Note: Leah in the comments says she felt uncomfortable reading this (and 2 people agreed, because they “Liked” her comment).
I can see what she means to some extent, but I should note that if you don’t want to read personal articles about me, my family or my life, you should probably try reading my far more neutral blog — The Everyday Minimalist.
This blog is far more personal because I do talk a lot about my money and my life in general.
I will also point out that this is not an article only to bitch about my relatives, it’s an angry one in response to my mom was having the green-eyed monster fits in our kitchen the other day.
She said: Wow, if only we were as rich as your aunt and uncle. What a wonderful life. We’d have a perfect life.
I tried to explain to my mom that they were millionaires, but they didn’t live as richly as what she thought — that they ate crap, spent more money on image and vanity and didn’t really have good family relationships.
I wanted my mom to know why I thought that she had a better life, even compared to my rich aunt and uncle.
Anyway, would it be any more acceptable if it were me writing about myself? Random strangers?
How about a fictional story about fake relatives just to write a “controversial” post?
(This story is really my aunt and uncle by the way, so I didn’t do that.)
I don’t want to blog in a bubble and politically correct all the time — it’s the controversial stuff that’s interesting to me, and it generates good discussion most of the time, even if it’s negative towards me and why I wrote it in the comments.
I have extended family members who are filthy rich (aunts and uncles). We’re talking in the multi-millions with multiple houses, fancy luxury cars and oodles of cash which they enjoy bragging about.
My mom envies them greatly, and my father slightly so, but I do not in the slightest. I think having too much money is probably a curse for them and their family, not a blessing.
(And no, we will never inherit any of their money. We are not considered immediate family, so they only dole out the cash to their kids, not nephews or nieces. We are considered “poor relations” to them. Update: And they’ve told us so to our face, which is why I mentioned it.)
I visited them a couple of times, and each time they don’t really act like millionaires to me, they act and live like people who don’t have any money at all.
Major Characteristics of the Poor (in my mind)
Please note that when I say “poor” I don’t mean it as a derogatory, mean or rude term. I mean they just don’t have what society would consider as enough money to live on, because as we all know, not all poor people are lazy. I am also writing this post with my parents in mind as the poor folks.
Poor people tend to not spend money on food because it’s expensive to buy fresh stuff and they’d rather not cook or don’t have time to because they’re working 3 jobs and may not have enough help at home. Or maybe they just don’t know any better or don’t know how to cook from scratch.
Poor people seem to spend a lot on vanity. Looking good, buying new patio furniture every year, keeping an immaculate, expensive garden, and keeping up appearances. I’m even thinking of middle-class folks I know who drive beautiful cars, but can’t afford to pay their utility bills.
Poor people take free stuff when it’s offered to them to save here and there (but then again.. I WOULD TOO, and I know I have to fight against the urge to do so and not clutter my life)
I also think to some extent, poor people sometimes don’t know the power of a dollar.
They have to make tough choices between saving, spending and in their purchases, they can’t see that a $5 “treat” at McDonald’s is $5 they could have saved aside for emergencies.
Of course, this is not all “poor people”, but I’m thinking of my parents in this case.. as they grew up dirt poor but have no idea how to save for the future because they’re afraid it’ll all disappear, so they spend it like mad.
As for my relatives? They act like poor millionaires.
They don’t buy good food
They will eat junk.
Cheap cuts of meat for instance. They will buy food on sale, in the cheapest cuts possible.
These are not people who are frugal in the sense that they buy cheap food because it is in their nature to save money as much as possible.
They just don’t value food or care about eating good food. It’s all CRAP.
They loved a recipe of ours when they had it at our house, but upon hearing it used a $20 bottle of wine for 5 adults, they said: Oh, too expensive to eat.
Yet they spend squillions on vanity
Custom license plates, huge fancy automobiles, multiple homes filled with antiques and fancy art.
We’re talking in the THOUSANDS here. Yet they won’t spend $20 on a bottle of wine to cook with?
They splash big amounts of money when it gives them face and status to do so, like hiring special dancers and entertainers to crowd the street in front of their home so all their neighbours can see…. but not when it’s behind closed doors.
My cousins’ wives and my cousins have at least 200 pairs of shoes each, in big name brands like Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and so on.
They’re building ROOMS in the house JUST to store their shoes and clothes.
They take napkins and other free goods
Those wet naps? Yeah, my uncle pockets all of them because in his words: “it’s money.”
Their kids don’t respect a dollar
When my cousin was given money for his birthday, he stretched out one hand behind him to snatch the money without properly turning, standing up and THANKING the donor.
He just reached out his hand, bored.. like he was entitled to free money all the time.
For them, the parents are just cash machines they can be rude to.
Worst of all? They claim to not have space for us when we visit
They have a 6-bedroom house with 4 adults living there. HOW CAN THEY NOT HAVE SPACE?
They just don’t want to put us up because:
- We’d eat their food
- We’d use their utilities
- We’d have to actually interact with them, as family
- We’d take up precious space
If I were a millionairess, it’d be something I’d do without thought especially with all the space I’d have.
Heck, I’d offer to host any family member now, even with a small apartment without much space!!
They seem to have room for everything that matters to them: shoes, clothes, accessories…. but not family.
I know this is all relative to people’s priorities and choices
Of course, in all of this I am imagining what I would consider my priorities if I were a millionairess.
I know that I put food in a high priority for myself, even without millions.
I like to buy and eat good food, and we occasionally buy $20 bottles of wine to cook a special meal with.
Frankly, the kids are just waiting for them to die
It sounds sick and sad, but it’s true.
I see it in their faces and in their attitudes.
The obligatory meeting with the parents twice a year for 2 weeks when they’d clearly rather be anywhere else.
Their heads constantly bobbing as “yes”, and never daring to contradict their parents.
The resigned natures and looks on their faces when they have to endure yet another family dinner.
The threats my uncle makes about “cutting them off” if they misbehave, don’t get married and pop out 5 kids.
The money they borrow like crazy from him ($250,000 – $500,000 for down payments on million-dollar houses).
The fact that my cousins LIE about how much they make so that their father doesn’t think they’re bums, hovering in the wings like vultures. He thinks they make $20,000 a month each, because that’s what they’ve told him. Our estimates are closer to $2000 – $5000 a month each.
I’m glad my parents don’t have millions
I visit them because I want to, I talk to them because I want to and I do and buy things for them because I want to.
I wonder if I’d turn out to be the same as my cousins if they had lots of money.
We can all think that we’d NEVER do that, or we’d NEVER be like that, but without having been put in that kind of situation, I am not sure I would be any different than my cousins.
I’m happy to NOT be uber rich in that case, because it seems like I’d eat bad food, be a brat and not have a better life than the one I currently live.
I’d rather have my life as a “poor cousin”, than to be who they’ve turned out to be.
I’d probably be spending it all on vanity and image, rather than on good food and things that really matter in life, like hosting family.
I just wonder if they’ll ever grow up, get old and regret their lives.
Money is important, to be sure… but it can sometimes be the root of discontent.