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To say your good fortune is down to luck....

(315 Posts)
Shallowstreams Tue 31-May-16 15:47:12

On threads here I keep reading people saying how they've 'worked hard' and as such can pay off their entire mortgage by mid thirties or similar.

But most people work hard and that's a distant dream. It's only achievable to get and pay off a decent sized mortgage if you've had the luck in whatever shape or form to get an extremely high paying job or a very low mortgage perhaps because of family help or inheritance.

I work very hard and earn very well as does my husband yet our mortgage won't be paid off for many many years, and I'm almost 40.

It just annoys me that people seem to think they've managed to achieve this as they've worked harder than others and are not acknowledging the good fortune that has put them in this position


Yabbadabbo2 Tue 31-May-16 15:54:25

Yes yabu.

Not just down to luck as can be sacrifice ( lack of holiday)or just not wasting money on life non necessities such as new cars when the old one is fine or happy to buy cheaper brands and clothes. It can be a whole host of reasons and not just luck.

doozie90 Tue 31-May-16 15:54:28

YANBU. It is entirely down to luck.

If it were only down to hard work I would be the most successful, richest person I know.

But I've been very unlucky.

OurBlanche Tue 31-May-16 15:54:50


Not because your thoughts are wrong but because, in psychology, there i a very well known theory that explains the attitude towards luck. Some people assign good things to luck, some to hard work. Some people assign bad things to bad luck, others to an error of their own. Internal and external attributions, neither are right/wrong, they are both just explanations of a human behaviour!

It is generally assumed to be a 50 : 50 split.

So I fortell a whole thread with 50% of posters getting angry at the other 50%, again!

PPie10 Tue 31-May-16 15:56:23

Yabu, some people really do work harder than others and sacrifice more.

trixymalixy Tue 31-May-16 15:58:51

It's a combination of the two IMO.

Luck to be born with the talents to get yourself in the position to have a well paying job and hard work to get the qualifications necessary and to work your way up to being well paid.

I know plenty of talented people who can't be arsed working hard to get on and plenty of hard working people without the luck to be born with the talents to get on.

ChocChocPorridge Tue 31-May-16 15:59:04

I think luck plays a part, as does who you know, but I also think that you can make some luck by putting yourself in the way of it - I'm doing OK, largely because I've up sticks and moved about 6 times, following better jobs. I could have stuck at any one of them, but then I wouldn't have been in such a strong position (then again, I would have the money it's cost me moving countries, so perhaps I wouldn't be in such a different position)

LunaLoveg00d Tue 31-May-16 16:00:34

I don't believe in "luck". We are a long way from paying off our mortgage but are financially secure but luck has nothing to do with it. The only piece of luck could be seen as DH and I ending up in adjacent student accommodation one year at Uni. After that, the situation is entirely of our making.

It's not luck that we decided to move from one end of the country to another in order to get a job after Uni. It's not luck which has helped me build up a portfolio of clients for a work at home business (it's being very proactive and dedicated). It's not luck which meant I didn't get pregnant until we could afford to. It's not luck which means we don't spend beyond our means.

You make your own "luck" by making sensible, considered decisions and being open to opportunities when they arise.

BrendaFurlong Tue 31-May-16 16:03:10

Because hard work is one of many factors which influence outcomes in life: parenting, health, geography, psychological make up, class, educational opportunities and even birth order can all have an effect. If only hard work were relevant, we'd have to conclude that the 896 million people who (in 2012) were living below the extreme poverty line (living on less than, at current prices, $1.90 per day) could work their way into success and that's obviously not the case. Even in a wealthy country like the UK, hard work alone is not the determining factor in financial success.

OwlinaTree Tue 31-May-16 16:03:28

Well it depends. You might choose to live in a smaller house and therefore have a smaller mortgage. You might pay that off quicker.

Some people choose to make massive mortgage payments and forgo holidays etc to pay it off quicker.

Some people might be mortgage free due to an inheritance, but might not feel very lucky if it's because their parents both died young for eg.

In this particular eg I would say YABU. Sorry

RunRabbitRunRabbit Tue 31-May-16 16:07:50

It is both luck and smart working. Neither is enough alone. Except if you win the lottery, which isn't true for most of us.

That old saying about the harder I work the luckier I get is often true though. The richest people I know have sacrificed a lot and made decisions I would not have made. They had luck too of course.

Nevertheless, I had the same opportunities as some of those rich people I know and I didn't grab the same opportunities because I was chicken and/or didn't see the opportunity as being as good as it was and/or was nicely comfortable and couldn't be arsed.

It is never simple.

GiddyOnZackHunt Tue 31-May-16 16:08:04

I'm one of the combination people. A mixture of hard work and good luck is generally best. I think people who say it isn't down to luck haven't necessarily had bad luck like accidents or serious illness. Making good choices and swerving bad things plus hard work.

WeirdAndPissedOff Tue 31-May-16 16:08:45

I think understanding of both positions is best.
People naturally feel slighted if you tell them either that they are doing well because they were lucky, or that they're struggling because they don't work hard enough - and rightly so.

I also think it's down to both - there is a certain element of luck/opportunities etc. But people also work very hard and make sacrifices to get where they are.

And I'm in the "lucky but made stupid decisions" camp, so can't affiliate with either! grin

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 31-May-16 16:12:28

Nothing is down to luck. Good or bad.

It is down to privilege, be it colour or class based, utilising opportunies and making good choices.

Godstopper Tue 31-May-16 16:12:32

I do find that it is often those who have inherited, had the benefit of an expensive education, etc., who think that their relative wealth is hard earned, and that we could all have such things with a little bit of effort. That's delusional.

I come from a very poor background, and now have a PhD. Those who are succeeding in academia? Well, in my subject, I am in a minority, and it is becoming tiring: if you don't talk the talk, have the misfortune to be born a woman, and have had an expensive education, then the odds are against you. When (if?) I get my first academic job, I'll be putting it down to a combination of luck and hard work. Clearly, the latter is not sufficient on its own.

It is very difficult to move beyond your social class, and really, those who have grown up privileged have no business telling me to work a little harder or live within my means when I am doing all the right things to secure my first job and have no debts. The failure to acknowledge the role luck has played in their lives is mind boggling.

chickenowner Tue 31-May-16 16:14:53

I think it's a bit of both. I feel that I've been very lucky in my life, but then I have always been sensible with money too. I save every month, pay into 2 pension schemes, and overpay the mortgage on my rental property. It would be very easy to spend all I earn but I would rather be secure in the future. When I was in my 20s I saved enough for a deposit to buy a house to let out. (I lived overseas at the time so bought it as an investment, not to live in).

On the 'lucky' side; I am from a generation who enjoyed free university education (I'm now a teacher); my parents supported me through 5 years of study so I had very limited debt to pay off after graduating; my DP's parents gave him the money which bought our house, so we have no mortgage; my car was a gift from a family member. All this means that I can afford to work part time. I do feel very lucky.

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Tue 31-May-16 16:17:10

Ive juggled multiple jobs since I was a teenager and invested wisely so that I hit 30 with no mortgage.

I started with an inheritance of £300 that I used to start a business at age 16.

So OP, I think its rude to put it down to luck. You're literally shitting on all of the effort that I put in for 15 years.

KondosSecretJunkRoom Tue 31-May-16 16:17:29

I think some good luck is earnt through hard work although its influence is greatly overestimated by those lucky enough to be born in to happy and affluent families.

Monkeyinshoes Tue 31-May-16 16:19:05


And, because he explains it better than I ever could, I shall link to Tim Minchins occasional address.

Scroll down to point 3

InsufficientlyCaffeinated Tue 31-May-16 16:20:09


This is interesting from Oliver Burkeman

Basically the more you have the more likely you are to attribute it to hard work rather than luck.

SilverDragonfly1 Tue 31-May-16 16:20:51

Exactly what Alis said. You may work hard, but unless you are lucky enough to not be disabled, to go to a school where you have decent teaching (doesn't need to be a wonderful or well regarded school in itself, just have the opportunities for a student prepared to apply themselves and work), have the genetic inheritance of intelligence needed to pass exams well, you're going nowhere. And all of those things are purely 'throw of the dice' circumstances.

SilverDragonfly1 Tue 31-May-16 16:25:52

Congratulations Troll. I'm sure the fact of living in a time when jobs were available for teenagers and choosing to buy stocks that ended up doing well (because obviously investing isn't gambling at all) is all down to the hard work you put in in utero.

That's not meant to 'shit on' your efforts, since you obviously did work hard and make sacrifices! However, it's silly to pretend none of that was down to fortunate chance. If you were a teen now, good luck getting one job, let alone multiple ones. If your stocks had done badly, as many others will have done at the time, where would you be?

Witchend Tue 31-May-16 16:27:09

It is definitely a bit of both.
If I give an example of someone U knew who got right to the top of an international company.
He was lucky in that he got a good promotion relatively young, then his immediate superior died unexpectedly and he was asked to step forward.
However he was also incredibly hard working, and family life (which he loved, he was wonderful to us as children) was often put to one side. My df would not have risen so high even if he'd had the sane opportunities because he wouldn't have been prepared to spend as much time travelling around away from home.

People have said with dd1 she's lucky to get certain opportunities in school. She's often been the one chosen to meet a celebrity, or to represent the school at something grand etc. However you can trust her to be there, with the right things, looking near and tidy, early, be polite speaking up when necessary and quiet when appropriate and to always work her best and not complain.

Dd2 gets amazing opportunities out of school though. Again she's sometimes told she's lucky. On the basis she's got most of them due to a congenital physical disability you can query people's use of the word "luck". hmm

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 31-May-16 16:28:34

Some luck done hard work.
The vast majority of what have achieved was hard work. I worked hard to get get good A-levels, I worked really hard to get a good degree. I slogged my guts out working really long hours to get a partnership opportunity. I work hard to pay for that opportunity.
I then split from my husband, we got 50% each.
He drank, he smoked, he took lots foreign holidays and has generally frittered away his 50%.
I don't drink, I don't smoke, I go away for three nights camping once a year, we rarely eat out. I only have a small mortgage and still own my business that I am about to sell part off.
He thinks I got lucky and have 'fleeced him'. No I worked really hard to get to my current position.

doozie90 Tue 31-May-16 16:28:37

Troll were your investments really wise? Or were they lucky?

How about people who are made redundant? That's bad luck.

And you can't account for how other people will behave. If people do things that affect you badly (see for example a manager making you redundant) then of course that it bad luck.

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