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What do they do that I don't?

(130 Posts)
BoujiSnail Tue 19-May-20 08:26:33

Dd goes to a quite alternative school in a big city. The class is made up of very different kids but one thing I find strange is that the parents never talk about work. We live in an expensive part of the city and it seems to be me and dp are working full time, some of the European parents work ridiculously hard yet we all live in smaller houses in rougher areas. There is a large majority of parents who live in huge, £300,000 houses who do every pick up and are always on the WhatsApp group all hours of the day.
I always imagined that they worked from home during school hours and maybe stayed up all hours on Skype calls to China but during the Covid drama I've realised that this doesn't seem to be the case as they're all out on bike rides, teaching intricate geography lessons using the various items they've collected on their world travels and genuinely having a lovely time. They don't want to send their kids back until September so obviously not struggling too much.
If I sound jealous it's because I am! What is there secret? How can both parents be free every day and not seem to struggle financially? I'm dying here, working every day, striving for that promotion, promising that I will definitely play Lego as soon as I've done this meeting. Just for us to pay the mortgage on our ex council house. I pull up to little Jago's massive house where the mum is an artist and the dad is a gardener and think what am I missing?

BoujiSnail Tue 19-May-20 08:28:02

* their

MsTSwift Tue 19-May-20 08:29:12

A trust fund 😁

stairgates Tue 19-May-20 08:29:59

Maybe the dad is the local weed grower in his gardening business smile

LongPauseNoReply Tue 19-May-20 08:34:06

Maybe they've designed their lives like that?

I own my own business. It's mad me wealthy but the way I've built it up means that I only have to work about 10 hours a week. It pretty much takes care of itself. I did this on purpose so I can go to the cinema on a Tuesday morning, by myself, if I choose. I'm not doing a stealth boast before anyone jumps on me, I'm just giving my experience of my life which I've purposefully designed.

Ifeelfat Tue 19-May-20 08:39:14

Which city has “huge, expensive houses” priced at £300k? Asking for a friend...

CovidicusRex Tue 19-May-20 08:40:59

Well if they’re relying on the state for everything then the only things they really need to pay for would be a modest mortgage and food/other necessities and maybe a car or two. It’s not a huge amount of money and they could be running their own business, living off investments, have one SAHP and one working from home (so plenty of time for bike rides), they could be furloughed and so on.

Nestlyn Tue 19-May-20 08:41:49

I think it's usually a helping hand from family. Some of my really close friends and family are quite mysterious, and I'm always curious how can they afford a holiday abroad every school holiday, or how can you or your twenty year olds afford those houses when they appear to have quite ordinary jobs. I think they're regularly gifted money from parents, which I suppose is lovely for them, and I try not to give it too much thought because we have everything we need.

Frangible Tue 19-May-20 08:42:47

But based on what you think they are on bike rides and teaching intricate geography? Social media?

You would think exactly the same if you looked at my Instagram (which I maintain only to cheer up four bored grandparents who’ve not left their houses or seen us in months and want to see what our 8 year old is up to), which is full of play on the beach, beautiful walks, DS feeding the animals (our house purchase fell through just before lockdown, so we are in a very temporary rental in the country with goats and hens), sea kayaking. What you don’t see is DH on endless Zoom meetings or attached to his phone on a walk, or me getting up at 6 to do three and a half hours work before homeschooling starts, or both of us wondering how we’ll be able to find somewhere to rent or buy in the city near our son’s school and our offices when lockdown ends...

VeniceQueen2004 Tue 19-May-20 08:44:39

For one thing - you will be getting the curated highlights of their lives. You KNOW this. No-one posts on the nursery group/FB feed all the time they spend wrestling their toddler into clothes or vegging in front of the telly. I know I don't. Based on what I share you'd think all we ever did was gardening, rock painting and crafts. And you'd think they went a lot smoother than they actually did :P

Second: it doesn't matter what they do. What can you do? If you're not happy with your lifestyle only you can change it. You can do this either by reframing your own way of looking at it (compare down, not up; count your blessings etc) or by proactively trying to change it (side hustle, reduce outgoings somehow so can save more/pay off mortgage quicker etc). People say on here comparison is the thief of joy, but that's only true if you spend your time looking at what others have that you don't instead of focussing in your own resources.

Third: This is political and if you want to harness your (perfectly natural!) jealousy into something productive, then become a socialist, vote that way and encourage those in your sphere of influence to do the same. It's NOT fair or necessary little Jago has so much better a standard of living or opportunities than your child, any more than it's fair your child gets to have a secure roof over their head and homeless children living in temporary B&B accommodation or DV Shelters do not. The issue is capitalism and consumerism and neoliberal politics. You can either manage within that or fight to change it.

Personally lockdown has made me realise I have plenty and need much less, even though I am far from the richest. I am trying so hard to remember to focus on what really brings me joy (and it's never the expensive things) and not to worry about the rest. But then I never expected to have the kind of life I do now, it seems ridiculously comfortable and grown up to have a child, a mortgage, a job, some actual savings. I'm a much more 'hand to mouth, low commitment, limited planning' person by nature.

My partner was always very ambitious (almost entitled in some ways, he went to a posh school and knew families a lot wealthier than his own so I think that set his expectation levels for his future high) and struggles a lot with the 'grass is greener' way of looking at the world. I always try and remind him he's looking up at an elite from a very privileged position himself, but it doesn't help him and I suppose it might not help you. So instead I try to support him in the plans and projects he has to improve our situation as he sees it; but I'll have no truck with being told we are bad off or don't have enough. It's just not how I see it.

VeniceQueen2004 Tue 19-May-20 08:46:57

Which city has “huge, expensive houses” priced at £300k? Asking for a friend...

And that right there proves my point grin The OP's version of 'huge' may be a four bed semi in the Midlands. Heck that's MY version of huge! Whereas you're clearly thinking mansion in London :P It's all about perspective!

listsandbudgets Tue 19-May-20 08:49:16

£300k houses are hardly top end of the market. Round here we pull up in front of some houses and they were clearly a million plus.. now that's depressing!

A mixture of possible answers OP. Inheritance, trust funds, one partner older and retired but has made fortune enough to support them all, successful stock market trading, won the lottery?

OpenWheelRace Tue 19-May-20 08:49:49

Same as @LongPauseNoReply

I've worked insane hours throughout my 20s (think FT job abroad at 60 + hours a week) and set up a couple of businesses (done at night and weekends) which are now getting to the stage of ticking themselves over.

I designed it specifically so I wouldn't need to put in many hours in my 30s and have the time to travel, hobbies etc

Herecomestreble1 Tue 19-May-20 08:53:40

What industry are your businesses set up in that helped you design a wealthy lifestyle?

LockdownLisa Tue 19-May-20 08:56:20

Not really the point, but I live in a socially deprived town in the North East and the 'huge' houses here cost £300k+!!! The same house in our nearest city would easily cost twice that much. So I'd love to know the OP's definition of a huge house.

To answer the OP's question - drug dealing? Trust fund? Former very successful business? Sex working?

KatherineJaneway Tue 19-May-20 08:56:39

Which city has “huge, expensive houses” priced at £300k? Asking for a friend...

I have a friend who wants to know as well grin

nicky7654 Tue 19-May-20 09:09:49

@Ifeelfat I had to laugh at that lol My house is valued at £300,000 and it is def not huge or posh or with a massive garden!

pandarific Tue 19-May-20 09:11:38

If the huge expensive houses are REALLY 300k where you are, then most likely the people you're talking about sold up flats or small houses in a more expensive area and now have a tiny mortgage or none at all.

foxychox Tue 19-May-20 09:14:51

My school run probably thinks that about me, they don't see that I start work at 6am and finish around 8pm so that I can take off a couple of hours in the middle of the day.....

BarbaraofSeville Tue 19-May-20 09:15:35

£300k houses are hardly top end of the market. Round here we pull up in front of some houses and they were clearly a million plus

Surely that depends where you live?

I could go on all day as there's over 1000 houses on Rightmove in my county that are detached with 4+ beds.

But to answer the OPs question, there's dozens of answers, such as inheritence, or maybe they've sold a business that they spent their younger years building up to make them a lot of money? Or maybe they do most of their work at other times of year?

I know someone who made a decent income by selling a certain item in the run up to Christmas, and made enough money to not have to work much for the rest of the year.

Plus if they don't get into the 'two new cars on finance, lots of beauty treatments, stuff, eating out etc' expensive lifestyle, you can get by on surprisingly little.

Di11y Tue 19-May-20 09:18:51

I need to know what these business are that get to the stage they're ticking over!!

listsandbudgets Tue 19-May-20 09:26:12

barbaraofseville I need to move area!!

We are in a big city so probably makes a difference

silverliningclouds Tue 19-May-20 09:27:29

300k round my area will get you a 2 bed semi if your lucky you may get a 3 bed small semi or terraced for £350k but they are rare and normally need lots of work done to them

SpiltMilk100 Tue 19-May-20 09:37:07

Have some of you honestly never heard of Birmingham? I live a 15 min drive from the city centre and round here you could get a 4 bed detached for £300k. There's actually a 5 bed detached with a large garden about 5 minutes away for £300k.

Bookoffacts Tue 19-May-20 09:45:07

I think you've proved you point with above PP comments OP.
Also I think I know where you are.☺

They moved from the south.
Most own several properties and are racking it in. And most are SAHM with husbands bringing in £60000+, which is a lot outside London!!! Above pp are just objectionable. Living on £5000 a month around here is rich. Living in big house, it's still £4000 per month disposable income.

Also most graduated in 1990s, with little or no debt, went straight into professional jobs for 10 years then left to be SAHM, and bought property cheap. Houses now 300000 were 80000 when they bought them.
They don't talk about this as it's not English to do that.
They don't look ostentatiously rich for same reason.
You can tell from their expensive tastes, snobbishness, kitchen extensions, cleaner whinging, holidays and understated but expensive car. (20000+). My cars worth 1500! ☺
And their life of luxury..

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