Rich or poor, everyone can learn something from others.
Food Stamps vs The 1% and the Difference in Growing Up
“I grew up on food stamps and the free lunch program, my boyfriend’s parents are quite literally part of the ‘1%.’
There are moments – gifts from his parents are always well thought out high-quality essentials, while my family… does what they can.
It’s embarrassing at family dinners sometimes when his mom makes amazing roasted vegetables and I prefer the canned version because it’s the only veggies I ever ate as a kid.
He got to play instruments in school – I really wanted to be in band, but we couldn’t afford a trumpet.
There are a lot of little things, too. I had to do a lot of rapid learning once I got to college because good spending habits, organization, productivity, etc. don’t just appear out of nowhere.
Tidbit I just thought of – there are also a handful of hobbies/activities that only happen with money (scuba, equestrianism, skiing, climbing, spelunking, water sports, even cycling). Hard to have experience with those as a kid unless your family has the money for it, and I personally do not deal well with the envy of opportunities I never had.”
Woman Doesn’t Realize How Wealthy She Is
“The biggest thing I’ve realized is that she doesn’t realize how rich they are/were. Any time I’ve mentioned it, the response has been something like, ‘We weren’t really wealthy,’ with a list of mitigating factors like, ‘mom had to work and dad’s business failed once.’ But her parents are slightly above average in a wealthy area of the country. She didn’t feel rich because she went to (private) school with the children of the super rich. She doesn’t realize the enormous number of uncommon opportunities she nonetheless had (nor how absurdly few I had in comparison). I think she intellectually knows it, but doesn’t comprehend it. I’d still choose the farm over the wealthy suburbs or city, though, so there is no bitterness about it.”
The Rich Girl Works Harder Than The Poor Boy
“I grew up wealthy, but unfortunately my family lost their wealth over time. My boyfriend, on the other hand, grew up very poor.
I’m working on earning my 2nd degree. My boyfriend sits on his behind looking for jobs, because every time he’s hired he ultimately loses his job. I feel like I can’t depend on him and I’m certainly tired of supporting the household. I work full time and go to school full time. Why should things be comfortable for him, when I’m working so hard and can’t put any money away? Part of me wants to pack up and leave. He would become homeless very quickly if I go, but I’m at the point where I need a man that works.
Money isn’t everything, but it’s a bigger part of relationships than most people want to admit. I think I would be better off without him.”
A Woman’s Husband Appreciates Her Parents’ Wealth
“My parents are part of the less than 1%. They own properties in Hawaii and when my husband and I were dating (dated for 8 years and then married now going on 3 years) I went with my parents every year and he stayed. He came with about 2 years ago and had an amazing time.
It has been fun for me seeing him discover things I had previously taken for granted (eg: travel, food, activities) for the first time. He is from WV and is 1 of 5 boys and grew up poor. His dad was killed when he was young so he’s never expected anything he has had or has been given. I have also learned a lot about the farm way of life and living off of the land from his family.
My sister’s husband has a hard time saying thank you and expects a lot from my parents. He never really seems grateful and he has also never had to work hard for anything he has. My parents have worked hard for everything. both come from working class families of 6. So they have always expected us to earn our own way. My parents love doing things for my husband. They love taking him on vacation as he shows his gratitude freely and unprovoked. They love his enthusiasm for experiencing new things in life, which was one of the things that made me fall in love with him.”
See The World Through Each Other’s Different Experiences
“I grew up rich. Not private school rich, but once a month, my mom would casually have between $2-500 and she would decide to delegate to us going on shopping sprees. I never had to worry about anything. My parents didn’t live a lavish lifestyle and saved, but we did just as well as my friend’s family even though we didn’t flaunt it like them (her dad was a banker and they had like 8 horses in a barn outside with a built in pool and hot tub + a whole outdoor grill and a mansion)
My boyfriend grew up in the ghetto down south. He used to have to constantly pawn his TVs and Amps and mom’s jewelry to keep paying the bills, learned to fix cars so they wouldn’t be stranded when the car broke down and lived among what is apparently an INSANE roach infestation most of their lives.
So he and I now have something we call ‘going to the pool.’ It’s when both of us have the same memory but through different socio-economic eyes. This is also relevant when it comes to how we handle money and react to things. We realized this after both of us were sitting around remembering how much we loved going to the pool, and then had a good laugh about how different the circumstances of the event was.
When he was a kid, going to the pool was a huge deal. He would save up to pay for him and his sisters. He walked them and had to watch them the entire time. To him, the pool was a rare thing and a responsibility, but it provided his sisters with a rare luxury, and it was always worth it to him. He loved the pool and considered doing it to be quite special. They didn’t do it every day.
When I talk about going to the pool, I remember my community’s pool having water slides, and always grabbing change for snacks. I remember riding my bike there and it always being fresh and clean. I had a season pass and my mom would always give me cash for whatever I wanted when I went. I pretty much went every single day of the summer unless it was closed.
Both of our experiences had joy in them, and neither of our experiences invalidate each other, but we both relate to the memory of going to the pool in a completely different way. That’s sort of how we treat everything. In many ways, I think it helps us a lot. We respect how the other grew up, and both of us have gained from seeing things ‘from the other side.’ It’s never caused problems for us, but it does sometimes instigate some really interesting discussion, and helps us understand each other a little bit better.”
Poor and Religious Man Finds Happiness In New Life
“My boyfriend grew up under Jehovah’s Witness parents that forbade him from experiencing holidays. It’s been incredible watching him get to experience his first Christmas morning, carving pumpkins for Halloween, and all of the other shenanigans that the holidays bring now that he no longer lives with them or follows their beliefs. I’ve never seen a 22-year-old squeal in delight at presents under the Christmas tree before. He constantly has a big smile on his face every time we look at holiday decorations and when he tells me about all of the gift ideas he has this year. It’s amazing watching somebody experience something for the first time when it seemed like everyday life to me as a kid.”
Going Broke as a Kid Affects Woman in Adulthood
“My perspective is weird. When I was a kid my family went through bankruptcy due to medical debt after my siblings all died. We were homeless for a bit. Middle school was rough while my parents struggled to pull things together and my mom gave birth to my little sister. When I graduated high school my parents were doing well enough to pay for my private university education in cash, and my little sister’s private high school was more expensive.
I’ve lived at both extremes of income, but not in the middle. My husband grew up with a dad in the military and a mom who was a teacher. They were pretty solidly middle class.
It’s odd the different things that trip us up. I find that when I really want something I have to stop and take a breath and calm down when I realise that we can afford it. When I was a kid I owned two pairs of pants that I wore to school and washed by hand every other night. As an adult I tend to find excuses to wear dress pants or nice shirts. I also keep $20 and a large candy bar in my purse at almost all times. I just like the security of knowing that there’s something there if I need it. I’m never going to be hungry because I can’t afford to eat or trapped because I can’t afford a bus.
I think my husband has a much healthier relationship with money than I do. He’s calmer about saving and uses it like a tool. I think he doesn’t always understand some of my hangups about it though. I find myself asking permission for things we can obviously afford. I’ll admit it’s difficult to understand when he meets my parents now and they’re heading off on their 4th or 5th overseas honeymoon or when my mom spent almost as much as my husband’s parents make in a year on our wedding because she didn’t like my idea of a small reception at the house or in the park.
That’s not how I grew up, but it’s all my husband sees when he interacts with my family. It’s a lot of culture shock for both of us.”
Spoiled Husband Hates Tipping
“My husband grew up with anything he wanted, my parents worked in fast food. I find that as adults, I’m much more appreciative of things whereas he’s always got something to complain about. He also doesn’t tip because ‘If they need the money so bad, they should get a better job.’ That drives me nuts, but rather than fight him on it, I’ll usually slip our server a tip on the way out.”
Different Perspectives on Money Challenge a Couple
“I’m in a really weird situation with my one. We didn’t really grow up in different backgrounds but when I grew up, me and my brother never wanted for anything we got nice things but my parents were not ‘rich’ they just made money and we just lived our life how we wanted to. My parents were never in debt but never had huge savings either etc. Now my partner never wanted for anything either but her parents were more savvy with their money and didn’t just do everything they wanted to and ‘saved for a rainy day,’ they’ve now got a lot of money and getting old with nothing to spend it on, although they do spoil my kids all the time.
This has caused awkward moments in mine and my partner’s life though as sometimes I want to ‘Live our lives and spoil ourselves’ without putting us in debt whereas my partner wants to ‘save for the rainy days’ and we don’t really do anything with what we’ve got. The other side actually involves our parents now, in that, her’s spoil my kids and mine can’t spoil them as much, but still do.”
Rich Girl Has Healthy Perspective
“We turned 17 together a week ago. Two days apart. I was ecstatic that I had my first 5 driving lessons paid for me as my present from my parents.
Two days later and she wakes up to a £5000 car on the drive. Meanwhile, in the same week I’m lending my mum £200 until payday so we have enough money for shopping and don’t have to borrow off my grandparents for the 5th week running.
She’s eternally grateful for everything she gets and not spoilt at all. But she grew up as the only child in a well off family. Had holidays to Hong Kong and India.
I grew up with two brothers and had holidays in a caravan in Great Yarmouth.
It’s the little things too. They won’t think twice about going out for a meal in the middle of the week just for the heck of it and paying a bill in excess of £100. We only go out on birthdays and have to be wary of how much we spend.
I don’t judge her at all and her family are hard working and lovely. It’s just hard not to be a little bit jealous sometimes.”
Wife Doesn’t Really Understand Life Without Money
“I grew up lower-middle class, rising to solidly upper-middle class by the time I was 18 or so, but the big bump happened when I was 15 and my mom went from $60k a year to $110k a year, so I am a pretty middle-class kid.
My wife has always been upper-middle class, but once she was 12-13, her parents broke half a million a year, and now make around $750k a year combined. Easily 1%ers, they’ve got over 3 million dollars stashed away for retirement despite paying for college for three kids who all went to private schools out of state.
As for the way it affects our relationship, she’s pretty grounded which is nice, but she still doesn’t understand that sometimes you can’t really afford to, say, eat out all the time, nor does she understand what it’s like to live without a safety net. It creates slight tension between us, but nothing too major. She doesn’t seem to care about money as much as I do as well, which drives me insane, when she generates $100k in revenue for her company per year but gets paid half that despite the fact there is no real support system required, it’s all direct revenue generation.
As a whole, I’d say the fact that her parents are loaded has been a huge positive. She has no student loan debt, but helps me pay mine, and has since we were engaged. Her mom and dad love me, they have taken me on family vacations for years now. I proposed to her in Belize, visited Italy and England, California this year, Ireland next year, Germany the year after… It’s pretty cool.
They’ve also set us up with a savings account wherein they deposit $10k a year for us to put towards a house or other expenses, and will probably give us $15k next year since we’re having a kid. We don’t have to worry about my crummy insurance costing us a ton in hospital bills or trying to save money on the birth and care since her mom is willing to pick up the bill to ensure she gets high-quality medical care.
They contribute $5,000 a year to a Roth IRA in her name. Her dad manages her retirement account and produces stellar returns. He gives me stock tips all the time and wants to fund a startup that I’m considering.
Additionally, her mom gave (yes, for free) my wife her 2010 Lexus with 60,000 miles on it since she was buying a BMW. Her dad sold me his Tundra (2011) with 75,000 miles on it for $2,000.
We had a nice wedding. Nothing insane, total costs around $17k, but they picked up of the tab.
They have promised to pay for my kids pre-k education, which will save me about $1,500 a month for 4ish years.
In general, the easy access and availability of fallback funds has really been a boon for our relationship, it’s allowed her to pursue a job that she loves and still have a family, and it’s allowed me to focus on my hobby and side business, rather than pouring all my money into a down payment for a home. It’s put her miles ahead of the curve in terms of retirement savings, she’s 29 years old and has almost 2 times her annual earnings stashed away. It’s allowed us to see the world together, and it’s created a tight bond between myself, her parents, and her siblings. Some people complain about their in-laws, and god knows, I never will. They’ve done everything possible to give us a leg up in life and help us to become successful and financially independent.”
Guy That Grew Up Poor Hasn’t Learned Manners
“I grew up poor (I’m doing very well now though), and my girlfriend grew up wealthy. Honestly, the only differences are minor etiquette things, for example, I never learned proper dinner adequate (e.g. not talking with my mouthful), and will revert back to them if I’m not conscious about it. Ironically, in the relationship, she’s the frugal one and I spend freely.”
The Difference Breed Fun And Excitement
“I’m raised by immigrants in America, my significant other is an Arab raised by a well-off family.
Yeah, a lot of things are different between us, but because of this, things can be pretty exciting and fun. We both live in America, so he’s the one that has to adjust to differences. The top thing is my family never went out to eat (except for the occasional McDonald’s, KFC, Old Country Buffet), but his family went out to eat probably one or twice a week at nicer restaurants, so I’m still amazed when he will order a drink, several appetizers, an entree, dessert, and even after meal tea. Another thing, every night my mom would come home and cook traditional meals (even now my parents refuse to eat out though they’ve made it to middle-class). his mother doesn’t cook.”
Rich Woman Can’t Deal With Poor Man
“I grew up in an upper middle class family and I once dated a guy that came from a poor Florida family. One thing I noticed was that he tried to save EVERYTHING. He had underwear that was full of holes but would still not throw them out, even after I bought him a bunch more. Also, he knew very little about life outside of his home state, was never up on current world affairs, and was ignorant of so much basic knowledge. He also only knew of and ate the most basic foods, like burgers, fries, noodles, etc. I tried introducing him to different foods, sushi, even but he’d refuse. The relationship ended up lasting less than 6 month.”
Girlfriend’s Wealth Doesn’t Faze Him
“In short this DIDN’T effect me at all. I come from a dirt-poor family. My parents were very hard working, but their jobs were very low paying. I have 7 siblings and money was tough. Had an alcoholic, abusive father as a kid. I resented him for years for putting me through physical and mental hell. My mother hated my father so me, my mother and siblings stuck together.
I grew up with hardly anything as a child. My Christmas’ we got 2 presents each, but the presents didn’t mean a thing to us. My whole family came around it was great fun at Christmas. I had to get jobs since I was 14 and give 80% of the money to fuel my dad’s alcoholism. I had to jog 5 miles each day to school and I worked hard in school, alongside working roughly 20hrs a week, it wasn’t easy. But it shaped me into who I am today. I am currently studying medicine and hoping to become a cardiologist specialist/consultant.
Contrast that to my SO. She grew up with no abuse, loving parents, privately educated. She had her own, huge room and an art room. She had lots of friends, a great childhood. Her parents owned property in London and several food wholesale companies. They are multi-millionaires. She has a Mercedes, personalized plates, her own townhouse etc.
But she is still so humble, as are her parents. You wouldn’t expect them to be multi-millionaires when meeting them (unless you turned up to their mansion). The only problem I have had during the relationship is her horrible brother. He’s 27, still living at home, no job, living off his parents. He goes to gigs, expensive skiing trips, travels to 5 and 6 star hotels… etc. Very regularly. He is massively ungrateful. But he is so competitive for his father’s affection. For example, I’ve worked all my life, so I don’t mind helping her dad out from time to time. He calls me the brain box, and my SO says he really likes me and I have good morals. Her brother hates it, he tries to make me look a fool at times. He knows I study medicine so he sits there with his equally, disrespectful friends and looks up symptoms for rare conditions.
I reply I can’t specifically diagnose something off a few symptoms, I’ll need a work up etc. Then he tries to call me out, calling me a moron. He also thinks he is somewhat a musician. He has had some of the best singing tutors and guitar tutors in the country but still, he’s bad. I mean I’m not usually harsh, but honestly, it hurts to listen to that stuff. I, on the other hand, am self-taught, I can play piano, drums, guitar to a decent standard. I didn’t have instruments growing up so I used to stay after school and teach myself. Anyway, he tried to embarrass me one night, he played some of his songs to his parents in the living room. He passed me the guitar and said, ‘come on genius you sing something’ (not knowing that I actually can play). So I sang one of my original songs. My SO’s parents were shocked and the brother actually walked out of the room with his crummy friends. They actually asked if I could play when they renew their vows.”
A Couple Appreciates The Differences
“My mother was murdered when I was a year old. My father and step mother were given custody of me, they are hardcore bikers. I grew up learning how to sell drugs, fight, work on bikes, make moonshine, etc. my parents beat me, neglected me, pimped me out. My SO comes from upper middle class, went to private school, family celebrates birthdays, having a fridge half filled with food is ‘getting low’ etc. We learn from each other. She now knows how to field dress a deer and change her oil on her car. I know how to balance a checkbook and manage my college debt. We never worry about money because I can make a twenty feed us for weeks and she knows when to remind me to spend money on myself. Really, we just teach each other and love each other for or differences.”
Not Just Wealth, But How It’s Spent Makes A Difference in Couple’s Lives
“This difference between my ex and I wasn’t very big–I’m pretty solidly middle class while he was pretty solidly upper middle class. Even with that, though, there were some pretty stark differences. Going to his house for dinner was the biggest treat: fresh vegetables and organic meat for dinner every night, soups, desserts. My family usually had frozen pizza, mac and cheese, cereal, sandwiches, canned vegetables, fruits were usually apples/oranges/bananas. If he wanted specific food for snacks/lunches, he got it. My dad refused to take me grocery shopping because I would ask for too much. He got a car and gas paid for. I got neither. He didn’t have to work for extra cash, I did. His family traveled internationally every couple of years, paid for a really expensive violin, paid for a school trip internationally, etc…. In fact, my first time on an airplane is when his parents took us abroad (and paid nearly all my expenses). It’s just a different mindset, too. Like I said, my family is middle class but both my parents grew up poor. When we went on a trip to Florida one year, we could have probably afforded to take a plane but instead, we drove 16 hours. My dad only ever buys used cars, usually at auctions. I had never tried any ethnic food besides ‘Mexican before I dated him. I thought one hundred dollars was expensive for a bike, my boyfriend’s parents bought him a five hundred dollar bike in high school (to be fair, my dad later did as well when I went to college–I used the ‘not having car’ thing as a persuasive tactic 🙂 ). His parents were mad when he considered going to our state school–my parents were mad when I considered applying out of state. I had to convince my dad to let me go to the state school instead of a community college.”