Financial Success Shame?

On a message board that I routinely hang out on, there was recently a discussion of people’s finances and whether or not they could afford certain items. As with all discussions of this type, there were some people who stated that they would have huge trouble affording these things and other people said that they would be able to afford almost anything. As the discussion got more heated, two posters who had mentioned their financial success and ability to afford most things were called “lucky” and “fortunate” by other posters.

The first poster responded by hemming and hawing and saying that yes, they had been lucky and that yes, things had kind of always gone th

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7 Responses to Financial Success Shame?

  1. shaabenanizer says:

    Funny, I’ve seen something similar in a home design website. When asked how much square footage the followers have, those living in less than 650 sq ft respond with martyr pride whose those with more than 1000 sq ft acted embarrassed and ashamed. Some of the commentators said those 1000 sq ft + people should not be ashamed as they probably worked hard to acquire the home of their dreams.

  2. dfeucht says:

    One other thing – I don’t believe that thinking you are fortunate to be in good financial condition means you have shame in what your situation is. I believe that I have worked hard to get to where I am in and will continue to work hard to stay there, but also believe I am fortunate to be in the situation I am in. I realize that many people did not have the means and support I had growing up that built a foundation giving me a higher probablity to succeed than those who were missing those built in support sytems.

  3. skydivingchic says:

    dfeucht makes an excellent point. The fact of the matter is that most people on these forums are from the US and other well developed, established countries. We are lucky to have been born here. Generally speaking someone born in the US to a middle class family has FAR more support and opportunities than literally billions of people on the planet. Simply by being born in the US (and other similar countries) puts us in the top few percent of the world in terms of wealth and opportunity.

    None of that is to say that we don’t work hard for our success or shouldn’t be proud of it. I know I have. But I also know that I am lucky to have been born into a time and a place in which opportunites are available.

  4. Jaime says:

    Absolutely, you can certainly credit or blame luck for the circumstances of where you were born and the quality of the family you were born into. It is easier to get ahead if you have fewer disadvantages to overcome. And if you have fewere hurdles than others (no major medical catastrophes, no major personal crises like being sexually assaulted, no history of chronic depression, etc) then you are lucky in your circumstances as well. It’s a way of putting your success in perspective and realizing that while you worked hard, educated yourself and made smart decisions, that there’s also a certain amount of luck involved in life. It doesn’t denigrate the fact that you’ve done things to insulate yourself against disasters (like the current economy) and to allow you to take advantage of opportunities that may come along. I think personal effort definitely plays a bigger role than luck, but luck is important too.

    However, most people when they’re talking about a financially successful or secure person being lucky aren’t referring to their background. It seems like there are many people out there who think financial success of any sort is a matter of luck – mostly because they blame their own lack of financial success on bad luck.

    It is easier to blame back luck for your misfortunes than it is to be self-critical and realize where you need to make changes. It’s easier when you compare yourself to someone who had similar advantages and disadvantages but they achieved greater success, to blame it on luck instead of poor decisions you made. It’s a way to ignore your own role in your life’s failures by blaming it all on bad luck.

  5. Minny says:

    Sure, there are individuals in our western society who are unable to do a lot of things due to mental or physical disability – but these people are relatively few.

    ‘The harder I work the luckier I get’ was said by Samuel Goldwyn, but there were others before him who said similar. I know people who are wealthy, from very different walks of life. It isn’t necessary to have a college degree.

    I only discovered the benefits of thrift five years before retiring. If I had practiced that for the twenty years before retiring I would have had a million pounds in the bank. Luck?

  6. Gail says:

    It is crazy that it is okay to have stuff but then to admit that the stuff is all paid for, and that you have no debt and have money in the bank it is a whole different story. Nobody really wants to admit how much debt they are in and so someone admitting to no debt scares the pants off of people who are buried in it and thinking everyone else is also.

  7. asmom says:

    That’s odd, I’ve never met anyone who was ashamed of their financial success. That doesn’t mean they are prideful or braggarts but they are definitely not ashamed.

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