The more that I read about money and immerse myself in the world of personal finance, the more that it becomes clear that people are jealous assholes. From judging people who “spend too much” to shaming millennials who are genuinely just trying to survive the world of corporate greed, there are a lot of people who have a lot of opinions about other people’s money.
But one of the things that annoys me more than anything else is judging people who get financial help from family members.
Trust me, I GET IT. As someone who was cut off at 20-years old midway through college, I understand that it can feel unfair. During college, I was working three part-time jobs, attending school full-time and still felt poor AF. In fact, I specifically remember working as a UCLA fundraiser and what it felt like to call alumni who would donate $10,000 without missing a beat.
I felt angry. It was a nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach that would eventually spread through my whole body, until I felt my face grow flushed.
Even though these people were donating money (aka a kind and generous thing), I felt furious. I was furious at the injustice. Other people were comfortable and secure in their finances, while I toiled away for minimum wage and regularly cried myself to sleep from financial stress.
The truth is that the world is unfair. And I firmly believe that it shouldn’t be. I believe that we should work to build societal safety nets for our less-privileged neighbors, instead of destroying the few safety nets that are currently in place. I believe that healthcare is a human right, and that everyone should have a roof over their head. I believe in “leveling the playing field” and I believe that people with more privilege should lend a helping hand to people who have less.
You know what that’s called? Being a good human. I believe that we should all be good humans, even if it’s hard or doesn’t come naturally.
But guess what? Being a good human doesn’t involve hating other people. As someone who personally knows multiple people who get significant help from their parents in the form of gifted housing, living at home, “loans” that never have to be paid back, cars, free trips and everything in between, I can assure you that people who get help are all around us. And whether or not you want to admit it, you may be one of them. But I can also assure you these people can be generous, kind, hard-working individuals with a serious amount of gratitude and humility.
So if you find yourself feeling like I did as a fundraiser, here are some things you can do:
1. Unless someone acquired their money through the exploitation of other humans, animals or the environment, it’s none of your business how they got it or where it is coming from. And YES, this includes people who get money from their parents. IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Be happy that a fellow human doesn’t have to experience the stress, pain and fear of living in (or near) poverty.
2. Start judging people for the good that they do with their money and not how much they have or where it is coming from.
3. ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR OWN PRIVILEGE. Guess what? If you are reading this article, on the Internet, on your computer, during your leisure time, you have some serious financial privilege. Instead of judging other people, take some time to acknowledge your own privilege. Here’s a personal example: I’m white! It’s currently the biggest privilege in America, and possibly the world. I was raised in a middle class family, and my father is a lawyer! Even though I was cut off at 20 years old, my father still pays my phone bill! I have no idea why but I do know that it saves me at least $60/month. These are just a few examples, but I bet you can think of plenty more about me, and more importantly, about yourself.
4. If you still find yourself filled with rage, try using that anger to focus on actual things that matter, like volunteering with local organizations that are helping people in need (like your local chapter the Trevor Project or the ACLU).
Taylor is a twenty-something adventurer & life enthusiast who is obsessed with personal finance. She is currently paying off $13,000 of student loan debt in 11 months while living on 50% of her income. Follow her on Twitter here.
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