This week MP Dunleavy wrote about "Are you afraid to look poor?" Another interesting article. She says that keeping up with the Joneses is wanting to look rich, but afraid of looking poor is entirely different. I have to say I actually agree with her two definitions. One is rooted in pride and the other fear. And yes neither is good, but there is a difference.
Basically it's being afraid to use coupons, get a better deal, or basically seeming cheap, is what MP calls "afraid to look poor." Of course in both cases you are putting up a facade of you think the world needs to see.
Some psychologist call it the fear of looking like you don't fit in. It's not a self assurance thing like the Joneses, it's more a fear I think of being looked upon with pity. That you can't afford anything better and hence must "settle" for your lifestyle. And MP writes she's made her own mistakes with such behavior. But she's accepted it for what it is.
I wonder if both KUWJ and afraid of being poor aren't symptoms of our society being ashamed and embarrassed about money? That we aren't pushed into such behaviors because we are supposed to NEVER talk about money. It's passe and eye-brow raising to ever discuss any type of finances in real life. I mean to ask someone about their salary is a NO-NO. Nor should we discuss debt, credit, mortgage, etc. Even among close friends and family to talk about money is TABOO!
I wonder if this isn't the reason people are driven into these behaviors? Maybe the lack of reason and accountability that would be there if we were open with others would help. We would feel less inclined to spend money we didn't have if others helped us accept our own financial statement? Or if we knew their financial statement, and realized we weren't alone?
I don't know what the answer is. But I hope one day we can end this money charade. That perhaps we can start to civilly discuss finances. Where we can talk about money more comfortably than we talk about sex. Truth is we are more likely to admit anything about sex than about money because of the shame.
But would it solve the problems? Maybe not, but it would help.