So freaking lucky…

I know why I haven’t been posting as much lately: it feels a little too much like bragging.

I feel stupid when I whine that we might not meet our savings goal this year.  Like, by less than $5K.  When our goal is $25K.  And other bloggers are struggling to get up to $1,000 in their emergency funds.  It makes me feel like an asshole.

I am a success story, but my “path to riches” includes a very important step:

Sarah’s Path To Wealth
1. Be born healthy & white in the richest country in the world.
2. (…)

No, I haven’t had all of the advantages of, say, Paris Hilton, but a large amount of my success is dependent on a number of factors that have nothing to do with my efforts.  Without parents who cared enough to force me to get good grades while they clawed out of poverty, without genetic blessings that made me smart and at least semi-attractive, without the fortune of being born in a country where everyone is guaranteed at least a basic amount of education, where would I be?

So we donate to charity, but we’re still riding the waves of luck.  How do I blog about that?

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10 Responses

  1. Keep doing what you are doing. Yes, you need the donations, you blog about the economy and how it’s affected donations to all charities. You begin going on local search and rescue efforts for missing kids.
    I don’t have any funds coming in, only going out. Remember to hit me up when I get a job.
    Don’t get discouraged.

  2. It is great that you acknowledge institutionalized privilege that you benefit from even though it is totally out of your control.

    Here’s a raison d’etre for your blog: There are people who struggle financially who come from similar or better backgrounds, who were offered similar or better opportunities, who can’t control themselves. You were offered a lot and you took advantage of your opportunities by making smart choices. Some don’t.

    Sounds like you need a direction for a blog. Is it to help your audience? Is it a public motivation for yourself to continue making smart financial decisions? Is it just a commentary on your life (how challenging it is to not buy clothes, and how you feel dumb that you can’t schedule a dentist appointment?) It can be a mix of all those things that makes your blog unique.

    Everyone who reads your blog is going to have a different background, a different financial status, and are reading for different reasons.

  3. It strikes me that this is just another facet of the you-don’t-know-how-good-you-have-it game that some people play. You know when you say something like “gosh I can’t believe the price of gas is so high” and someone says “You shouldn’t be complaining – you’re lucky to have a car. Some people don’t even have a car.”

    And I want to smack those people in the mouth.

    We all come from different backgrounds. Yes, some of us have more advantages than others. But that doesn’t mean that our struggles are any less valid. There are plenty of people who were born with lots of advantages and frittered them away. You are not a bad person for taking full advantage of every benefit available to you.

    It does sound like you’re a little bit at loose ends with the blog and it’s adding to your frustration. Like Tom said, maybe finding a direction or a message would help.

    For what it’s worth, I like blogs that show some of the poster’s life, no matter where they are. Right now I’m not nearly as financially stable as you are, but I like hearing how you did it, what you did, what choices you made. They may not always apply exactly to my situation, but they often give me pause to think … is that something I could do either now or in the future.

    Don’t feel guilty. There’s no need. Just share what you know. 🙂

    • I try never to say that to people! I’m really only a generation past poverty – my parents were extremely poor when we were growing up, as were their parents, and theirs, and…. you get the picture. You never know someone’s story.

      I struggle with saying “Yippee! I got a raise!” when there are people out there who don’t even have jobs. So many of the bloggers I follow are amazing people! J. Money lost his job and still was able to think enough about others to set up the love drop.

      I’m hoping that by writing about it, I can igure out how to feel. Getting others’ perspectives really helps!

      • I just scheduled a post WHINING about the raise I got…

        I’ve been struggling with similar thoughts, so, no answers here. Personally, I enjoy reading because I can relate very much to both your story and your current status.

        And I appreciate that you, along with so many others, fully acknowledge that you were lucky to have the opportunities you did. The (very few) bloggers who have accumulated a nice chunk of savings and then post things like “why are people jealous that my hard work paid off?” annoy me.

        Tom is right – there are plenty of people who fritter away similar opportunities. Still, I think it is much nicer just to credit luck rather than patting ourselves on the back too much.

  4. Everyone is in a different situation. I feel the same way sometimes, but, seriously, everyone is different. Things that might be difficult for you may be easier or come easier to someone who is struggling with money.

    As long as you realize you’re blessed in finances (which it looks like you do) and as long as you don’t come off as rubbing it in someone’s face, just be honest. As long as you’re not an a-hole, people will appreciate your honesty and your success, in my opinion. 🙂

  5. You must have influenced my subconscious! I read this last week and then today I wrote about something similar: how lucky we are to even be in the U.S. and earning what we do. It’s crazy how blessed we are! Lovin the blog….

    Austin

  6. Truthfully I think most financially successful or at least stable people have some luck mixed in with hard work. I tend to forget that sometimes and get on a high horse, then I remember that while I have made many good financial decisions, I also made stupid ones that just happened not to have serious consequences. Like SP said, it’s nicer (and I would add, more realistic) to credit luck & circumstance to some extent.

  7. There are plenty of chances to be successful in this country no matter your background or color. A persons parents often play a large role in their children’s achievements. Being disadvantaged does increase the difficulty but if someone wants it bad enough it can be achieved. You only have to look at the current guy in the white house.

  8. I think it’s worth noting that some people simply don’t see #1 at all.

    Also, you did something productive with it, without frittering it away. Not only that, you continue to work hard and strive. To paraphrase a bit from Bones, you’re choosing to work when you don’t have to, I’m happy with that.

    I’m not saying you don’t have to work – I’m saying you’re still choosing to take the benefits you were born with and actually make the most of it and give back. That gives me a bit of faith in people again, really. You’re a good egg, and while I appreciate you don’t want to rub it in that you’re doing well when many are less fortunate, the fact that you are sensitive to that means that you are less likely to, I think, so I think you should continue to share.

    It also gives me hope that things are some semblance of good out there. 🙂

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