Feeling Poorer Than Your Friends


by Brandi Savitt – updated July 26, 2013

When Money & Friendship Collide

Whether it was in high school, the parking lot of your child’s school, or looking at a friend’s super-fab vacation pics on Facebook, there has inevitably been a time when you have compared your financial situation to that of one of your friends.  And when it comes to money, MANY women feel that financial differences between them and their wealthier friends can be quite isolating and even embarrassing.

Frozen Out?

Have you ever declined an invite to a fancy dinner or a spontaneous girls weekend away because you didn’t have the funds to attend?  Well, you’re not alone!  While you may feel left out, if you don’t have the cash to go, you’ve made the right decision not to spend money you don’t have just because you fear missing out.

However, I spoke with several women who felt they have been purposefully excluded by their friends because they have less money.  If you ever feel this way, you need to talk to your friends. You may find (as some of our friends have) that your pals are absolutely mortified to learn that they’ve hurt your feelings!  They were probably just trying to protect you from feeling pressure to attend something they know you can’t afford.  If this is the case, kindly let them know that you appreciate the sentiment, but that you’d much rather be invited and make your own decision than not be invited at all.

Who’s the Mean Girl Here?

A few of the ladies I talked with often feel judged  because they or their husbands don’t make much money.  If you feel this way, I want you to REALLY be honest with yourself!  Are your friends making you feel inferior or are YOU making YOU feel inferior?

If your friends exclude you, make snide comments about your financial status, or brag too much about their own, maybe these friends are really not the kind of friends you want to have at all.

Case in point: One of our friends recently described the straw that broke the camel’s back – she was at her friend’s McMansion, and the friend said to her (in all sincerity)  ”Honestly, I just don’t know how you live in that itsy bitsy home of yours -you deserve a lot of credit!”  We’re thinking this may be one friendship you don’t need to focus on!

However, the flip side is if it’s all in your head, and you are the one making yourself feel bad, maybe your own martyr routine is crippling your friendships unnecessarily! 

Own Your Choices

Whether you decided to become a English teacher, a struggling writer or a stay at home Mom, did you not CHOOSE those noble but -yes- lesser paid professions?  Are you happy?  Or would you be happier if you made a ton of dough but came home from the office at midnight every night?  Both are valid choices, but it is important to recognize that they are choices – not proverbial ‘lots in life’!

So, stop comparing yourself to your rich friends when you may make less but you are doing EXACTLY what you want to do.  Are they? Have you ever thought that they may be jealous of you for following your dream? Envy extends to much more than money!

The Value of Friendship

The truth is, there will always be someone in our lives with a bigger bank account, a bigger house, a bigger car, and a bigger attitude The question should not be do you feel poorer than your friends, but rather why do you care as much as you do?

Wealth has nothing to do with having class & values. We all know some very rich people with very little class, and vice-versa.  As we all know, it is empowering to be in control, so if you can’t control your salary, bear in mind that class is one thing you always have control over.

Successful friendships thrive when people share the same values and share the same view of what makes a good friend.  If you have found a true friend, it shouldn’t matter how much either of you makes – you should both feel richer for being a part of each others lives!

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16 Responses to “Feeling Poorer Than Your Friends”

  1. Liz says:

    You are so right. It is all about what is going on in your own head. No one can make you feel inferior unless you let them. If a friend is trying to make themselves feel bigger by trying to make you feel smaller….run. You do not want this person in your life!!!

  2. Nice post! GA is also my biggest earning. However, it’s not a much.
    thanks !! very helpful post!
    amazing stuff thanx

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  13. Nelly says:

    This is an interesting post, however, it leaves out a component. It’s true that many choose professions they love, which are often not as high paying as others, and you’re right in saying that people are doing what they love. That’s great and it’s something to be proud of.

    However, you left out the scenario that my husband and I are in, and I mention it because it’s not unique. In the past my husband earned the big, big bucks and we lived a very high lifestyle – not obnoxious or flaunting – but we went on pricey trips and ate out at upscale places often. We jet setted around with friends at the drop of a hat. He’s a specialized business consultant and the clients were always calling him, which is great because in actuality, he’s quite shy and not good at marketing himself and going out and getting clients. After the economic crash he lost almost all his clients as some of the companies closed or stayed in business but changed their focus. Many of the people that hired him were laid off and/or took early retirement. Well, the economy has not bounced back – only a little – and he no longer has those contacts. He’s now earning 75% less than what he used to earn. Problem is, we still have friends (in other business’s) that make a ton and are always asking us to join them at dinners and trips that we can no longer afford. My husband feels like a failure and we can’t suggest getting together with them at the “local bistro” when they all want to go to a celebrity chef’s place. So we hardly see them anymore because they’re all flying off and meeting in foreign cities, like we used to do, and while they’re nice to us, they’ve stopped asking if we want to meet up in Hong Kong next month because they know we can’t.
    I’m a writer, don’t earn a lot, but as you pointed out, have always been happy with my choices. But once you’re on a certain level, like my husband, and you loose the ability to play in the arena you were in for a couple of decades, it’s not fun. Aside from the money itself, he’s having a hard time because he doesn’t have clients begging him anymore and as I mentioned, he’s shy and not good at marketing himself.

    Not asking for people to feel sorry for me. I live in a nice place and have a decent life. The point of my post is that not everyone that can’t keep up w/ their friends can say it’s because they chose careers that aren’t high paying. My husbands career IS high paying, but he can’t get enough work and that’s very, very tough one someone’s ego who was famous in his niche for being brilliant.

  14. Jennifer says:

    Great article. Smartly written. Love your balanced outlook and input.

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