How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

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InvestingGeek
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How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by InvestingGeek » Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:56 pm

Hi,

I'm fully bought into the idea of living within my means. I have a decent amount of money invested. Own a reasonably sized house for our family and no one really knows how much I make or have saved up since we don't live ostentatiously.

My problem is with relatives and wider family members snickering or making snide/subtle comparisons about how much better they are doing. Or how much smarter my brother is in their eyes because he's seemingly done so much better than I have.

There's constant comments about how my brother-in-law's house is so much bigger. How "some people's" (subtext: ours) foyers are so narrow you can't even put your shoes on comfortably. How it's "amazing" that one brother's always been so much smarter and now lives the high life in California while the other guy (me), the poor fellow, is stuck in the midwest living a grunt's life.

I know I shouldn't care and I personally don't. But I can see these comments make my wife and kids feel small. If I wanted, I too could move to California, buy a giant house and live the rich life. But it would mean liquidating my savings, having my wife work, and seeing my kids less. It would fix the relatives problem, shut people's mouths, make my kids happy but would derail our entire financial plan.

Any ideas on how you guys deal with this or fix? I know I shouldn't worry about keeping up appearances or impressing people, but when I see how these comments make my family feel, I feel I should do something but I can't think of what.

John Doe 123
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by John Doe 123 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:05 pm

Spend less time around toxic/superficial people would be my suggestion.

Goal33
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by Goal33 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:12 pm

My brother-in-law still lives at home with my in-laws. We live the high life in California, are generous, and save a lot. We still get snark. You can’t escape it.
A man with one watch always knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never sure.

livesoft
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by livesoft » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:16 pm

I guess I would embrace it and ask for money from them to help me out. In reality, I don't mind looking bad, so what you wrote about would not bother me one bit.

I guess that's not advice you can use.
Last edited by livesoft on Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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AlohaJoe
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by AlohaJoe » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:16 pm

John Doe 123 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:05 pm
Spend less time around toxic/superficial people would be my suggestion.
Yep. People like that will always find something to complain about. You certainly aren't going to be able to "reason" with them in any way. Even if you matched your brother-in-law's house then they'd starting saying how you're house isn't as nice as their neighbor/cousin/co-worker/whatever.

The more time you spend around them, the more your children will learn behaviours and values from them. Is that something you want?

MrBobcat
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by MrBobcat » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:17 pm

He who laughs last laughs best.

SR II
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by SR II » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:18 pm

Retire early and snicker all the way to the bank!

fourwaystreet
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by fourwaystreet » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:20 pm

You will get the last laugh when you retire years ahead of your brother.
When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.

TG2
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by TG2 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:20 pm

I would suggest that your wife and kids should already know what your values are, and that you do not prioritize superficial things. As for extended family members, who cares? They apparently don't know you, and don't seem the type where it creates value for you to know them. When they comment, just flash a little smile but don't feel any need to defend yourself. When you are retired early while they are still working at 67, you can say something then...if you want.

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FGal
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by FGal » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:22 pm

It's not about keeping up or anything. Your friends/family that do this are jerks. You recognize this, but instead of addressing the nasty snide behavior, you feel the need to ignore and let them keep making nasty rude remarks. So either laugh it off and make it a joke or nicely and firmly call them out for being a jerk and tell them to stop it. In psychological circles it's called "the missing stair" where people just avoid making the jerk/abuser stop being a jerk/abuser and expect EVERYONE ELSE to work around the jerk/abuser's terrible behavior, because it's easier to shame/guilt others into bending over backwards rather than fix the actual problem.



So what to do? You set boundaries, and follow up on sticking to them by calling a jerk a jerk (nicely, but firmly).

So for example:

Jerk 1: Oh my god, I don't know how some people can even deal with living in such a tiny house! It must be so sad for them to be so poor!
You: Are you implying that my family is poor or sad for living in a small house? Because we're just fine, thanks and perfectly happy with what we have. It makes me really sad that you feel the need to belittle our family because we choose to live the way we choose, even if you don't like it.

Jerk 2: You must be so jealous of your fancy brother and his California house and fancy life! Too bad you are stuck forever in this terrible place!
You: I'm not jealous of him, I'm happy if he's happy. I don't know why you think showing ostentatious signs of wealth translate into how well someone is doing. Sounds to me like you are trying to stir up bad feelings or make me feel bad? Why would you say those things otherwise?

Or to just laugh it off:

Jerk 3: I can't even breath in this tiny foyer! How can you even put shoes on in here!
You (laughing at person) oh we just do without shoes! We're so poor we don't even know what shoes are! You must be rolling in the dough to afford ACTUAL SHOES!

Or just plain call them out EVER SINGLE TIME THEY SAY SOMETHING RUDE/SNIDE:

Jerk 4: Too bad some people can't afford nicer things like brothername...
You: what are you trying to say, JerkName?
Or: )with deadpan stare or raised eyebrow if you're good at that) What an incredibly rude thing to say. (changes subject)


But really, call them out, either with good-natured humor or with sincerity if maybe they don't realize that they're being jerks. And if they persist? Then stop inviting over/visiting with jerks.

If they start in on you, you suddenly notice it's time to go, or you mention that the Rude-e-o is apparently back in town and you've already been there enough to last a lifetime, or just plain tell them that it's rude and hurtful to make snide and belitting comments about how well someone else is doing with the intent to put others (like you and your family) down, and you're done for this visit unless they can find a way to apologize and not do it again, and do make sure to explain they'll likely see much less of you since you don't need negativity and judgemental rudeness in your life.

Don't have to be rude yourself, you just need to set some firm boundaries and then stick to them and make sure to not allow others to cross them without consequences (your leaving/ending convos/removing the jerks from your house).
Last edited by FGal on Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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donall
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by donall » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:23 pm

I’d feel lucky because they will not ask you for money.

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Raymond
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by Raymond » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:59 pm

donall wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:23 pm
I’d feel lucky because they will not ask you for money.
OP: "Go ask my brother for a loan, I don't have a dime."

I'd just stop seeing these nasty people - who cares if they're your relatives?

Tell your wife and kids you love them, and keep on keeping on :happy
"Ritter, Tod und Teufel"

Gnirk
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by Gnirk » Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:33 am

Stay away from your toxic relatives, or at least spend as little time as possible with them.

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LilyFleur
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by LilyFleur » Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:38 am

Your relatives are not very nice to you.

It doesn't mean you look bad. They look bad because they are unkind, mean people.

Best to minimize the amount of time your wife and children spend with them. I would not want my children emulating that type of behavior.

And you dealt with it very well by posting here: we know you are doing a good job managing your money and your life!!!

:sharebeer

123
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by 123 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:47 am

John Doe 123 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:05 pm
Spend less time around toxic/superficial people would be my suggestion.
+1 This really may be the best solution. It's passive-aggressive but it works. Once people get some strange idea or perception in their head they are unlikely to change it. Minimize contact with the toxic/superficial people and seek out kindred spirits for activities. If they ask why you aren't able to join them at a particular time just say "We can't come. We've got special plans at the library that day". Sure they will still talk among themselves but you won't have to listen to it.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

bstewie
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by bstewie » Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:34 am

OP, live life as you see fit. Retirement funds, houses, and third party commentary are not an indication of personal fulfillment and success.

mcraepat9
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by mcraepat9 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:52 am

InvestingGeek wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:56 pm
Hi,

I'm fully bought into the idea of living within my means. I have a decent amount of money invested. Own a reasonably sized house for our family and no one really knows how much I make or have saved up since we don't live ostentatiously.

My problem is with relatives and wider family members snickering or making snide/subtle comparisons about how much better they are doing. Or how much smarter my brother is in their eyes because he's seemingly done so much better than I have.

There's constant comments about how my brother-in-law's house is so much bigger. How "some people's" (subtext: ours) foyers are so narrow you can't even put your shoes on comfortably. How it's "amazing" that one brother's always been so much smarter and now lives the high life in California while the other guy (me), the poor fellow, is stuck in the midwest living a grunt's life.

I know I shouldn't care and I personally don't. But I can see these comments make my wife and kids feel small. If I wanted, I too could move to California, buy a giant house and live the rich life. But it would mean liquidating my savings, having my wife work, and seeing my kids less. It would fix the relatives problem, shut people's mouths, make my kids happy but would derail our entire financial plan.

Any ideas on how you guys deal with this or fix? I know I shouldn't worry about keeping up appearances or impressing people, but when I see how these comments make my family feel, I feel I should do something but I can't think of what.
You do you. Your financial plan works for you. Just don't engage with these toxic people. If this topic comes up, change the subject.
Amateur investors are not cool-headed logicians.

Workinprogress
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by Workinprogress » Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:17 am

FGal wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:22 pm
It's not about keeping up or anything. Your friends/family that do this are jerks. You recognize this, but instead of addressing the nasty snide behavior, you feel the need to ignore and let them keep making nasty rude remarks. So either laugh it off and make it a joke or nicely and firmly call them out for being a jerk and tell them to stop it. In psychological circles it's called "the missing stair" where people just avoid making the jerk/abuser stop being a jerk/abuser and expect EVERYONE ELSE to work around the jerk/abuser's terrible behavior, because it's easier to shame/guilt others into bending over backwards rather than fix the actual problem.



So what to do? You set boundaries, and follow up on sticking to them by calling a jerk a jerk (nicely, but firmly).

So for example:

Jerk 1: Oh my god, I don't know how some people can even deal with living in such a tiny house! It must be so sad for them to be so poor!
You: Are you implying that my family is poor or sad for living in a small house? Because we're just fine, thanks and perfectly happy with what we have. It makes me really sad that you feel the need to belittle our family because we choose to live the way we choose, even if you don't like it.

Jerk 2: You must be so jealous of your fancy brother and his California house and fancy life! Too bad you are stuck forever in this terrible place!
You: I'm not jealous of him, I'm happy if he's happy. I don't know why you think showing ostentatious signs of wealth translate into how well someone is doing. Sounds to me like you are trying to stir up bad feelings or make me feel bad? Why would you say those things otherwise?

Or to just laugh it off:

Jerk 3: I can't even breath in this tiny foyer! How can you even put shoes on in here!
You (laughing at person) oh we just do without shoes! We're so poor we don't even know what shoes are! You must be rolling in the dough to afford ACTUAL SHOES!

Or just plain call them out EVER SINGLE TIME THEY SAY SOMETHING RUDE/SNIDE:

Jerk 4: Too bad some people can't afford nicer things like brothername...
You: what are you trying to say, JerkName?
Or: )with deadpan stare or raised eyebrow if you're good at that) What an incredibly rude thing to say. (changes subject)


But really, call them out, either with good-natured humor or with sincerity if maybe they don't realize that they're being jerks. And if they persist? Then stop inviting over/visiting with jerks.

If they start in on you, you suddenly notice it's time to go, or you mention that the Rude-e-o is apparently back in town and you've already been there enough to last a lifetime, or just plain tell them that it's rude and hurtful to make snide and belitting comments about how well someone else is doing with the intent to put others (like you and your family) down, and you're done for this visit unless they can find a way to apologize and not do it again, and do make sure to explain they'll likely see much less of you since you don't need negativity and judgemental rudeness in your life.

Don't have to be rude yourself, you just need to set some firm boundaries and then stick to them and make sure to not allow others to cross them without consequences (your leaving/ending convos/removing the jerks from your house).
Outstanding post.
Thank you for taking the time to put it together

esteen
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by esteen » Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:42 am

Throw an annual family "net worth statement" party...

Just kidding! That would be bad and passive-aggressive. But it sort of makes me chuckle :twisted:

They're family, which means you probably have at least a minor obligation to see them every once in a while. But I would keep it to the minimum that you can.

Some say friends are the family you choose. Similarly, family are the friends you don't choose, but are stuck with anyway. Focus your love, attention, and good will on the family you choose - whether or not they have genetic relation. Life is too short for anything else.

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mrspock
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by mrspock » Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:10 am

Gnirk wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:33 am
Stay away from your toxic relatives, or at least spend as little time as possible with them.
This. Limit the time you spend with such folks, you need to live your own story, your own path and try as best you can to ignore those who are trying to drag you down.

Honestly, if you start spending more freely, you will get snark from another direction ("Oh look at you with the fancy car/house/shoes/clothes" etc), you just can't win with some people. I will admit, family throwing barbs hurts more, as you expect more from your own blood, but you unfortunately don't get to pick your family members.

As tempting as it might be, I'd also not be tempted to rub it into anyone's face when you retire about 20 years before they do. Quite the opposite: if you can avoid anyone discovering you've been rolling out of bed at 9am, reading the morning news at your favorite coffee shop, and following it up with a stroll along the beach with the dog while they are toiling away at work... for about 10-15 of those 20 years, you'll be better off IMO.

Good luck, and keep it up!

rossington
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by rossington » Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:12 am

***All of the above***
Keep this in mind: "I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money."- Pablo Picasso
Keep them guessing...it will annoy them more than you can imagine.
"Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill.

grettman
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by grettman » Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:51 am

Your eventual ability to be able to retire and seize freedom is the best prize of all. In my opinion, it is worth more than a house, a fancy car, and certainly more valuable than a lifestyle in California. Freedom and the ability to control one's time doesn't get enough credit outside of this forum.

ivk5
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by ivk5 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:34 am

Gnirk wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:33 am
Stay away from your toxic relatives, or at least spend as little time as possible with them.
LilyFleur wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:38 am
Your relatives are not very nice to you.
+1

Just speculation of course, but perhaps this treatment has a longer history, which is why it really stings.

It takes strength to feel good about oneself despite abuse of any kind by those to whom one is most vulnerable.

livesoft
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by livesoft » Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:44 am

If one thinks they are going to be able to stay away from toxic people, then I think they are sadly mistaken. One just has to learn to deal with it and vote.
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trustquestioner
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by trustquestioner » Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:45 am

I used to think there was something wrong with me for getting so mad at comments like this.

Now I’m just sad it took me so long to stand up for myself and refuse to be in the same physical space with people who refuse to respect boundaries and are sure to make me feel bad.

Ron
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by Ron » Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:48 am

What you think of me is none of my business...

- Ron

runner540
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by runner540 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:57 am

InvestingGeek wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:56 pm

But I can see these comments make my wife and kids feel small.
This is the real issue with these relatives' behavior. I would take them aside and have a heart to heart that "you may not realize it (give them benefit of the doubt) but when you say x, y, z, it makes my wife and kids feel ___. Would be best if its your in-laws for your wife to have this conversation with her family from the first person perspective.

Provide your kids with age-appropriate information about the family's values (not just money but what is important in life and relationships). Good luck!! People often pick at the things in others that they are insecure about themselves.

mptfan
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by mptfan » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:03 am

InvestingGeek wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:56 pm
Any ideas on how you guys deal with this or fix? I know I shouldn't worry about keeping up appearances or impressing people, but when I see how these comments make my family feel, I feel I should do something but I can't think of what.
You are contradicting yourself, on the one hand you know you shouldn't worry about it, but on the other hand you feel you should do something. My advice is stop worrying about what other people think and live your life. People who judge you by where you live or the size of your house are superficial and you should not concern yourself about what they think.

I am in a somewhat similar situation, some people refer to me as cheap because I live in a modest house compared to my income and outwardly I live more frugally compared to what I could afford. When people call me cheap or frugal I laugh it off and I agree with them and I wear it as a badge of honor. I am proud of the way I live and I sleep well at night because I am on my way to financial independence and I am living the way that makes me happy and comfortable, and I have learned to not care what anyone else thinks about it. If someone thinks less of me because of my life choices, I choose not to be around them.
Last edited by mptfan on Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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teen persuasion
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by teen persuasion » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:05 am

InvestingGeek wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:56 pm
Hi,

I'm fully bought into the idea of living within my means. I have a decent amount of money invested. Own a reasonably sized house for our family and no one really knows how much I make or have saved up since we don't live ostentatiously.

My problem is with relatives and wider family members snickering or making snide/subtle comparisons about how much better they are doing. Or how much smarter my brother is in their eyes because he's seemingly done so much better than I have.

There's constant comments about how my brother-in-law's house is so much bigger. How "some people's" (subtext: ours) foyers are so narrow you can't even put your shoes on comfortably. How it's "amazing" that one brother's always been so much smarter and now lives the high life in California while the other guy (me), the poor fellow, is stuck in the midwest living a grunt's life.

I know I shouldn't care and I personally don't. But I can see these comments make my wife and kids feel small. If I wanted, I too could move to California, buy a giant house and live the rich life. But it would mean liquidating my savings, having my wife work, and seeing my kids less. It would fix the relatives problem, shut people's mouths, make my kids happy but would derail our entire financial plan.

Any ideas on how you guys deal with this or fix? I know I shouldn't worry about keeping up appearances or impressing people, but when I see how these comments make my family feel, I feel I should do something but I can't think of what.
They are focusing on negatives (small foyer, Midwest < California, etc.) But in your head you are recognizing the positives of your CHOICES: wife is free to not work, you have more free time, more time with your kids, can save at a higher rate...

Maybe when they make these not-so-subtle digs, you could turn them around, and reframe the issues from your point of view. Highlight how YOU pity THEM, they have to work so hard/long to afford the outrageous COL in CA, are missing time with their kids while the kids are growing up, wife has to work, dealing with the rat race, have less discretionary income to save...

Or maybe it's better to just think these things to yourself, and not sink to their level. Engaging might just elevate the perceived need to "win" the competition. These people obviously view success as a limited quantity - if I'm successful, then you can't be, or if you're successful then I'm not. Why can't everyone be successful in a variety of different ways?

If you are happy with your choices, and your life, that's what matters.

KlangFool
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by KlangFool » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:09 am

OP,

All it takes is for the next recession to expose who has been swimming naked.

KlangFool

Nowizard
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by Nowizard » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:14 am

Unfortunately, this is common and is one of those places where what is actually another person's problem (Insecurity, competition, even possible pathology) becomes ours. If you are the outlier in your family in regard to the way you express your life, then the dynamics that the others follow were almost certainly learned from the family home. As with other toxic things, there are always those who escape them either physically, psychologically or both. You don't say how old you are, but it takes a long time to sort out the confusing issues that exist from childhood. I guess we all have some "whys" about certain things from our childhood regardless of whether we came from a basically functional or terribly dysfunctional home. You are definitely not alone, as posters are saying. In fact I am a retired person who got up this morning questioning how/why I developed so differently from my family regarding matters of religion/spirituality. Some things we resolve, others are what I call puzzles, simply meaning there are issues that pop up from time-to-time that have no absolute solution, that are well in place at times but bother or torment us at others. Family dynamics and, dare I say, investing both fall in that category! Similarly, so do the suggestions on how to deal with each when we ask for advice.

Tim

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:17 am

Let your brother pick up the tab at family dinners, everybody knows he can afford it and you can't. Same for vacations.

Make sure your kids know that not everyone that spends a lot of money has a lot of money.

And maybe he does have more money, who cares? If you don't your kids probably won't. Can't say about your wife.

Mr.BB
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by Mr.BB » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:18 am

John Doe 123 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:05 pm
Spend less time around toxic/superficial people would be my suggestion.
+1
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

Mr.BB
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by Mr.BB » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:20 am

It is a wonderful learning opportunity to teach your kids..... make sure they understand!
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

DesertDiva
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by DesertDiva » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:21 am

Read “The Millionaire Next Door”. If you’ve already read it, then please re-read it. It will help you regain perspective.

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hisdudeness
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by hisdudeness » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:33 am

KlangFool wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:09 am
OP,

All it takes is for the next recession to expose who has been swimming naked.

KlangFool
You nailed it, Mr. Klang

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bottlecap
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by bottlecap » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:35 am

Mr.BB wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:18 am
John Doe 123 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:05 pm
Spend less time around toxic/superficial people would be my suggestion.
+1
I have to agree as well. If these types of comments are actually being made, think hard about whether to cut ties. Even if they are family, who needs people like this?

JT

renue74
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by renue74 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:41 am

donall wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:23 pm
I’d feel lucky because they will not ask you for money.
+1 . I would be happy for them and say something like, "It's a great country that we have the opportunities to live so well."

I very rarely talk about finances with any friends or family...especially when I have so many other juicier things to discuss.

fru-gal
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by fru-gal » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:53 am

InvestingGeek wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:56 pm
Hi,

I'm fully bought into the idea of living within my means. I have a decent amount of money invested. Own a reasonably sized house for our family and no one really knows how much I make or have saved up since we don't live ostentatiously.

My problem is with relatives and wider family members snickering or making snide/subtle comparisons about how much better they are doing. Or how much smarter my brother is in their eyes because he's seemingly done so much better than I have.

There's constant comments about how my brother-in-law's house is so much bigger. How "some people's" (subtext: ours) foyers are so narrow you can't even put your shoes on comfortably. How it's "amazing" that one brother's always been so much smarter and now lives the high life in California while the other guy (me), the poor fellow, is stuck in the midwest living a grunt's life.

I know I shouldn't care and I personally don't. But I can see these comments make my wife and kids feel small. If I wanted, I too could move to California, buy a giant house and live the rich life. But it would mean liquidating my savings, having my wife work, and seeing my kids less. It would fix the relatives problem, shut people's mouths, make my kids happy but would derail our entire financial plan.

Any ideas on how you guys deal with this or fix? I know I shouldn't worry about keeping up appearances or impressing people, but when I see how these comments make my family feel, I feel I should do something but I can't think of what.
Well, some of my relatives are nasty too. That's just the way some people are, and I tend to avoid them. If I were in your situation, I would have a talk with the wife and kids about why you are managing your finances the way you do, and how foolish the relatives are to put spending on unnecessary stuff ahead of financial security.

I wonder if you can rope your kids into saving part of their allowance or something, so they can see savings accumulate. With your wife you can go over finances and retirement and college for the kids projections in more detail. I would be careful not to let this involve letting other people know how much you have in the way of savings, though.

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Sandtrap
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:58 am

InvestingGeek wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:56 pm
Hi,

I'm fully bought into the idea of living within my means. I have a decent amount of money invested. Own a reasonably sized house for our family and no one really knows how much I make or have saved up since we don't live ostentatiously.. . . . .
Any ideas on how you guys deal with this or fix? I know I shouldn't worry about keeping up appearances or impressing people, but when I see how these comments make my family feel, I feel I should do something but I can't think of what.
DW and I have grown so used to LBYM and, at times, frugality as a means to survival, that this kind of thing is not in our radar. It's as insignificant as an insincere compliment given by an equally insignificant person 50 years in the past.

As for myself, "looking bad" :oops: is something that has always been part of my life so I'm not about to change now.

DW and I have always avoided toxic people, relationships, situations, environments, and bad food. All of them leave a bad aftertaste, indigestion, and bad gas. :shock:

We have taught our children to do the same.

j
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tibbitts
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by tibbitts » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:59 am

This may be the wrong place to come for suggestion because people here, while they may live below their means, generally are more likely to be in a better position relative to family. We see posts about that all the time.

Some of the posts may be missing the point that most relatives may, in fact, be immensely more financially successful than you are. Again, that's probably the exception around here. I would say it's unusual for so many people in the family to make such a point of that, but sometimes you just have to recognize that and move on. There may be nothing to be done about it - some people are just more successful in various ways than others; sometimes seemingly in every way.

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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by Jags4186 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:59 am

John Doe 123 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:05 pm
Spend less time around toxic/superficial people would be my suggestion.
+1000

The only people you have obligations to are yourself, your spouse, and your minor children. Everyone else is optional. Spend your time with those who make you feel good about yourself.

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Sandtrap
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:00 am

KlangFool wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:09 am
OP,

All it takes is for the next recession to expose who has been swimming naked.

KlangFool
When those unspoken maxed out HELOC's come back to bite.

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donaldfair71
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by donaldfair71 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:03 am

I stopped reading about two paragraphs in.

If family is telling you, or implying, that you're not doing good enough compared to siblings, this is an issue with them, not you.

It's one thing to say to your kids that they need to get a job/make their way in the world/etc. Comparing in the terms your describe isn't okay.

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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by KlangFool » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:10 am

tibbitts wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:59 am

This may be the wrong place to come for suggestion because people here, while they may live below their means, generally are more likely to be in a better position relative to family. We see posts about that all the time.
tibbitts,

Not in my case. Many of my family members are early retired and independently wealthy. Many of my family members are millionaires. But, coming from a culture with an average gross saving rate of 30+%, we are more likely to be criticized for overspending and not frugal enough than not spending enough.

In my case, looking bad means that we have a bigger and more expensive house than my family members.

KlangFool

Smoke
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by Smoke » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:12 am

John Doe 123 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:05 pm
Spend less time around toxic/superficial people would be my suggestion.
+1
Arguing for the sake of arguing is something I am not going to engage in.

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JoMoney
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by JoMoney » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:14 am

Sound pretty rude of them... to the point that I 'm having a hard time believing the comments are actually directed at you / your house, and I suspect you're reading your own insecurities into it.
If you want a bigger house, start working towards that, if you don't... I'm sorry but it doesn't upset me when someone else has different tastes/priorities than I do.
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

IowaFarmWife
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by IowaFarmWife » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:16 am

FGal wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:22 pm
It's not about keeping up or anything. Your friends/family that do this are jerks. You recognize this, but instead of addressing the nasty snide behavior, you feel the need to ignore and let them keep making nasty rude remarks. So either laugh it off and make it a joke or nicely and firmly call them out for being a jerk and tell them to stop it. In psychological circles it's called "the missing stair" where people just avoid making the jerk/abuser stop being a jerk/abuser and expect EVERYONE ELSE to work around the jerk/abuser's terrible behavior, because it's easier to shame/guilt others into bending over backwards rather than fix the actual problem.



So what to do? You set boundaries, and follow up on sticking to them by calling a jerk a jerk (nicely, but firmly).

So for example:

Jerk 1: Oh my god, I don't know how some people can even deal with living in such a tiny house! It must be so sad for them to be so poor!
You: Are you implying that my family is poor or sad for living in a small house? Because we're just fine, thanks and perfectly happy with what we have. It makes me really sad that you feel the need to belittle our family because we choose to live the way we choose, even if you don't like it.

Jerk 2: You must be so jealous of your fancy brother and his California house and fancy life! Too bad you are stuck forever in this terrible place!
You: I'm not jealous of him, I'm happy if he's happy. I don't know why you think showing ostentatious signs of wealth translate into how well someone is doing. Sounds to me like you are trying to stir up bad feelings or make me feel bad? Why would you say those things otherwise?

Or to just laugh it off:

Jerk 3: I can't even breath in this tiny foyer! How can you even put shoes on in here!
You (laughing at person) oh we just do without shoes! We're so poor we don't even know what shoes are! You must be rolling in the dough to afford ACTUAL SHOES!

Or just plain call them out EVER SINGLE TIME THEY SAY SOMETHING RUDE/SNIDE:

Jerk 4: Too bad some people can't afford nicer things like brothername...
You: what are you trying to say, JerkName?
Or: )with deadpan stare or raised eyebrow if you're good at that) What an incredibly rude thing to say. (changes subject)


But really, call them out, either with good-natured humor or with sincerity if maybe they don't realize that they're being jerks. And if they persist? Then stop inviting over/visiting with jerks.

If they start in on you, you suddenly notice it's time to go, or you mention that the Rude-e-o is apparently back in town and you've already been there enough to last a lifetime, or just plain tell them that it's rude and hurtful to make snide and belitting comments about how well someone else is doing with the intent to put others (like you and your family) down, and you're done for this visit unless they can find a way to apologize and not do it again, and do make sure to explain they'll likely see much less of you since you don't need negativity and judgemental rudeness in your life.

Don't have to be rude yourself, you just need to set some firm boundaries and then stick to them and make sure to not allow others to cross them without consequences (your leaving/ending convos/removing the jerks from your house).
I love this advice. :happy
“The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” —Will Rogers

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Sandtrap
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:18 am

KlangFool wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:10 am
tibbitts wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:59 am

This may be the wrong place to come for suggestion because people here, while they may live below their means, generally are more likely to be in a better position relative to family. We see posts about that all the time.
tibbitts,

Not in my case. Many of my family members are early retired and independently wealthy. Many of my family members are millionaires. But, coming from a culture with an average gross saving rate of 30+%, we are more likely to be criticized for overspending and not frugal enough than not spending enough.

In my case, looking bad means that we have a bigger and more expensive house than my family members.

KlangFool
Absolutely true.

The line is, "how much did you pay? Oh. . too much. . . you're so wasteful.(stupid) . . " it never ends.

I had an uncle who drove an old faded blue Plymouth Valiant. Old slacks, sandles and t shirt. Walked with a shuffle. Lived in the same house he bought after the war at discount. (all children grew up to be MD's or attorney's). He owned an entire street of tall apartment buildings.
A lot of folks I grew up with were like that. It was the "norm". Being ostentatious was not a good trait to have.

j
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bighatnohorse
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Re: How do you deal with looking bad compared to others?

Post by bighatnohorse » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:37 am

InvestingGeek wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:56 pm
. . .Any ideas on how you guys deal with this or fix? I know I shouldn't worry about keeping up appearances or impressing people, but when I see how these comments make my family feel, I feel I should do something but I can't think of what.
Ignore the external - you can't change that.
Discuss with your family how you are saving and how you are doing it.
Make sure your kids can pass the marshmallow test. It's very important that they understand it. It will give them insight and confidence.
. . .that's my advice.

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