This is something I have to say frustratingly often to Tim.
There are times when he’ll mention not spending money “because we’re poor.” And I get annoyed. Because we’re not poor. We bring in a perfectly respectable $60,000 pre-tax.
Would I like it to be more? Of course. But we’re not scraping by in any sense of the word.
So why does this annoy me?
First, it pisses me off because there are plenty of people who are poor. People who can’t pay their mortgage and so lose their house. People who can’t even cover their rent. Or people whose income covers exactly enough to avoid eviction and starvation.
So when he uses the word so casually, it’s an insult to people who are truly struggling — as opposed to my just wanting us to eat out less often or otherwise watch our spending.
Second, it demeans my efforts.
I’ve worked my ass off over the last seven years to get us out of debt. Student loans, oral surgery and dentures, the move down here, etc. I estimate we’ve gotten rid of about $35,000 in debt.
So, him calling us poor means an utter lack of perspective on how far we’ve come and how much effort it took on my part to get us out of being poor (and to keep us out).
In a more recent argument/discussion (the sessions waver between the two), he clarified that, to him, being poor means not being able to have what you want when you want it.
It’s a thing, I think, from growing up. I think he was far more aware of his family’s finances than he should have been. At the very least, I don’t think he spent much time feeling like the family was secure money-wise.
And so when he was denied things, it was just a reminder that they weren’t safe. Hence, when I say no to something, it puts him right back into that uncertainty and worry.
But I remind him that we are financially okay — if not great — because I say no to things. Because I prioritize which things we should spend on.
Besides (as I also remind him) he has pretty severe ADD. If we did get what he wanted when he wanted it, then we’d be in financial trouble.
The fact is, we’re not poor.
True, we don’t put away as much money as we should. And that keeps me somewhat anxious about money, which probably doesn’t help his anxiety levels.
But we have a savings account. We have resources. Yes, we could be doing better, but there are a hell of a lot of people out there doing far, far worse.
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