Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What makes you feel poor?

Is it scrimping and saving?
Is it worrying about money?
Is it having wealthier friends or family to compare yourself to?
Is it eating ramen noodles too often?
Is it counting the days between paychecks and when bills are due?
Is it the lack of some particular thing that signifies abundance?

Example: my mom grew up with very little money and always remembers the shame she felt when people came over to visit and there was no food or drink to offer them, not even a can of soda. So now she still feels poor if she doesn't have a fridge bursting with food.

Thoughts?

47 comments:

Mike said...

Worrying about money makes me feel the worst about my income.

I don't mind not buying things I can afford, but it does sometimes bother me if I really can't afford something. For me it's about having the choice.

Single Ma said...

I used to compare myself to others but I stopped doing that when I realized my financial picture is a lot different than most people. Being a single parent has its own set of challenges, so I've come up with creative ways to make our lives more enjoyable by living on less. I am comfortable financially, but there are times when I wish I had more.

For example:

- I feel poor because I can't send my daughter to private school.

- I feel poor because I have to tell her NO sometimes when she ask for things.

- I feel poor because I can't hire a housekeeper. My time is valuable so I hate spending it on things I don't enjoy.

- I feel poor when I have to choose between x, y, or z. Having it all just seems more fun. ;-)

This of course is just a state of mind. By virtue of human nature, we're never satisfied. However, I know I'm blessed so I value what I have today.

QuarterSaver said...

I feel poor when I can't pay all the bills that we get as soon as we get them, and have to parse them out over the course of the month.

I feel poor during the days when we run out of money in our checking accounts, and bounce into our overdraft protection line of cash. And then I get paid and a good chunk of the salary just goes to paying the overdraft line back. Sigh!

mapgirl said...

It's definitely being around people who spend their money all the time. I went to prep school on scholarship. Our family wasn't poor, but when everyone else is taking Carribbean vacations for Christmas and you're not. That makes you feel poor. When your folks work 6 days a week, and theirs don't, that'll do it too.

I feel less poor because I don't have to choose between eating and the heating bill, but I still feel poor sometimes because my nest egg isn't so large! Will I ever feel like I've saved enough though?

Jonathan said...

I would only feel poor if I was living simply and still could not pay the bills, while working so hard that I fell asleep every night the moment I got home.

So, right now, I *never* feel poor. I don't care what other people buy. I feel fortunate every single day of my life that I am not the person in my first paragraph. My life is blessed.

Jonathan said...

ooo, this is stirring old memories.

I *used to* feel poor as a kid because I lived in a neighborhood with a lot of big single-family houses while I lived in an apartment complex with my family. I would be ashamed to bring friends over. I'm glad I got over that when I grew up =)

Anonymous said...

i feel poor whenever i turn on the t.v. yet for some reason, i keep turning it on. must be some sick psychological thing we all have to confront our inadequacies on a regular basis. reality is--i'm 34, worth $300,000 and i feel like a po' boy. this niggardly existence has its downside. tony robbins says lead a life of abundance and dont pinch pennies--but its a catch 22 b/c its never enough.

IRA said...

As a single person, I think I've done pretty well financially, relative to my peers. But I do feel poor when I think about having to support my parents if they get sick and need long term care. Don't get me wrong. I love my parents. But I do wish they had had the foresight to purchase long term care insurance.

Phrai said...

Hmmm... when I grew up, I know we didn't have much. Our first tv was a used black and white one from a hotel. Our house had just bare necessities and I remember that a can of soda pop was a treat. Now I have a career and do well. What is the difference in my life now and back then? I have more material possesions. Am I any happier? I would say no. I may be more comfortable but I knew my family was financially poor but there was a lot of love in our home. What we didn't have material wise, we had each other and we still do till this day.

I believe that when we think we are poor, we act poorly and make the wrong choices. When we think we are poor we believe that we only deserve second best. My parents always had big dreams for all their children and for the most part we worked our way into middle-class America. It was quite an accomplishment for my father who came here in the late 60s with the clothes on his back, a box of tools and $3 in his pocket (no kidding).

My advice is to appreciate what you have. Think about it, the richest man may not be the best in shape, the best in shape person may not have the best job, the person with the best job may have no family life. Its an endless cycle of comparisons that in reality are a waste of time.

I've decided that I have the choice everyday to plan for my future. I don't know what my future has in store for me, but I believe that I have only myself to depend upon. Therefore, I store a little away every paycheck, invest in a retirement plan and ask myself do I really need this or is this really a want? You have to train yourself to maintain certain mindset. I don't mean to say that growing up my parents didn't worry, they did. But, they never thought of themselves as limited or lacking in any sense.

This is what I realized recently. Do you know what true wealth is? True wealth is when you realize what the term "enough" means. At that point in life when you realize what having enough is, you can be wealthy at any point in your life. Also, stop comparing yourself to other people. It's time wasted that can be focused on more positive things.

My blogspot: www.awakeinseattle.blogspot.com

Nina Smith said...

At the age of thirty, I was struggling to make ends meet - working night shifts at Kinkos, cleaning houses, and catering when I could. Fast-forward eight years… and I don’t feel poor anymore.

Why? I buckled down, found a better paying career (requiring me to postpone my entrepreneurial dreams for the time being), saved my money, invested in assets, and learned to live within my means.

People say that money can’t buy happiness but it certainly can buy a lot of comfort. I don’t ever want to be uncomfortable again. Been there, done that.

Dave said...

The things that make me feel poor are comparing to my friends. We have some friends who are slightly older and they are in a financially stronger position and investing a shed load of cash into a new business venture.

Another thing that makes me feel poor is having to turn my partner down when we talk about having a dog because our house is too small. (sad i know but thats the way it makes me feel)

But on the other hand, after the initial thoughts of it making me feel poor it always makes me more determined to improve our situation and become financially indipendent...which i WILL do.

Wow, this post really got me thinking, good one.

Jane Dough said...

I don't feel poor. I used to feel like that when I was a child, but once I started working at my first decent paying job that feeling went away. Instead I choose to feel "not as rich as". That I feel ALL the time.

Generally the feeling is provoked when chatting with your peers and hearing about a new car purchase (when yours is starting to show its age), a new home purchase (much nicer than the one you managed to buy), or even admiring a new outfit (when you are still making due with your slightly dated, but still-has-a-lot-of-wear-left-in-it clothes)

who am i said...

I feel poor when i can not help others...

~Dawn said...

I have been broke many times, but never poor.

Holly said...

I feel poor if I go out shopping too often. Most of the time, I feel very blessed in my life, and I don't notice all of the things that I DON'T have until I spend too much time in the retail world. Then I start listening to all of the marketing messages that are trying to tell me that I need this or that (which I usually can't afford) to be happy. That's when I have to stop and think about all of the things I have to be thankful for.

FroneAmy said...

I feel poor when we can't go out for dinner, and have to cook. Which is incredibly stupid, because the food is almost ALWAYS better when we cook at home.
I feel poor, to piggyback on 'Me', when we can't pay the bills when they come in.
But we live pretty comfortable, since the bills *do* get paid, and we have a house, and I have two dogs, and we do have dinner every night. So I agree with SingleMom in that it is human nature to never be satisfied, so those are the times when I feel poor.

Becca said...

I feel poor when I think about the extremely low odds of me ever owning a house in the area I live in now.

chance4976 said...

I feel poor when I realize that a string of about two or three major events (car breakdown/furnace breaking/prolonged illness) would render me essentially broke and homeless.

Anonymous said...

i feel poor when i can't go on vacation. we just went from a 2 earner household to a 1 earner household, and are fortunate to have no debt and a very healthy balance sheet that gives us this option...but still...it's an adjustment to have to start really, really paying attention to every $20.

Anonymous said...

I feel poor becuae I actually read this and posted to it when i could be reading a book or loving my woman.

Cityslicker Mom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I feel poor when I wonder if I'll have the money to fix my teeth, or get dentures. I'm 25. Too much soda when I was younger.

Anonymous said...

My family makes me feel poor. My younger brother works very hard, but happened to fall into a career where he earns much more than I do. Even though I am 26 and have an excellent job, I still cannot afford a down payment on a home and it seems like every day the average price of a home in my area goes up. I feel very poor going to my brother's home and coming back to my apartment. I feel poor when I have to hear my family's free "financial advice", as if I am not good enough because I don't earn as much. I know they mean well.
Those are the times when I have to remind myself that everyone moves on a different timeline and I will get there someday...and it will be that much sweeter because I worked so hard for it.

Despairing but patient said...

I feel poor when I must decide between trying to pay my husband's medical bills and buying a week's worth of food. I feel poor when I must ask the government for disability for him because he cannot work. It took him 6 years without a job for us to admit it and ask for that help. It has been over a year since we asked. It will be another year before we get an answer. That makes me feel poor. I feel poor when I must walk to work because I have no money for gas this week. I feel poor because I am poor.

Tiredbuthappy said...

I felt poor when the store on the corner four doors down from my house got held up at gunpoint. I was standing on the sidewalk holding my little son while the robbers practically brushed past me as they were running away.

Mostly I feel poor when I compare myself to other people (people who work in more lucrative fields, other PF bloggers, my syblings, my parents, my spouse's parents, many of my friends). If I compare myself, instead, to "the average American," I feel really flush.

SMB said...

I never feel "poor," but I'm not in such great shape that I don't worry about retirement, or buying a decent home, or the job market. I wonder if I'll ever feel like I have a big enough nest egg.

SMB said...

...er, we own our own home now, but may be moving sooner rather than later. It seems like right now the real estate market is such that no one is really getting a great deal, whether they're buying or selling. I could be completely wrong, since I don't really have my finger on the pulse of the market, but that's the feeling I have.

Anonymous said...

I feel poor because I'm 32 years old, worth over $450k, and I've never had a serious relationship with a woman. Being alone makes me feel poor. I would give it all away if someone would just take a chance on me...

Cap said...

John Scalzi's Being Poor list is a good addition too.

NancyWH said...

Whenever I feel inadequate or compelled to buy something based on an advertisement, I take it as a sign I need to pause and reexamine my value system.

Anonymous said...

I feel poor when I have to choose between the medication that keeps me alive and paying my heating bill. I feel poor when I realize we may have an apartment but have to live on $600 each month for EVERY other single expense. I feel poor when we need something like gas and have to sell one of the few belongings we have left to pay for it. I feel poor when I think about the fact that I cannot work due to serious life threatening illness and my husband cannot afford to leave his job even though it does not pay enough to live on because it has insurance that pays for a large portion of my medical expenses. I feel poor when I realize we cannot afford to save money because we actually need another 200 to pay all our expenses every month. I feel poor when I look at the fact that the state denied my application for a tax credit intended to help low income families pay their heating costs because they said we did not have enough income to pay our expenses last year. Despite sending proof of the loans used to pay the bills it will be 6-8 months before they decide if we deserve said credit and the help it offers- that is only 5 1/2-7 1/2 months too late to really help. I feel poor when I realize I may never be able to work but that it will be more than 3 years since applying before the government decides if I qualify as disabled for any help. I feel even poorer when I realize I have student loans and an education I may never be able to use. But I feel poorest when I wonder if we can keep paying for the medication long enough to save my life or if I will die before I am even 30.

Anonymous said...

I feel poor because I was born with nothing and after a lifetime of work, I will die with nothing.

I feel poor because I have cancer and no access to medical care. I feel poor because I wonder at night how long it will take the cancer to kill me, and if I will be able to save enough money for my wife to buy a casket before then.

God bless America.

Anonymous said...

i feel poor because i have terminal cancer, and while i have medicare, i am still trying to raise a young daughter on social security and there are many days we go without food or some other necessity. everyday is a worry of what will be shut off or what we will lose or go without.

i feel poor because we live on $600.00 a month total.

i feel poor because i have to sell my medications just to get by some months.

I feel poor because it's coming down to either do treatment to stay alive or do some kind of work to get by and die quicker.

i feel poor because i know that if i were to just die, my daughter would get more in social security benefits as a surviving child than i receive now and not have to go hungry or without anymore.

i feel blessed because i am sitting here in front of a window watching the sun come up and it gives me hope to hold on another day. i'll find her food some way today.

Anonymous said...

I feel poor because I am on medicaid, medicare, and social security disability and before the part d medicare program all my medications were free, now I have to pay a copay, and one of my medicines is not covered by any of the plans from which I was told to choose. And its a generic too! My pay did not increase but this cost saving plan haha now asks me to pay for something that I used to get for free how is this saving me money? I feel poor every year when social security sends me a notice saying how much my cost of living increase is going to be and the very next day I get a letter from food stamps telling me my foodstamp allotment is being cut by the exact same amount. Then a few weeks later I get a letter from hud telling me my rent is going up because of my cost of living increase...I had a mastectomy two years ago and I still havent had my reconstructive surgery as no plastic surgeons on this island take my medical insurance none. I feel poor because I cant just go to the beach for the day for a day of free entertainment because gasoline now costs me over $3.19 a gallon on Maui. I feel poor because I cant afford to rent a movie, I cant afford cable tv, I cant afford to each the fresh fruits and vegetables my doctor keeps telling me I need to eat. my foodstamp allotment only buys two weeks worth of groceries if I buy the kind of foods my doctor wants me to eat.

Anonymous said...

I feel poor when I look at a Long Island real estate pamphlet..

Yas said...

I can't say I feel poor, but I'm starting to really empathise with my parents when they say they're tight on cash. My dad buys my brother a game every few weeks, but that game (usually 40-50 dollars) will cost us a weekend out together, and it shows on my parents faces when they tell we have to stay at home. My dad is also in the habit of sneaking a ten or a twenty in my backpack when I go out with my friends. I know he doesn't want me to worry about money, but I always feel guilty spending it, as if I'm taking money away from him.
I lied. I do feel poor, at least sometimes. Like when I need supplies or new clothes to replace old ones, but can't ask out of worry and embarrassment. I feel poor when I need to buy a new pair of jeans, but don't want to ask, because I'm afraid it'll be too expensive, even for a basic pair.
I feel poor every time my friends show up at school in new clothes.
I feel even poorer when the heating gets shut off because we're late on our bills.
(i'm getting a job as soon as I turn 16)

Debt Hater said...

I feel poor when I lie awake at night doing the math -- I can't possibly pay for it all on the money I have. I feel poor when I remember I once had $11,000 saved free and clear and let is slip through my fingers like grains of sand. But God always provides... so it's my job to make sure now that I help him out and bring other peoplr with me.

Aahz said...

I felt pretty poor tonight when I realized I could no longer afford to pay my scarecrow.

I pay him $20/night to sit in front of the liquor store where I work in the hopes that his presence will "scare" off robbers. After getting robbed at gunpoint three times in three months I hired him last year and haven't been robbed since.

I can no longer afford to shell out $100/week when I'm only making $350/week and my expenses have risen recently.

What's truly sad is that I provide more than 50% of his net income, so this move will hurt him far more than it will help me.

Tara said...

I feel poor when I can't afford to pay for my health insurance, which is only catastrophic insurance.

Anonymous said...

i feel poor because i can't afford to get my husband the treatment he needs to help his terminal cancer or move to a house where he can freely spend his last days without worrying about stairs.

Anonymous said...

Sigh!!
I feel poor everyday when i go to look for something to eat and only find an emty fridge and know i dont have the money for groceries.

when i can only go buy 30 to 50 dollars worth of groceries once every month or so.

My shoes make me feel poor, all broken down and splitting open and cannot afford to buy any.

How about when i have to put what gas i have for my lawn mower in my vehicle just to make it to work and then cant mow my yard because i have no gas for the mower.

I feel poor just walking through my house, bare walls nothing on them, and the only furniture i have is a broken down couch, a coffe table and a tv.
Oh and my dinner table with 2 good chairs, the other 2 are broken.

I could go on and on.

Omar Cruz said...

this report is fantastic, the infomation you show us is really interesting and is good written. Do you want to see something more? you can visit too:Great investment opportunity at Costa Rica Pacific Coast, Preconstruction condos in costa rica ,
Condo sales in costa rica, Retirement property in costa rica. Visit us for more info at: http://www.ramadajaco.com/

Anonymous said...

i'm just 16
all i can say is that i feel poor when i can't give back to this world

Lily said...

Generic medications are a great way to keep your prescription drug costs down. I’ve seen ads on TV for Caduet. It has two ingredients. One is Amlodipine and the other is Atorvastatin. With my RxDrugCard I can get 30 tablets of Amlodipine for $9 and 30 tablets of Simvastatin for $9. I’ll bet they are charging more than $18 for this new drug! The unthinking public is going to pressure their doctors into giving them something just because it’s new, when something old or generic would do the job for cheaper.

Anonymous said...

what makes me feel poor?

rich friends who own so much for their age, they couldn't NOT rub it in my face if they tried!

Anonymous said...

lol; I relate to all tragically poor everything's-falling-apart people. for sure.

Anonymous said...

poor is when - you ate the last of the old long cooking rice last night and have only 2 cans of pumpkin pie filling in the cupboard- no money for required medications and less than 1/4 of a tank of gas till friday (this is Tuesday) - Rich is when you find an excellent recipe for pumpkin soup you can adjust to eat for two days, big big plus is that it sounds yummy- and you get just enough out of the change you found around the house to cover bus fare for the rest of the week. found a little "stash of the most important meds in the overnight bag - no telling how old they are but they just make the stretch.