Money haters gonna hate.

th-1The lovely and talented J. Money has apparently had enough. In a blog post called “What haters are like,” he details some of the bummer-speak he’s encountered with regard to finances.

Stuff like:

I just paid off my debt! (You shouldn’t have had any to begin with.)

I just invested in my first stock! (You need to diversify more.)

I just saved for retirement! (Why? YOLO!)

I just bought a used car! (It’s gonna break down, you know.)

I just bought insurance! (You would have been better off saving it.)

I just saved $20.00 doing it myself! (My time is worth way more than that.)

As the kids say: Srsly????


Apparently courtesy is a dying art. You don’t have to agree with someone to be polite about what’s important to that person. This manifests as noncommittal yet vaguely encouraging words like ‘Really?’” – even if you do believe the guy shouldn’t have had any debt to vanquish.

Hey, I’m death on debt, but I know it happens and that sometimes the reasons are legitimate. Even when they aren’t, I know that people can change. Not always easily, or right away, but once they’re out of debt they can’t believe they used to live that way.

I also once had a boss who exclusively bought used cars – in fact, they were used rental cars – and he saved a ton of money that way. Not the way I’d do it, but guess what? Not everyone looks like me.


Haters I have known

I’ll see J. Money his Debbie Downers and raise him a few of my own acquaintance:

I’m back in college in midlife! (Why? You’re just wasting four years at this point.)

I got my degree in the Comparative History of Ideas, magna cum laude! (What are you gonna do with that? Get a job at the Comparative History of Ideas factory?)

I live in Alaska. (Why would you want to live there?!?)

I make a living writing about personal finance. (It’s all rigged, you know. Some of us are always going to owe money.)

I put $300 a month in a SEP IRA for my writing business and also fund a Roth IRA. (Must be nice! We don’t have any retirement plan.)

I don’t know about ‘nice.’ But it’s important to me so I make it a priority over other stuff, like recreational shopping and cable TV and meals out and new cars every couple of years. (Hey, I work hard for my money! I want to be able to have fun the rest of the time.)

That wasn’t intended as a criticism. It’s just the way I do things. (Sounds to me like you don’t have much of a life.)

Actually, I’m one of the happiest people I know. My motto is to save where I can so I can spend where I want. (What’s the point of working if you can’t enjoy your life? What if you got hit by a bus tomorrow and died with money in the bank?)

What if I don’t get hit by a bus tomorrow, and instead live a long time with no money in the bank? (Now you’re just being negative.)

So how about it, readers: What are some examples of your favorite haterz-speak?


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  1. I just made my last house payment! (You’ll miss the deduction on your taxes.)
    My car is paid off, so I will drive it a few more years. (It’ll nickel and dime you to death.)

    A time I should have listened: I am getting married again. (Get a pre-nup). That I did not do, and I should have.

  2. kandace

    When I finished a second master’s degree (I worked at the university and got half off tuition, plus a scholarship to do travel and research), my MIL said “You’re smarter than everybody.” And I said no, I simply took the opportunity to do it while working full time and raising kids.

    • Donna Freedman

      Did she say that in a “You think you’re so smart” way? Or was she just in awe of your awesomeness?

      It was a good example for your kids, though: Work plus perseverance equals achievement. Go you!

  3. Some people just grow up being trained to think the worst. It is a bad habit. Hard to not take it personally however when it comes out so snarky! Carry on….

    • Donna Freedman

      Sometimes it’s a teachable moment, though. When someone makes a “Must be nice!” comment about, say, your emergency fund, you can explain what frugal hacks you used to fund it (dollar bill challenge, automating $10 a week into the fund and living on what’s left, having potlucks instead of meeting friends at restaurants, or whatever). If a friend or relative worries aloud about shopping, you can show them how to use a site like CouponMom.com or how to buy discounted gift cards to pay for everyday necessities.

      Recently I put up an article at Get Rich Slowly that mentioned bakery outlet stores. One commenter said he’d never heard of such a place and couldn’t wait to search for one in his area. So if you have a tip, suggest it — but not in a “you must do this right now!” kind of way. Instead, mention the ways you save money with little to no effort.

      Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment.

  4. The glass will always be 1/2 full for some people! I started a few years ago to live for me…I do what makes me feel good. I will have my car paid off in 6 months…my plan is to drive it for another 4 years so I can max out my IRA for those 4 years. This will be my second time driving a paid off vehicle for a few years and I cannot wait to see a goal obtained 🙂

    • Donna Freedman

      Hope you can keep driving it beyond the four years, assuming it doesn’t need expensive repairs. It’s great that you’re able to turn “no car payments” into “maximum IRA contributions.”

      “I do what makes me feel good.”

  5. “What if I don’t get hit by a bus tomorrow, and instead live a long time with no money in the bank?”

    Exactly! I know someone who often says they will never be able to retire due to lack of funds, yet they eat out daily and take vacations often. They are only in their 30s so it’s sad to see someone who has given up already. My husband and I try to balance our money between enjoying experiences and saving for our future. We try not to deprive ourselves but we definitely don’t spend everything we have either. I feel like a lot of people think it’s an all or nothing scenario when it doesn’t have to be.

  6. I typically just get strange looks with a bit of nose wrinkle. Like when my niece goes in the dogs toybox and my sister wrinkles her nose because she knows I bought them at the goodwill outlet. Why would I buy new when they are for my dogs? Or my fun and funky Tupperware that I also bought at the outlet. My favorite though is when she wrinkles her nose at my used books. First they cost a quarter, second it is a used book not toilet paper.
    My husband and I always buy two year old cars. Two reasons, one the first two years is when the greatest loss in value occurs and two most recalls also occur in the first two years. Make them do an oil change and transmission service if it needs it and the vehicle is good as new.

    • Donna Freedman

      A woman I know buys a lot of her family’s clothes at Goodwill and other thrift shops. During a social event, someone complimented her on what she was wearing and asked where she bought it. When my friend said “Goodwill,” and talked about the barely-used, name-brand clothes she got for her three kids, the other person made the same face you described.

      “I’d never buy used clothing,” she announced. Although she’d just said how cute my friend’s outfit was, she had this preconceived notion of what thrift stores are (and are not).

      Wonder if she realizes that the new clothes she buys may have been tried on by other people, or even worn once and then returned?

      Sorry I missed you in South Jersey. Hope we get a chance to meet up next year.

      • Once, during our community clean up day I went around the neighborhood picking through the things that were put out. Everything I found, a huge silk ficus tree, picture frames, planters etc. I cleaned up and took to my son’s school’s yard sale (a fundraiser for outdoor education scholarships ). The look of revulsion on some people’s faces was priceless. Every single thing I brought in was pure profit.

        • I love this Lisa. My parents often take walks around their neighborhood and when their first granddaughter was about 2 (my niece) they found a booster seat out on the curb. It was dirty but in great shape. They took it home scrubbed it clean and then had a free booster seat for granddaughter to use.

        • Donna Freedman

          When I was managing the apartment house a tenant moved out and dumped a ton of things. I rescued the ones that were sitting on dry, clean items in the Dumpster (think: cardboard boxes, plastic bags). Some of them I kept and the rest went onto a table my daughter rented at a one-time flea market. Don’t remember how much money the items brought in, but it was all profit.

          • Ashley Lay

            When my nephew was a toddler, my neighbors put a toddler play table and chair on the curb. Still in good shape, just needing some elbow grease. I scrubbed it clean and reglued a loose leg. I bought some green lego sheets through a shopping rewards site, epoxied them on and voila! It became a lego table. He’s now 12, but that piece of ‘trash’ is still in his room with lego creations on it!

  7. Haha… YES!

    This game can be endless! Haha…

    You are too funny… love that you picked this up and ran with it 🙂

  8. priskill

    This isn’t exactly hating, just a real misunderstanding of finance 101:

    I treated my old friend and her daughter to dinner when they were in town. Friend turned to daughter and said, “See, It’s nice to have rich friends.”

    I practically choked on my pasta! Special ed teacher, itinerant cinematographer husband — we work and save hard and live below our means so we can do the stuff we like. I was speechless but, as you pointed out, it was a teachable moment — she is emphatically not a saver so we must seem “rich” since we’re not constantly in panic over money. I was too flustered and embarrassed to answer so I blew that moment.

    • ro in Sd

      I was called a rich aunt by my niece’s little boy for the same reason. I do without so i can help struggling family members.

      I took it as a compliment.

    • Priskill’s comments remind me of several unpleasant situations that have happened to my husband & I — namely, when our generosity has been mistaken as an indication of wealth, but worse yet, been used as an opportunity to be greedy!

      For example, we ALWAYS used to treat my brother & SIL to dinner when they visit us or we visit them; usually we put it on a charge card through which we get frequent flyer miles and which we pay in full monthly. At one of those dinners my brother did offer to pay, but my SIL said to my brother stopped him and said, “let them pay, they want the miles!!”

      At yet another dinner when we had our 2 children also with us, when it came time to take the bill for dinner my SIL said, “let them pay, there’s 4 of them and only 2 of us.”

      Needless to say, we not only pay for ourselves!

    • Mu daughter’s friend’s family was on welfare yet had 6 VCR players. 6!
      she came home one day and commented that her friend must be rich and ours poor because we only had one. She got the “lecture” about spending and saving.

      • priskill

        Wow, no idea this was so common! These are appalling comments!! Lord knows I am FAR from perfect in my basic finance skills but we do try keep spending to a dull roar.

        I did want to add that my friend is very kind and probably meant well — that was her way of saying thank you, I think. Just made me sooo uncomfortable. She has also commented wistfully about how “good” we are with savings and credit, as though it were a sign of superior character or something. I realized that it is really just a sign of NOT BEING ABLE to handle the stress of runaway bills! I NEED to feel happy and secure and spending what I don’t have never makes me happy. I’ve pissed off some friends by not wanting to spend when they were, but I can’t help it. I have to sleep at night.

        This is just my wiring — I truly think the high from shopping is more intense for different individuals and I get that. I just try to find cheaper shopping thrills (99 cent store and garage sales, etc.)

        Thanks for listening — could not shut self off 🙂

  9. jestjack

    Some folks just don’t get it. Recently while cutting grass at one of my rentals one of the tenants came out to…”chat”…He explained things are tough and that he got my letter about it being time to renew the lease. And that he needs me to drop the rent $200 a month. I explained I had a problem cutting rent under any circumstance. And then went on to quiz him on the new car….the BIG screen TV that I saw delivered…AND the DELUXE cable package ($200 a month). He then said …. soooo…can you drop the rent?” I then paused and at that very moment crickets began to chirp! I swear…like they were cued… After they finished I told him unfortunately that wasn’t gonna happen and to please let me know what his plans are as I have a waiting list….Call me Debbie Downer!

    • For me, the best part of this story is that you were cutting the grass! Way to go!

    • Donna Freedman

      Crickets! I love it!

      If times are that tough, he needs to find ways to cut where he can. He can’t live in the damn TV.

      • jestjack

        I swear…you had to be there with the crickets…it was crazy. As for the TV….I saw the guys from Best Buy deliver it and had to repair a shower faucet a few days later in the unit. That’s when I saw the “plethora” of channels this guy has …and seemed almost proud of the $200 cable/internet bill. It was an odd encounter.

  10. Lorrain

    My most disliked comment is “you are just a skinflint”. I hear this from my brothers and sister any time that I don’t want to do something they want me to do. But paying a $20 cover charge to get in to a club and then paying $10 or more on overpriced drinks that I don’t want, is not my idea of a good time or a wise use of my limited funds.

  11. Wow. I can definitely contribute to this game!

    We just bought an 800 sq ft house! (Ugh. My spouse and I would kill each other if we had to live in such a small space. You can get a huge brand-new house an hour away!)

    But we like each other! And we have short commutes (I don’t mind the longer commute. My car has blue-tooth everything and the payments are only $400 a month).

    We don’t have car payments. We bought our modest used cars for cash (You’re just inheriting someone else’s problem. If it was a good car, why would they sell it so soon?).

    Lots of reasons! Besides, even if there is a problem, we have worked hard to save an emergency fund. We can fix the cars if we need to. (Oh, I can never seem to save money after the mortgage and the car payments!)

    • priskill

      Ha! I like how circular this became — right back to the initial house size/payment!

    • Donna Freedman

      I think some people criticize because they’re feeling insecure about their own choices, i.e., they have a nagging feeling that something isn’t right but they’re afraid to think about it.

      And the “my spouse and I would kill each other” thing? That hints at some deeper issues.

      So pleased you guys got your own place. Hope I get back to Austin for some breakfast burritos.

      • Donna, “My spouse and I would kill each other in such a small space” is the MOST COMMON comment we hear! I honestly don’t think people actually listen to what they are saying!

        And we hope you make it back too, sometime! So many breakfast places, so little time…

  12. ro in Sd

    I hear it all the time. People who pride themselves in their ability to live in the moment are enjoying themselves immensely yet happy to criticize my frugality and resourcefullness in my ability to earn extra money outside my day job. Those same people are incredulous about my spare no expense vacations. I have taken your motto to heart and quote it often. Save where I can so I can spend how I want.

  13. I hear it a lot, too. I live in Florida within 2 hours of Disneyworld. Annual passes are common and are an excuse to grab the camper or get a hotel and spend a weekend at the theme park. DH and I choose not to. Then I’m told I really need to get away more because we don’t spend enough on ourselves. I guess the 10 years old car I drive and the 20 year old truck he drives has them thinking we are deprived somehow. Nope. Still following the plans we made years ago. In about 2 years we will sell the house, say good bye to all, and head out on a 6 month road trip across the US before finally settling in the Phoenix area to be near the grandkids. I wonder what the comments will be then.

    • Donna Freedman

      I expect you will hear “It must be nice!” a few times. Still infuriating every time I hear that phrase. I swallow the rage and respond pleasantly with something like, “Yes, it is nice, but I’m able to do this only because I’m careful with my money the rest of the time.”

      As for theme parks, I’m with you: Nice to visit occasionally, maybe, but I can live just as long and die just as happily without ever going.

  14. Several years ago, my husband was chatting with a slightly younger co-worker regarding the economy and the stability of the company. Co-worker had come out to our house and borrowed a piece of equipment a few months prior.

    Co-worker: I saw where you live (small 2 bedroom), I see what you drive (Jeep Cherokee), and I know about what you make…..why do you live substantially below your means?

    Husband: Both are paid for and when the economy or job dries up, I don’t have payments to make.

    dumbfounded silence.

    Security is worth more than all the golf and wine tasting weekends.

    • Donna Freedman

      Agreed! And here’s hoping the job doesn’t dry up. If it does, the two of you will probably be okay. The co-worker will have some sleepless nights.

  15. Cathy in NJ

    The college plan for my daughter is community college followed by a commutable (live at home) state college or university. My daughter told this plan to a girl at school who replied, “Ewww, I thought you were smart and could do better than that.”

    I have also been told, “Waste of time. Colleges won’t take all the credits.” Credit transfer is a legitimate concern, but my research says that NJ state colleges will take 99% of the credits. Although a basket weaving class may not make the cut. My boss, a systems engineer with a Masters, went to this community college and had no problem transferring credits.

    I have also been told my daughter “needs” the college experience of living away from home. My reply is, “You are more than welcome to pay for it.” Crickets….

    • Donna Freedman

      With regard to credits: As you know, I went back to college in my late 40s and began at a community college. To my shock (and delight!) the college accepted most of the credits I’d earned way back in 1976-77. Those plus a full year of study meant a two-year associate’s degree. From there I transferred to the University of Washington, and far from looking down on my cc studies, the university awarded me a three-year scholarship through one of its foundations.

      Wonder if they would take your daughter’s class if it had been underwater basket-weaving? 😉

      It was great to meet you both in Turnersville on Saturday.

      • jestjack

        How great to hear that colleges have “gotten their act together” with credits carrying over from community colleges. I witnessed friends of DD1 do two years at CC only to learn when they transferred to the University that the credits didn’t transfer as well. Which made the kids spend 5-6 years in college…sheeez… I would think CC’s should act as “feeder schools” for the universities.
        As for the “college experience”…DW and I made the commitment long ago that DD’s would go to the school of their choice. I may have holes in my socks and be cheaper than most… but both our girls went away to school for 4 years AND lived on campus. They both have done well and this is money I would spend again in an instant. But we don’t really consider it “spending” …. but rather “investing” in their future. But I realize this may not be for everyone.

    • Aunt Leesie

      Just about every family member we have–and several friends–insisted that our sons needed to go away to college or at least to live on campus here as part of “the college experience”. Our plan from the git go was to have them live at home while going to Cal Poly, which is only 14 miles from our home. Tuition was/is high. Both sons worked from high school on to cover tuition; living at home meant they had NO dorm fees, meal costs, laundry expenses, etc. to cover. It also meant NO roommates up partying until o-dark-thirty or being otherwise obnoxious. My mom offered to pay for the oldest to live on campus… until she saw how much that cost! 🙂 He just finished his MBA with no student loans, and his brother should also graduate with no student loans in a few years.

  16. Me: I think I want to be an accounting major.

    Friend: That’s such a stressful career, you’re going to be driven to drink.

    Mind you this friend told me that when I was working at a telemarketing job and was applying to our state university, I didn’t want to work in telemarketing forever. Plus in this major you learn not just about accounting but marketing, business law, management, economics, etc.

    My true dream is to be an artist however I’ve noticed that a lot of art school & art major curriculum’s at universities don’t cover marketing, entrepreneurship, etc. So a lot of artists graduate with these amazing skills and art degrees but end up working in coffee shops. I don’t want that.

    My goal is to graduate with my accounting degree, learn these skills, go into the corporate world, save up money and on the side sell my art skills, once the art thing picks up and makes more than my accounting job & with a savings cushion, I will leave the corporate world and do it full-time.

    So while accounting is not exciting, sometimes you need to learn “boring” pragmatic things that will lead you to where you want to go in life.

    It’s like drawing instruction books, they teach you how to draw “boring” things like houses & glasses, you need to know the basics before you can make beautiful landscapes & fantasy art.

    • This is brilliant!

      I would NEVER have gotten an accounting degree when I was young – it was “too boring!” and “I’d hate my life!” We’re so idealistic… But I got into accounting by accident later and it’s a perfect job for a creative person: everyone needs accounting so there are always jobs, it pays well, and (unless you do taxes) the work stays at the office when you go home at 4 or 5 pm and you have the rest of your life to do what you love! Plus there are the benefits you mention, of learning the business side of your creative passion.

      Needless to say, I have since gotten the accounting degree, and I recommend them to everyone. 🙂

  17. When I quit a full-time job I was unhappy with and went to work part-time, I got a lot of “it must be nice to be rich.” I would then point to my 25 year old car with cracked vinyl seats but a great engine and say, “I’m not rich. I don’t need to be. I care more about my time than about appearances, so I don’t spend money the way most people do.”

  18. Aunt Leesie

    My DH and I have a goal of buying a mobile home in a senior park where the residents own the park (no space rent, just a small HOA fee). We hope to do that in a few years. We’re in our mid fifties. MANY have commented things like:

    “Oh, you don’t want to be surrounded by all those OLD people!”
    –hmm 60% of our county’s residents are over the age of 62

    “Why would you want a mobile home? Why not a condo?”
    –condos start at around $400k, HOA fees average $700 per month, no storage and we get to share at least one wall for all that $$$

    “Living in a trailer park would be SO depressing.”
    –living in a Frigidaire box on the beach would be more depressing, as would having such a steep mortgage we couldn’t afford to eat or keep the lights on

    Yet when we talked about retiring to a lower cost of living state?

    “How could you be so far away from your kids and grandkids?”
    –we don’t know where our kids will wind up, neither is married yet, and grandchildren aren’t a guarantee

    “How could you even think about leaving such a beautiful place?”
    –HCOL, so it’s move or buy in a senior mobile home park (skip to above negativity)

  19. My favorite:

    I plan to retire extremely early. (Why would you want to do that, working keeps you young.)

    As if I am planning to retire early to do absolutely nothing. Ummm, I have big plans.

  20. I paid off my car while working and going to school. At the time everyone told me it was dumb but it was one less stress and bill after I graduated from college in a economy that I couldn’t find a full time job in. So the laugh was on them. I didn’t stress and I had my own free transportation to get to my three different part time jobs. (Free other than gas and maintenance)

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