Advanced search

Threads in this topic are removed 90 days after the thread was started.

Patronised because they think we are poor?

(147 Posts)
gamma999 Wed 23-May-18 13:10:36

Me and my husband generally live well below out means. We've lived in a small ex-council house for 10 years that we own outright and we have one paid for 8 year old car we got second hand and a a large amount in savings between us. We are both pretty minimalist and while we have what we consider nice things we don't tend to have anything too flashy. I also work from home and I think a lot of people we know think I don't work at all when I do.

Because we don't display any of the obvious consumerist trappings of having a good income and savings people tend to assume we are poor and then patronise us. For example I have a cousin who is always reassuring me that if I work hard enough in the future I too could move to a private modern build like her and drive a flash new car on the never, never. I know through my aunt that she and her husband are up to their eyes in debt trying to keep up a lifestyle they can't afford and that they are currently on the verge of divorce over her spending.

My sister in law is a hoarder and constantly ordering fake designer tat from china thinks its a shame I have to make my own clothes and cushion covers and cook all our meals from scratch when she just ubers her dinner or eats out but that maybe if I got a proper job like her in a call centre I could afford a better lifestyle?

I earn a lot more than she does working part time than she does working full time but we don't tell people what we have and we don't have the outward trappings the people around us might expect to go with our income and savings.

Basically I don't care how they chose to spend it even if I think its daft to get into debt for a lifestyle you can't afford but I do get annoyed at people patrionisng me based on an assumption or expectation!

TobysAunt Wed 23-May-18 13:13:54

Smile and nod. You are living your life and they are living theirs.

gamma999 Wed 23-May-18 13:18:01

yeah I do, I don't want to actually blab to anyone irl about our savings etc but it just winds me up a bit sometimes its happened on three seperate occasions this week...grr mostly because we aren't going abroad this year on holiday, we could but want to go somewhere specific in the UK.

PatriciaHolm Wed 23-May-18 13:18:12

Possibly. But then you are looking down your nose at them too, to be fair....

PlowerOfScotland Wed 23-May-18 13:18:25

Use the smugness as a shield and you'll be grand.

gamma999 Wed 23-May-18 13:21:25

I'm not really and I don't look down my nose at them they just patronise me and pin as the poor relation, its the fact that its expected you display your income in this country in terms of lifestyle and consumer goods. Perhaps I should have made this in aibu but wanted it to vanish.

Bunchofdaffodils Wed 23-May-18 13:27:53

Sounds annoying but people make assumptions all the time. You sound very happy with your life so ignore.. Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

neonyellowshoes Wed 23-May-18 13:52:30

Are you me? smile

Just enjoy being quietly smug.

Everyone thinks I'm poor too.

RoseWhiteTips Wed 23-May-18 14:08:27

Is the amount you have saved in 6 figures?
If so, cool beans.

JustHereForThePooStories Wed 23-May-18 14:08:42

I have a situation like this with my sister. She’s in a well-paid profession and her husband earns a reasonable wage.

My husband has a very well paid job, as do I. However, my job has quite an unusual title so a lot of people wouldn’t have an idea of the salary range.

Their house is bigger than ours, but we paid twice as much for ours as we live in an expensive city and didn’t want a commute. We’ve overpaid our mortgage massively and have built very high equity.

They have two cars (bought secondhand). We have one car (don’t need one each due to where we live). It’s brand new, and a luxury model.

When they travel, they like to fly with economy airlines and stay in hostels etc so go to some far flung locations. We tend to stay closer to home, but like luxury accommodation.

They’re both public sector so I know their pay scales (my job is linked to work with pay models in PS). Based on each of them being at the top of their pay scale, we earn more than double what they do.

All of this is fine- horses for courses etc and it matters not a jot, but she has this weird perception of it where she’ll often mention that we can only afford a smaller house, clucks about how we would struggle if we needed to buy a second car, and how they’ve been to country X/Y/Z so far this year and it’s a shame we only managed a fortnight in Wherever. She often gives me unsolicited advice about how I should set up a pension and “squirrel away a few pounds if I have it” (I have a fantastic pension, and a I’ll be able to retire at 50). When I told her I had a great pension and started a discussion around AVCs, she told me I obviously didn’t understand a lot about personal finance and should get my husband to sort a pension out for me.

Other smug remarks about how it’s a shame I didn’t pursue a qualification in her industry so I could have a job as “good” as hers.

She’s made comments behind my back to family along the lines of “poor JFTPS with her little house. Bet she wishes she could have a big one like mine” or “if they saved up they could buy a second car like us”.

I’ve tended to handle it by quietly saying we’re happy as we are. I’ve told her my job pays well, our mortgage is proportionally low etc. but I don’t think she believes me. More specifically, I don’t think she believes anyone in the family could have a job paying more than she earns.
She accepts that my husband has a high salary, but just assumes I’m a financial burden on him (I actually earn marginally more than him).

I just let her crack on with it. It is quite funny because my family think it’s hilarious that she genuinely doesn’t seem to see what’s in front of her.

If we’re ever out for lunch, she insists on paying for my meal and implies that it’s because I wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise. I used to resist and argue, now I order another glass of wine and smile sweetly when she reaches for the bill grin

gamma999 Wed 23-May-18 14:13:01

JHFTPS, thats amazing yes I should just play the poor card and let them treat me in future too!

Rosewhitetips, yes it is grin

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Wed 23-May-18 14:16:28

I think some people are just so insecure that they see materialism as a way of validating themselves and making themselves feel important.Keeping up with the Jones. It’s a shame for them really.

gamma999 Wed 23-May-18 14:43:16

Yeah, I think that in life there is a game that a lot if not most people play and the all want you to join in as if how they exist in the perceptions of others is more important to them than how they are with themselves.

Daddybegood Wed 23-May-18 15:30:23

It sounds very much like your SIL is insecure about something Gamma, she is using something false (material goods, home, status) to justify what she believes is her superiority over you. But the bad news is that even if you went out and bought the big house/car she will not change and will just find something else to be insecure don't even bother to lower yourself to her values or you will end up just as miserable and insecure as she is.....just carry on enjoying what you have and laugh at her patronising disapproval.
My SIL is exactly the same. She constantly puts her sister (my wife) down anyway but when we got together 11 years ago she also took aim at me. We lived in my small 2 bed bachelor pad and she had nothing good to say about it. She sneered that I was writing a book, and told everyone that I was unemployed. The reality was that I retired v.early, paid off mortgage and had significant savings and investments but I wouldn't tell anyone and just thought, she can think what she likes. Then we had kids and again she was very audibly telling everyone that our house was too small and that I was still not working even though I had 3 kids to feed. She visited once and while i made her another lunch said "so this is all you do all day?" then shrugged to her partner saying 'it's me that's got to pick up the pieces'.
My wife returned to work, not because of money but because she found full time motherhood hard, so I became a full time dad, which she was unsurprisingly disapproving of. She asked my wife if she found it hard going out to work whilst I 'sat at home' even though I have never taken a penny off her for any bill, food etc. Eventually after 3 kids I begged my wife not to return to work as we didn't need the money but my SIL somehow inferred from this that we were now both living off taxpayers like her!!
Anyway, we continue to live our lives but every phone call from her to my wife was always full of concern (but concealed gloating) which really began to piss both of us off.
We needed a bigger house with the three kids so eventually bought a larger family house, we also gave her a few grand as we made a significant sale from one investment, she never even thanked me although she did thank my wife.....but do you think she is now approving or less patronising? No chance - she came to stay a month ago for 5 FECKING DAYS was waited on hand and foot and didn't have a single positive thing to say. The bedroom (which we have up for her) was too small, the room was too hot and the road (a quiet private road) was 'much noisier' than hers. I sunk to her level however when she tried to imply that I must have got a high interest loan to buy the house, so I told her we didn't need a mortgage....her face dropped and she walked around looking like a slapped arse for the rest of the stay.
The truth is one day when the kids have left i hope we will move back to that same small 2 bedroom pad as we have just rented it out, but I am positive she will assume we have hit rough times and again be disapproving / patronising towards us.....but in the meantime I will just have to carry on ignoring her obvious insecurity although I have said to my wife that we will have to find an excuse if she ever threatens to stay again.
It ain't easy though to deal with such people so you have my sympathy.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Wed 23-May-18 16:54:14

Oh god Daddybegood, if I had a friend like that I’d drop them like a hot brick. You’re stuck with her. Sympathies.

TuTru Wed 23-May-18 16:59:07

I AM poor. It’s not an insult. It just is what it is. So what if other people think you are poorer than they are? Doesn’t matter one bit. Enjoy your life how you want xx

GloucesterRd Wed 23-May-18 17:07:04

Showing your wealth has been going on for time immemorial and will continue to do so.

I posted a thread about the area in Kensington to which I need to buy a flat. My budget is one million. Soon I got a one upper telling me the “real Kensington” is on the other side of the road lol! (Anyone who knows the area, I would be greatful for advice.)

That’s life. Some people equate wealth with worth. I went to a drinks recently and asked a guy what he did and he replied “I work for a couple of billionaires”. I have no idea whether he was their banker or their cleaner but to him their money was obviously the most significant thing!

GloucesterRd Wed 23-May-18 17:08:05


ShatnersBassoon Wed 23-May-18 17:14:12

I have a relative like you, quietly loaded. I do think it's a shame that they've straitened their existence so much. They don't want to spend on travel, or eating out, or treating themselves in any way, which I think is sad when they've spent the majority of their lives working hard but reap no real reward. It all seems a bit fruitless, just to admire the bank balance. I think not spending became slightly addictive to them a long time ago, and they enjoy doing without and making do. They are unashamed inverted snobs, which fuels the need to say 'that'll do us' about their choices.

It's their business though, of course. Only they and their kids are missing out, so nobody says anything.

Daddybegood Wed 23-May-18 17:19:28

To be honest msAdorobelle it's my wife I feel sorry for, I'd drop her in a heartbeat but my wife says it would upset her mum if they fell out, so like Gamma we'll just have to suck it up and ignore (as much as possible) for a while....

mimibunz Wed 23-May-18 17:23:50

Just smile and ask if she’s ever heard of stealth wealth.

Melliegrantfirstlady Wed 23-May-18 17:29:07


Does shattners post resonate with you?

Loonoon Wed 23-May-18 17:36:59

I agree you should just smile sweetly and ignore her but can I ask what you are saving for? My DF and my mum worked hard, lived frugally and saved loads intending to enjoy the money when they retired. Sadly DF died at 53 leaving my mum a very wealthy and unhappy widow. All their dreams of travelling together came to nothing and she eventually gave most of the money to her grandchildren.

Of course we should all be sensible and provide for our uncertain futures but I try to also have some fun with money too. There are no pockets in a shroud.

Bloodybridget Wed 23-May-18 17:37:01

What is this about wanting other people to realise/know/care how much money you have? Or whether you have a mortgage, own outright or rent? Or what sort of holidays you can afford? And why would you want to know this about anyone else?

kartsunnie Wed 23-May-18 17:37:28

I am honestly speechless, are people really this shallow. You seem to be doing well, so keep on doing you!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: