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To think that 'poor' is a relative concept?

(43 Posts)
Onefourseventwofivenine Tue 20-Sep-16 22:31:14

My brother has all his kids at private school, he has a huge house in North London, and they have at least two holidays a year. Yet he considers himself poor because they only have one car. My DD's dad goes on holiday every year, eats out or has take aways on a regular basis and maintains a gambling account, yet claims to be flat broke. I often have something ridiculous like £1.20 in my bank in the run up to pay day. I don't begrudge anyone their money, but am a little sick of hearing how broke everyone is, as they swan off on holiday, or moan about not being able to afford a second car. I know I'm better off than many as I am (just) able to keep a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and food in the fridge, but I am so sick of hearing the 'I am so poor' whining from people who have no concept of what being poor actually is. AIBU to tell them to shut the fuck up and try walking in my shoes for a day?

JellyBelli Tue 20-Sep-16 22:32:40

Poor is not having enough of the baiscs, your brother is a whinging cunt. I would have told him to go volunteer at the local homeless shelter years ago.

Longlost10 Tue 20-Sep-16 22:35:54

I've been teaching in a children's home in East Africa, where you are considered very rich if you own a pair of shoes, or an item of underwear, the chance of eating a biscuit is a red letter day to be highlighted in the calendar weeks in advance, electricity is an occasional treat, and everyone's main concern every day is how much drinking water is there.

Yes, it is very very very relative!

RunningLulu Tue 20-Sep-16 22:39:11

It's because in the UK absolute poverty is very, very rare. At a push the definition could only be applied a percentage of 'on the streets' homeless people.

ReallyTired Tue 20-Sep-16 22:44:11

What your brother is referring to us relative poverty. Maybe by north London private school standards he is experiencing relative poverty. Relative poverty can cause social isolation and depression.

I am sure there is extreme poverty by world standards in east Africa, however there is little evidence that extreme poverty causes more depression. Ironic mental illness is more common in the west. Maybe people in east Africa are too busy trudging miles fetching water to spend time moping.

EssentialHummus Tue 20-Sep-16 22:46:36

It's all relative. A family like your brother's who have the house, private school and hols will feel poor because their neighbour has two cars rather than one. That neighbour will feel poor because the bloke over the road has a Porsche. And so on.

Leaving aside actual poverty/basic needs, inhabiting the idea that comparison is the thief of joy is worth more than most pay rises.

travellinglighter Tue 20-Sep-16 22:46:48

Tell him to visit Bangladesh on his next foreign trip and when he gets back, get him to explain how poor he is.

CremeEggThief Tue 20-Sep-16 22:46:52


JellyBelli Tue 20-Sep-16 22:51:26

Absolute poverty is not at all rare in the UK. There are people who do not have furniture and carpets, adequate clothing, or a cooker, or money for fuel to cook the food from the food bank.

Relative poverty is a choice if you have sent your kids to private school.

madein1995 Tue 20-Sep-16 22:54:56

YANBU. I view being poor as not having enough money to put food on the table or shoes on your kids feet, hiding from the landlord/having trouble paying rent, struggling to afford new winter coats when they're needed etc. I'm not rich but not poor either - there;s always food in the fridge and electricity, I have clothes and shoes in my wardrobe, I'm able to buy neccessities, I can afford somewhere to live. Some people would probably think my lifestyle is poor, others would think I live the lap of luxury so it definitely is relative smile grates on me when the government states poverty thresholds because everyone is different. For me, the amount you live on doesn't matter - as long as you have the neccesities you're not poor in my book.

Champagneformyrealfriends Tue 20-Sep-16 22:55:17

My mum does this-reckons to be poor but drinks wine/cava most nights and is constantly ordering new clothes. Gives me the rage when I have friends with less money coming in that going out and a cocklodger partner who won't get a job angry

ReallyTired Tue 20-Sep-16 23:00:03

Absolute poverty does not exist in the uk. We have a benefits system, but granted its a tiny amount to live on. We have free education and health care. There people who fail to claim benefits they are entitled to.

Understandably some people struggle to live on a benefits budget, however that doesn't mean it's impossible. Food banks exist to help people in times of temporary crisis. You can't just rock up to your local food bank. People are referred. Even then they only get food for two or three days.

People die from easily curable diseases due to lack of money in lots of countries.

mrsclooneytoyou Tue 20-Sep-16 23:04:05

I grew up in absolute poverty. Went without food and heat on a regular basis.
Not having 2 cars is not being poor. Your brother is being a idiot.

GoLightlyHollie Tue 20-Sep-16 23:04:57

Warning. I'm going to sound like a boastful cunt here but I am just making a point. I am wealthy in terms of your average Joe ( the £2m house, couple of rental properties, 2 fancy cars, private schools, several holidays a year, am a stay at home mom etc). But I also live on a road where most houses are £3-4m plus, the stay at home moms also have full time nannies and their SVUs are this years models. So yes, compared to the people I spend my time with, I feel the poor relation. Compared to most people in the UK - let alone those in Africa - I'm not broke. Am fully aware that when I'm thinking to myself how broke I am, it's a very relative concept. First world problems, if you will.

chitofftheshovel Tue 20-Sep-16 23:14:13

I totally get you OP.
I guess they mean pennies in the bank (sometimes) so they have xxxxxxx in capital but not a load to spend. It doesn't make me envy them.
I'm rich in other ways.

Onefourseventwofivenine Wed 21-Sep-16 17:01:21

I guess I just get pissed off when people who have so much moan about not having enough. I wouldn't moan if I owned my own home and could afford to send my kid to private school and go on holidays. I mean, where does it end? My brother is a good person and works like crazy, but he is quite caught up in the pursuit of riches, which has never interested me. I would like to own my own home, but I certainly don't tie myself up in knots about it. I go without a hell of a lot so that my daughter doesn't have to, and I am very happy with that choice. It does really get to me that I currently can't afford to rent a house with a garden, because that's something that my daughter really wants. I would also love to have enough money to take her on holiday, and I feel bad that she doesn't get those opportunities. But then I think that the world will still be out there when she's older, and what she does have is a safe and loving home with me. She isn't going to go out into the world expecting everything to just fall into her lap. I work and I study, I don't have much money, but I'm independent and get my own shit sorted. I hope I'm giving her the tools to grow into a strong and capable woman who understands the importance of working her socks off to achieve her dreams, and doesn't see a massive bank balance as the only measure of success in life.

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 21-Sep-16 17:05:53

I wouldn't moan if I owned my own home and could afford to send my kid to private school and go on holidays. Not now, no. Because relative to where you are, that would be great. But if you were surrounded by very rich people for a few years, you might. It's psychology, innit?

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 21-Sep-16 17:08:42

Try that.

Thefishewife Wed 21-Sep-16 17:17:59

In the uk mainly thanks to the left we have lost perspective on what poverty is

During the riots I can remember the Bbc going on about poverty being the cause and there poor children

Who had nikes ,I phones or blackberry as was the fashion at the time Ect that is not poor that's nit fucking having your priortys stright

And I am defiantly not giving a hoot about anyone who claims they have no money but has either sky or a pet or both

DownWithThisSortaThing Wed 21-Sep-16 17:23:53

Yes I agree and it does get on my nerves.
My brother and SIL are nearly paid off their mortgage, good jobs with decent salaries - double ours, have 2 cars and a holiday every year yet never stop harping on about being 'poor as church mice' (their words) hmm we have a mortgage and a car but no holidays and I honestly feel that were doing well, we don't have much disposable income but we're lucky to be in the position we are IMO.

Thefishewife Wed 21-Sep-16 17:25:36

Saying that though my husbands family think we are pretty much down and outs

We used to live in a coucil house We now we own our own home on a normal road and have a seconed had car I have actually given up telling them we don't live in a coucil home any more because they don't listen

But because they all live in mansions and do there weekly shop in marks and Spencer's they think we are beggers they even send us a care package on each year 😳😬

It has long life milk
3 winter coats one for each child
And usually some tinned bits
All from marks of course

At first I was a bit like 😳😳but fuck it coats are not cheap lol

witsender Wed 21-Sep-16 17:26:47

Yanbu. I work for a food bank, shit like this gives me the rage.

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 21-Sep-16 17:30:13

All from marks of course Ooooo lovely. Send them my way. grin

Heatherbell1978 Wed 21-Sep-16 17:33:16

Sounds like keeping up with the jones' at its worst. I live a comfortable life, nice house in the suburbs, good schools and we go on holidays and manage to save as well. We're the only people on our street with one car because we only need one (neither of us need it for work) and I've been asked a few times whether we'll be getting a second...kind of annoys me a bit! But YANBU, people need to take a step back sometimes and watch the news.

phillipp Wed 21-Sep-16 17:40:07

I wouldn't moan if I owned my own home and could afford to send my kid to private school and go on holidays. I mean, where does it end?

You don't actually know that though. If you are surrounded by wealthier people it can make you feel your don't have enough.

However what your brother describes as poor is, in my opinion, actually just called 'spent up'.

My dbro can't afford private schools etc but gets an OK wage. He and his wife have several weekends away with their friends each year, Lots of expensive days etc. They then complain they are to poor for a family holiday.

He doesn't wings to me anymore. We have one week away as a family and that's it. Last time he winged I pointed out that he could afford if he stopped spending money elsewhere and pointed out that I could afford a week away and 4-6 weekends abroad each year. The told him e wasn't skint, he was spent.

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