How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

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OnTrack2020
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by OnTrack2020 »

Years ago, I must have been having a conversation with someone about how much someone else had spent on something. I don't remember the specifics, but I remember the person I was talking with saying, oh well, I'm not paying their bills. I've always remembered this---I'm not paying anyone else's bills, so I've gotten over the point of caring what/how/when/why they spend their money on. It's their money, and it's theirs to decide how to spend it.
Dennisl
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by Dennisl »

I talked to anyone who would listen after I first became a boglehead. I was pretty judgmental of my SIL who kept racking up credit card debt, despite living rent free in a house that her folks paid for. I was frustrated every time my in laws bailed her out because of the implications cited in millionaire next door. It negatively impacted my view of her. I started overlooking her many strengths. Took me a while, but I mostly mind my own business now. At some point I just got tired of talking about money all the time. I look at it as what it is now, a tool to help me achieve my goals.

I found it helpful to channel the energy into something useful. I joined the retirement committee for my company and talked the group into switching to an indexed target date fund and weeded out some of the offerings with high ER.
Dennisl
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by Dennisl »

I think work also frames the way I look at things. I mostly work in a profession where we are paid for a completed project or for outcomes. I have been doing some consulting that bills in 15 min intervals. I find that it really skews my perspective and catch myself thinking about everything from time/money. Doesn’t seem healthy or congruent with my overall outlook on life.
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

diydocwifejd wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:56 pm All,

Now that I've been implementing a Dave Ramsey/BogleHead/Index Only/Cash Only/No Debt lifestyle, I have a hard time with judging how others (family, friends, etc.) spend their money. I know it's not my money/doesn't affect me rationally, but when a friend casually mentions how they are going to invest in a rental property (their house isn't paid off, their cars are financed, they don't even invest in 529s for their kids yet, etc.), I'm not sure how to respond. Has anyone else struggled with how to just smile and nod and reserve judgement? I struggle with it a lot lately.
Just say good luck on the new place. There are many roads to Dublin as Taylor Larimore is fond of saying. If their path is different than yours who cares? They prefer curves you prefer straight road. Eventually they miss the turn or they make it.
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TropikThunder
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by TropikThunder »

diydocwifejd wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 4:09 pm But I'm starting to realize I have this nasty habit of imposing my world view on others.
You’ll fit in just fine here.
flaccidsteele
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by flaccidsteele »

7eight9 wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 3:02 pm I think there is some saying about don't judge if you don't want to be judged. Seems like pretty good advice.
+1 ^this
The US market always recovers. It’s never different this time. Retired in my 40s. Investing is a simple game of rinse and repeat
FBanks
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by FBanks »

I struggle with this.

We save 50% of our income, drive cars forever, and live in a much smaller home than we can afford.

I find when I’m getting judgey of friends that I suspect make less than us, but spend more lavishly on cars, homes, vacations, etc., deep down I think I’m envious that they have fun spending without restraint. I know the Boglehead gospel is LBYM, and we live a great life, but we also make conscious tradeoffs. I’m confident in our financial plan, but I occassionally catch the envy bug and I notice that’s when I start judging others extravagant consumption habits.

We also save a lot now, so we can have a very cushy retirement, so I’ll spend more lavishly one day (I just may be too frugal to upgrade 😀)
Kelrex
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by Kelrex »

Well, you can judge, but it won't make you in any way a happier or healthier person.

This is a common early effect of discovering a new way of living/thinking. The desire to proselytize to others, knowing that you used to be just like them, but feeling the frustration that you will probably be met with resistance even though you *know* that you know better for them.

Doctors feel the same frustration when they can't get people to care about their own health. Millions upon millions of people pay doctors for advice and then ignore it. Or better yet, don't even bother going.

Likewise people smoke, drink way more than is safe, drive while texting, don't exercise, take shit care of their pets, are rude to service staff, and post dumb crap on social media.

My point is, people will always give you plenty to judge them for, and you them. We all provide TONS of fodder for the judgement cannons. You can either engage in the instinct to judge, or try to see it for the hollow energy-suck that it is, as it does NOTHING for you or for the person you are judging.

Judging is a net loss for all parties, it's a bad investment.
Olemiss540
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by Olemiss540 »

TropikThunder wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:05 am
diydocwifejd wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 4:09 pm But I'm starting to realize I have this nasty habit of imposing my world view on others.
You’ll fit in just fine here.
Boom. Roasted.
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JoMoney
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by JoMoney »

No, not a struggle here with just smiling and nodding. I can remember even feeling a little jealous of that lifestyle, knowing people levered to the hilt on fancy new cars and "investment properties", watching them throw money around like it's nothing and getting a new HELOC as real estate prices soar... then when it busts walking away, bankrupt, but having enjoyed a lifestyle I would likely never have... then starting the same cycle over again.
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by TomatoTomahto »

JoMoney wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 7:21 am No, not a struggle here with just smiling and nodding. I can remember even feeling a little jealous of that lifestyle, knowing people levered to the hilt on fancy new cars and "investment properties", watching them throw money around like it's nothing and getting a new HELOC as real estate prices soar... then when it busts walking away, bankrupt, but having enjoyed a lifestyle I would likely never have... then starting the same cycle over again.
Yes. The US has structured things to incentivize that cycle. Still, I’m happier not having ever filed for bankruptcy or pleaded for a debt restructuring.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
Freetime76
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by Freetime76 »

diydocwifejd wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 4:09 pm
livesoft wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 3:40 pm I don't know the OP's age, but maybe the OP is not old enough to see that the world is composed of all kinds of people and they are not like me nor you. Sorry, I just judged you. :twisted:
Ha I'm 33 :D

But I'm starting to realize I have this nasty habit of imposing my world view on others. Just trying to get a sense of how to handle it, as I suspect it's common among BHs. Once you see the light, it's hard to unsee it.
I’m not sure the judgy McJudgersons is common, in fact, BHers seem to be especially supportive no matter where one is in the process...and rarely agree 100% consensus on anything (if there is total agreement on a thread, it is invariably pointed out as a rarity).

:!: At your stage of life, the best advice I can offer is: ****worry about your own self****. :!:

Forget other people’s spending, salary, work ethic, frugalness, family relationships, behavior of their children, fitness level, eating habits, fashion sense, hairstyle (see where I’m going here?)...not your bailiwick, and you have NO IDEA what happens behind the closed doors of their lives. I am being serious. No idea.

You are not perfect. I am not perfect - inherently flawed, as are we all. ...someone else may be looking at you thinking the same thing :wink: ...you know, people in glass houses throwing stones and all that :wink:

P.S.Read the Boundaries book Ramsey often recommends.

P.P.S. Should you have the wonderful opportunity of someone you care about ask for your opinion or advice, respond humbly with what you would do. Not in a high brow, you’re being stupid manner. If they don’t ask and are doing something (that you feel is) dumb with money, recognize that it is their money to do with as they please. A) It’s not you’re responsibility, and B) you’re going to loose friends quick if you suddenly become the judge and jury.
Freetime76
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by Freetime76 »

TropikThunder wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:05 am
diydocwifejd wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 4:09 pm But I'm starting to realize I have this nasty habit of imposing my world view on others.
You’ll fit in just fine here.
:sharebeer
Good one.
ETA: despite what I said above ;-)
Last edited by Freetime76 on Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
lostdog
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by lostdog »

I have a few friends that live paycheck to paycheck. I say nothing.

The only time I offered help was when one of them asked for budgeting help. He mentioned he didn't have time to do it but then I observe him staring at his phone scrolling through Facebook all of the time.

The other day I sent him links to budgeting apps and said to experiment. A 6 year old with basic math skills can figure it out. I also said if he didn't have time, he could use some of the time looking at Facebook to try the apps. I didn't get a response.
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Sheepdog
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by Sheepdog »

“In the matters of your mistake you defend it like a lawyer, in the matters of other's mistake you act like a judge.”
― Amit Kalantri, Wealth of Words
Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn.~ Delmore Schwartz
ddurrett896
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by ddurrett896 »

Internally but no sense in commenting.

My rule is to not offer advice unless asked.
stoptothink
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by stoptothink »

Kelrex wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 5:30 amDoctors feel the same frustration when they can't get people to care about their own health. Millions upon millions of people pay doctors for advice and then ignore it. Or better yet, don't even bother going.
+1. I'm not a physician, but I PhD exercise physiologist whose research has primarily focused on obesity and comorbidities. I am MUCH more judgmental about people's lifestyle habits than their financial habits. I get direct messages on social media pretty much every day from people I grew up with or that I have worked with (or on behalf of their friends and family) who now are obese and/or hyperinsulinemic and want my advice about how to change their life. I woke up to two this morning. Off the top off my head, I can think of two individuals who legitimately took my advice and many many more that did not and are no longer living.

My simple way of not being judgmental - because this is a ME problem - is to not spend my time really helping them, but just providing a few links to resources.
Last edited by stoptothink on Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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goodenyou
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by goodenyou »

Watching people make poor choices in life is painful. I often use it as a teaching moment for my kids. When we are around people that reveal their decisions on money matters, my wife and I often cringe. You can see the car wreck in slow motion.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" | Do you know how to make a rain dance work? Dance until it rains.
Nowizard
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by Nowizard »

This concept appears across many different areas. Many who have done things such as stopping smoking after doing so for years, who have lost significant weight after years of being overweight or have had a spiritual awakening, for example, may want to share their significant changes. I guess that means we can either judge from a negative perspective or want to inform from a positive one. One helpful, at least for me, phrase that aids in avoiding that is to remember that unasked for advice is often interpreted as criticism.

Tim
michaeljc70
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by michaeljc70 »

I just don't comment to the people directly involved. I will however discuss it with my spouse or a family member that is not directly involved. For example, spouse will say BIL wants to buy a house instead of a condo due to their child but they just cannot afford it. I'll say to spouse maybe if they didn't eat out 5 nights a week they could. If the BIL said the same thing directly to me I would just nod or ignore it. In other words, just judge them behind their backs :D
mak1277
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by mak1277 »

There is plenty of stuff going on that directly impacts my life...I have no time to spending worrying about stuff that doesn't impact me at all.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by TomatoTomahto »

michaeljc70 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:04 am I just don't comment to the people directly involved. I will however discuss it with my spouse or a family member that is not directly involved. For example, spouse will say BIL wants to buy a house instead of a condo due to their child but they just cannot afford it. I'll say to spouse maybe if they didn't eat out 5 nights a week they could. If the BIL said the same thing directly to me I would just nod or ignore it. In other words, just judge them behind their backs :D
Judging people behind their backs with one’s spouse is a gift that keeps giving. I love being able to say to my beloved stuff that I’d never say to anyone else. And she still loves and respects me. It’s a miracle, I tell ya.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
RJC
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by RJC »

It’s always hard to stay disciplined when you see others splurge. It’s the marshmallow test all over again.
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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. »

diydocwifejd wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:56 pm All,

Now that I've been implementing a Dave Ramsey/BogleHead/Index Only/Cash Only/No Debt lifestyle, I have a hard time with judging how others (family, friends, etc.) spend their money. I know it's not my money/doesn't affect me rationally, but when a friend casually mentions how they are going to invest in a rental property (their house isn't paid off, their cars are financed, they don't even invest in 529s for their kids yet, etc.), I'm not sure how to respond. Has anyone else struggled with how to just smile and nod and reserve judgement? I struggle with it a lot lately.
the thing I see here is that people tell you things, but that doesn't mean they're asking for your advice and/or opinions.

I think when people tell us things, we may confuse that with them asking us what we think. Sometimes they're not. They're just telling us stuff.

Try to figure out if they're just telling you things or really want to engage in a conversation and/or hear divergent ideas. If they don't, then don't offer. You're just wasting your breath.

Thing is, often people may ask for your advice directly, but then still not want to hear it or take it. That even happens on bogleheads too.

So in summation:
1. don't offer unless asked
2. if asked, give your advice freely, but don't get attached to the outcome. It will be what it will be and that's up to them, not you. You're only in control of yourself, no one else.
It's "Stay" the course, not Stray the Course. Buy and Hold works. You should really try it sometime. Get a plan: www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Investment_policy_statement
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goingup
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by goingup »

Normchad wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 3:15 pm It’s very hard to do. We all think in some certain way, and becoming less judge mental really requires a change in how you think. It’s taken me decades of introspection to understand why I think like I do, and to change how I view the world and others behaviors. I’m not sure I could have done it any faster. So, it’s just flat out hard not to do it.

Understanding reality is a big help though. Realize that everybody is living a different life. They have different situations, different values, different goals, and different outlooks on the future. You think you’re doing the right thing, but it might not be the right thing for them. And there is a real chance, that you are actually wrong.

Lots of my coworkers don’t participate in the 401k plan. I was on the committee, so I was interested to find out why. To figure out how we could improve the plan to get a higher participation rate. I learned that a bunch of people don’t do it, because they are focusing on paying off student debt. A bunch of others don’t do it, because they are retired service members, and have a pension coming. And others don’t do it because a big inheritance is in their future. We can quibble here, but none of those reasons is objectively wrong. They just have a different circumstance than I do.

Some people love to work, and have no desire to ever stop. So for them working hard, and spending big is a perfectly fine balance to strike.

And also remember, other people are free to do whatever they want with their money. No matter how dumb we think it is. And truthfully, it doesn’t affect us. It just doesn’t matter *to me* what other buy or save. If my friend buys a new Lexus, I’m excited. I’m excited because it’s a cool car, and I like cool cars. And I’m excited because my friend is happy. And I want my friends to be happy, I want to celebrate their successes with them.

Maybe the key is to want to be not judgemental, even if you can’t help it sometimes.
Great post. Lots of wisdom here.

I've learned everyone does things a little differently. People have different priorities than me and that's just fine. I wasted a lot of time "tutt-tutting" how my sister, and other relatives managed debt and spent money. They asked nothing of me but I harbored judgement, even disdain for their choices. Dumb.

Be happy for other's happiness (as Normchad says above) and be interested in their lives. That's been a better to live, I've discovered. :beer
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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. »

Normchad wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 3:15 pm It’s very hard to do. We all think in some certain way, and becoming less judge mental really requires a change in how you think. It’s taken me decades of introspection to understand why I think like I do, and to change how I view the world and others behaviors. I’m not sure I could have done it any faster. So, it’s just flat out hard not to do it.

Understanding reality is a big help though. Realize that everybody is living a different life. They have different situations, different values, different goals, and different outlooks on the future. You think you’re doing the right thing, but it might not be the right thing for them. And there is a real chance, that you are actually wrong.

Lots of my coworkers don’t participate in the 401k plan. I was on the committee, so I was interested to find out why. To figure out how we could improve the plan to get a higher participation rate. I learned that a bunch of people don’t do it, because they are focusing on paying off student debt. A bunch of others don’t do it, because they are retired service members, and have a pension coming. And others don’t do it because a big inheritance is in their future. We can quibble here, but none of those reasons is objectively wrong. They just have a different circumstance than I do.

Some people love to work, and have no desire to ever stop. So for them working hard, and spending big is a perfectly fine balance to strike.

And also remember, other people are free to do whatever they want with their money. No matter how dumb we think it is. And truthfully, it doesn’t affect us. It just doesn’t matter *to me* what other buy or save. If my friend buys a new Lexus, I’m excited. I’m excited because it’s a cool car, and I like cool cars. And I’m excited because my friend is happy. And I want my friends to be happy, I want to celebrate their successes with them.

Maybe the key is to want to be not judgemental, even if you can’t help it sometimes.
This was a nice post, but the only thing that stopped me was the part in red. I've known people who held that attitude. Then they couldn't work any longer (you can come up with a variety of reasons why that might be the case.)

they were in trouble then because:
1. they couldn't spend big anymore
2. they had no savings to live on (to subsidize their meager SS). They were now in trouble and in need of assistance.
It's "Stay" the course, not Stray the Course. Buy and Hold works. You should really try it sometime. Get a plan: www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Investment_policy_statement
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Re: How to stop judging how other people spend/invest

Post by Misenplace »

This thread has run it's course and is locked (relationship issue, not a question about Personal Finance).
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