK because I am still on a low rung of the ladder at work. I hate hearing that people I like don’t make much money because I don’t feel that there is anything I can do about it. I feel bad that I spend so much on junk, or that I have opportunities that are not open to everyone.

Does anyone else feel like this, and if so, what do they do about it?

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8 comments for “other people’s money”

  1. I think if you are better off, and they are receptive, the right thing to do is help them learn more about personal finance and career development - i.e., teach them to fish.

    Posted by Pinyo | August 13, 2007, 1:15 pm
  2. Too be honest, one of the people I have in mind is more or less in a vocation, and doesn’t exactly have career prospects (in monetary terms).

    But I know what you mean Pinyo, I’m always trying to talk about good financial behaviour.

    Posted by plonkee | August 13, 2007, 7:19 pm
  3. Even someone without “career prospects” can learn more about proper money handling and smart financial. Many wealthy individuals started their careers in a vocation and because they were smart with their money, were able to move up in ranks and own their own plumbing service, contracting company, landscaping business, auto body shop, etc.

    Sometimes all it takes is a little financial knowledge and the idea that they can be successful at what they set their mind to.

    Posted by Patrick | August 14, 2007, 1:37 am
  4. I don’t feel bad because I’ve been there myself and made very little money for much of my life. It’s easy to forget what it’s like to have to watch your pennies once you don’t have to anymore, but I think I’d only be uncomfortable around people who earn less than I do if I had always been wealthy and thus couldn’t relate at all to their experience. I occasionally sense resentment from people who earn less than I do, but that’s their problem, not mine. I worked very hard to get where I am (and am still working very hard to stay there, as my job is very demanding), so I feel comfortable in the sense that I’ve earned it.

    Posted by brad | August 14, 2007, 8:30 am
  5. Patrick, I really like your perspective on this.

    Posted by Pinyo | August 14, 2007, 12:51 pm
  6. Folks, you’re right you can make it on any salary - at least well enough to be comfortable. I didn’t mean to imply that someone in a vocation can’t do well for themselves, it was related to the career prospects of this particular individual.

    Posted by plonkee | August 14, 2007, 7:50 pm
  7. Rather than becoming uncomfortable, I usually become eager to help. But at least half the time, my suggestions are rebuffed with “But that wouldn’t work for us” or “I could never do THAT.” Oh well.

    Posted by Chief Family Officer | August 15, 2007, 2:36 am

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