10 Things People Say When You’re Young and They Think You’re Broke (But You’re Not)

The spending habits of people in the FI community can be confusing to family members, friends, and even strangers.  I have personally been critiqued in some subtle and not so subtle ways over the years. 

It’s especially amusing to look back on what was said to me when I was young and self-employed with a substantial financial cushion (3+ years of expenses). I was a relatively unknown full-time musician doing something different with my life.  It’s fair to say I was asking for it.

Still, I was startled whenever anyone commented on my financial life.  I’ve never said anything to anyone in person about their behavior with money, so the comments below always caught me off guard. 

Let's pause and learn from Seinfeld for a bit.  Why? Because The Jerk Store Called...

After watching an episode where George tried to recreate a scenario in order to have a great comeback, I was inspired to write this post of hypothetical canned snarky responses.  

The Top 10 (And My Missed Chance at an Asinine Response)

“Kids these days. They just don’t like to work hard for Harley's, boats, campers, or cars.”

Or trains or planes!  What is the world coming to?  

Also, I saved diligently to buy my new car in cash.

Instead of being impressed with myself, I’ve read enough personal finance articles to know my new car was a dumb decision.  I should have invested at least half the money and gotten a used car.

“The only reason you can make this work (entrepreneurship) is because you live on half of what everyone else does, but it’s not like you’re a professional.”

Correction.  Apparently, I live on half of half of what everyone else does because I'm trying to save half my income.

Same person as above: “You only made $20,000ish...?”  Year later. “You only made $30,000ish..?” Year later. “TELL ME WHAT YOU MAKE.”

No can do!  There isn’t a salary schedule for people like me who "aren’t professionals." Wah, wah.

“Here's some money. Don’t save it. Spend it on something fun!”

...But I think saving money is fun.

“This house is nice...for a starter home.”

You’re my tax man, so I’ll try to take this as a compliment.  You know I can afford more square footage but I choose not to.  What a burn.

“You’re young.  Good thing you don't have to worry about retirement yet.  YOLO.”

Actually, I’m taking three years to practice living like a retired person in my early 20s because I think it is an art that demands practice. 

Surprisingly, I’m finding out I’m not good at doing whatever I want. I miss thriving on a schedule and impacting others. In addition, I'm a millennial that thinks about retirement all the time. I discovered something called the FIRE movement. 

Please, BAE, subscribe to my blog IMHO and watch me try to mix YOLO, IRA, and FOMO BTW.

“I see you’re a starving artist.  Have a meal on me kid...ha ha ha.”

Oh, I’ll take your free food, but it’s not because I’m broke.

In fact, I’ll eat as much of your free food as I possibly can.  I’m a polite petite woman blessed with the metabolism of a pro football player.

You’re a pretty good musician.  Too bad I've never heard of you before.  Someday you’ll be able to afford a nice iPhone!”

Thanks?  I guess someday I'll have to publish a bright sticker for all decrepit phones everywhere that want to declare, "My house is paid off."

"Having to watch your money so closely must get in the way of your spirituality."

Interesting perspective.  I’m trying to garner as much spirituality as I can right now to mind my own business.

"Now that you have a house and a kid, you’re really going to get stuck at a job."

I'm sorry if this is your reality. 

I’m going to overlook this suggestion that responsibility is an inferno and believe there are people out there who enjoy their house, their kid, and their job.

I’m going to strive to be one of those people.

What Do You Think?

These off-handed remarks were said to me at some point or another as I lived frugally in my 20s.  As luck would have it, I’m only getting more solid in my frugal philosophies as I age because I’ve seen how saving money works to make me happier, healthier, and wealthier.  

I have to admit, I’m almost excited about the random wisecracks that might come my way in my 30s. It’s hard to believe any new comments could top these ten golden nuggets of wisdom, but we’ll see.  

I’ll probably be stunned into silence once again, but at least now I know I can turn to this blog and the FI community for some understanding.

I'm curious - what have people said to you about being young and broke (when you’re actually just humble about saving money in an extremely responsible way)?  I’d love to hear it.

7 Replies to “10 Things People Say When You’re Young and They Think You’re Broke (But You’re Not)”

  1. Hilarious! Just goes to show that you are on the path to true wealth! Not outwardly rich and lavish as people expect but more modest with the power of having wealth behind you!

    1. Thank you FIRE-ish. I find it funny too. In a world full of credit, we shouldn’t judge people based on their possessions or job title. I’m glad I’m learning not to care what people think. The blogging world has helped!

  2. Wow, there are a lot of jerks on the loose! Sorry you got all that from a bunch of knuckle daggers.

    We haven’t got much direct negativity. I think extended family just think of us as being in fairly lowly paid jobs because we don’t dress flashy or drive a fancy car. When we’ll retire they’ll think we inherited money or won lotto – but that’s when we’ll point them to our site!


    1. Thanks for visiting the site! As I said, I was a musician during this time so I was asking for it! I hope someday your extended family can have insight into your hard work instead of thinking it was “easy money” or something. The lotto?! Ha! Keep living the frugal dream!

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