Friday, April 22, 2011

A Case of the Judgies

Last weekend I was talking to my cousin, who is a 21 year old college student. She works almost full time and she's a full time student at Cal State Long Beach. We were talking about how she had joined a sorority to make friends, and how there were parts of sorority life she didn't like and wasn't involved in. One thing that came up was how a lot of the girls don't work and have a seemingly unlimited allowance from their parents. We were talking about how both of us have worked since high school, and from talking to her it seems that she is ahead of where I was at 21 in my financial wisdom. She saves, is careful with spending, and seems to have her act together in ways that took me years to learn.

As we were talking she said something that I've thought many times. "You know, I actually sort of look down on rich people. Like, I judge them for having more and not having to work as hard for it. Which is wrong, because I wouldn't want someone judging me for how much my family has."

She articulated exactly how I feel. I didn't grow up in abject poverty, but I certainly wasn't rich, and I wasn't spoiled in material ways. I've worked hard for what I have, and things like my car, furniture, and pretty much all my belongings are mine because I worked to buy them. And I'm glad for it. I would much rather have the pride of ownership over my car than know that someone just bought it for me. And I know that many wealthy people have worked hard and saved to be in that position. I hope to make good choices and be able to have a stable life and be there for my family. But I'll be honest, I judge people who haven't had to work for what they have. When I know people who own homes because their parents gave them the money for a down payment, part of me judges them. I call this sort of pride "the judgies." But again, my cousin spoke aloud the truth.

"Honestly though, that judgement is partly jealousy. Because if someone offered to buy me a car, I wouldn't say no."

Bingo. I judge them because I don't have that. And if I did, I would probably accept it. When my grandma calls and offers to buy me a new vacuum as a housewarming gift, I don't tell her no because I want the pride of ownership. I accept, and write her a thank you note afterward.

I know it's not right to judge other people. Their finances are not my business, and every family is different. But I think this is an unspoken issue for a lot of people. I want to be financially wise so I will have more later...but I was jealous of homeowners my whole life, so part of me doesn't want to become one. I know in the long run it's better to be responsible, so I'm doing that...but there's a self-hating part of that too.

Does anyone else have this struggle? How do you deal with the judgies?


  1. I used to but I don't because I don't want to be bitter. I grew up poor so most people do have more than what I had growing up. I look at wealthy people now and just think that they are given different opportunities in life that I have. Even though I grew up poor, I was fortunate to have other traits that have served me well in life. I'm not bragging here but I'm good looking, smart and naturally a smaller size than the average person. I would rather grow up poor and not have the financial backing than be naturally overweight. I think that most things even out.

    I think that is a harder concept when you are young because you haven't had that much control of your own life yet. I'm 31 and I'm in a better financial position without getting any parental financial help than many of my friends who had a ton of help. My roommate in college had everything handed to her and often didn't work in college. She is a bit lazy and that doesn't bode well later in life.

  2. I hope to learn how to live a simpler way of life from both you and your cousin!