General Question

KatawaGrey's avatar

Why do people tend to hate all rich people whether they are good people or not?

Asked by KatawaGrey (21350 points ) June 21st, 2009

My mom has a friend who absolutely despises the rich. She claims it’s because she wasn’t that well off growing up. My mom grew up very wealthy. Because of this, my mom’s friend attacks my mom anytime my mom says something about her childhood. My mom doesn’t flaunt her family’s wealth. She doesn’t brag or try to make it known how much money they have. Anytime she mentions something from her childhood, however, this friend makes a nasty comment. Recently, my mom was out with this woman and another friend and they were talking about jobs they held when they were younger. When my mom spoke up, this friend attacked her because my mom never needed to work when she was younger.

My question is this: Why are the rich often despised? My mom is a nice person but there are some people who hate when she makes any reference to having money. As she grew up wealthy, any reference to her childhood is a reference to her having money.

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109 Answers

sanari's avatar

It’s not hate, it’s envy. It’s not directed at the person – it’s directed at the lifestyle. Try not to take it personally, and avoid talking about those subjects or just stop talking to the person causing stress.

When this subject comes up in our family/in-laws – we recognize that they had to work early in life. They view their road to the American dream as superior to ours, since the American dream is to work and achieve your own wealth.

nikipedia's avatar

I think one answer is envy, but I bet it’s a little more complicated than that. Some people believe that the only way to get very wealthy is to take advantage of other people, or to cheat or be dishonest. I’m not sure whether that’s true or not.

Also, I personally am inclined to hold very wealthy people to a different standard in terms of how they use their money. I believe they’re morally (not legally!) obligated to use their wealth to do good in the world. People who spend their wealth selfishly or without any thought to where their money goes and the consequences of that are on my naughty list.

applesaucemanny's avatar

I don’t think people hate oprah…

casheroo's avatar

I don’t dislike people with money, I know some worked hard to get where they are, and definitely earned it.
I dislike people who didn’t earn it, but maybe that’s envy since I have to work so hard just to make sure I can feed my child.
I dislike what money is spent on, when people are suffering so much. I can’t imagine having millions of dollars, and living in a huge mansion. It’s just unnecessary. It’s not my place to tell people where to spend their money, but doesn’t mean I can’t hate it.
Some people with money waste it, but that’s how society is. We have so many things that are just not necessary (like all these crazy phones..yes, I consider an iPhone to be fucking ridiculous, it’s unnecessary.
I think @nikipedia explained it better in her second paragraph.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@nikipedia: I understand about the envy, but it often seems like a no-win situation. My mother and I live reasonably. We live in a house that holds two people comfortably, but not extravagantly. We shop at Target and Bob’s. My mother makes donations to the American Cancer society and the Red Cross every year. I am able to go to an expensive, but high-rated, college. However, if my mom tries to talk about being a sailing instructor when she was younger, simply because her friends are talking about the jobs they held in high school, my mom is vilified because she didn’t need to work. I didn’t apply for scholarships in high school because I didn’t think it was fair to take that away from someone who actually needed it, but people still made nasty comments to me.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

It’s usually because of jealousy and resentment over their own insecurities.

nikipedia's avatar

@KatawaGrey: Yeah I mean, some people are just jerks, but if everyone around you is behaving that way, maybe the way you and your mother talk about money it sounds like you’re flaunting it? It’s hard for people who have always had money to know how absolutely awful it is not to have it. If this is an ongoing problem for you/your mom, try to be more sensitive to that.

casheroo's avatar

@KatawaGrey Who makes the nasty comments to you?

KatawaGrey's avatar

@nikipedia: It’s not that everyone talks about is, but it just seems that it’s okay to make nasty comments to us. It mostly happened to me in high school when I wasn’t applying for scholarships like everyone else. The issue my mom has with her friend is my mom can’t say anything about her childhood without getting nasty comments from her. It’s not as if my mom says, “So, whenever I went to our summerhouse that cost more money than most people make in a lifetime…” She’ll say something like, “I was a sailing instructor,” and suddenly she’s awful for mentioning it. If people asked me how I was going to an expensive school, I wasn’t going to lie, and that made people angry.

sanari's avatar

The problem is that your mother and you are flaunting it without noticing it.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@sanari: Talking about her childhood is flaunting?

sanari's avatar

Saying that one was a sailing instructor is flaunting. If she were to say she was a sport instructor – few people inquire further out of lack of interest. And you – when people ask how you are paying for school – it is none of their business and you can playfully decline to answer. No one said you had to lie.

When I was growing up – my mother taught me how to respond to all questions. I am not saying your mother was deficient in any way – I am merely pointing out differences. Most of my friends know that I am the most private person they know – we all joke about it. And it has its reasons. I don’t have the struggles with hatred and envy you do.

evolverevolve's avatar

That’s what haters do, they hate.

Jeruba's avatar

Number one, I agree, is envry.

Number two is that some people with money simply do not know how to be rich. Their behavior is inconsistent with their station; they are vulgar, ostentatious, and without class. There’s a reason for the expression nouveau riche and the stereotype that goes with it. They display an attitude and conduct themselves in a manner that gives rich people a bad name and earn the contempt of the wealthy as well as the less well provided. They will never really be rich. They’ll just be poor folks with money.

And then there is tribalism. Envy or no envy, we are deeply conditioned to see the world as Us and Them. In our lives there may be many such groupings, from region to profession to favorite sports team. It is human nature to be wary of Them, and for some people that feeling enlarges into hatred. Rich and nonrich are obvious groupings; it is hard not to label as “Them” people who take for granted in their lives things that the rest of us could never dream of having, whether or not we want it.

[Edit] I think the same can be said of any unearned privilege of birth, whether it be beauty, brilliance, or exceptional talent. There will always be some who regard your endowments with deeply personal resentment.

Facade's avatar

@sanari People are only allowed to talk about average or below average circumstances, or else it’s considered flaunting? I disagree.

andrew's avatar

Good for you for not lying.

This will not pass. Ever. It can be isolating. It helps to be quite discrete about money issues—and it also helps to try and not feel guilty about it—since people will pick up on the fact that you are ashamed of it. The sooner that you can accept that this will be something that bugs people, no matter what, the sooner you can move past it. Be exceedingly sensitive, of course, but people really don’t like it when a person of privilege tries to deny it.

You don’t have the same struggles as someone who came from a less privileged place. Accept that. You have different struggles. Work hard. Try not to take advantage of people. Beware of pursuing status. Again, be very wary of pursuing status because that’s a trap, no matter how wealthy you are. Your true friends will rejoice in your background, no matter how wealthy they are.

As my grandfather told me, “Be careful about who you talk money to—because either he’s going to have more money than you, and you’ll feel bad, or you’re going to have more money than him and he’ll feel bad.”

sanari's avatar

@Facade

You are allowed to disagree. But I do not have the troubles @KatawaGrey and his mother do. I believe that is directly related to the perception others have about our status. Few people, if ever, visited my home because we were just that way.

If you discuss doing things others cannot, yes, it is flaunting.

sanari's avatar

@andrew worded it better than I did.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Jeruba: That is an excellent answer. I hate to see this kind of division. I know we’re not flaunting because most people who know us don’t care. My really good friends are happy that I can go to a good school. They are happy I do not have to live at home in order to go to that school.

@sanari: One of my best friends is a very talented artist and I can’t draw a stick figure to save my life. Does that mean she can’t talk about art school in front of me? I’ve always wanted to be a great musician, but I can’t play anything. Should I be angry when my violinist friend has a concert?

sanari's avatar

Talent and money are not the same thing, and cannot be equated. Money, is, and always will be – a divider.

andrew's avatar

@sanari That said, I definitely would say that it’s fine your mother talk about being sailing instructor. Of course, it’s all in the delivery.

And actually, this happens with education as well. The coded “Oh, I went to school out east”. “Oh, rhode island.” “Yeah, Brown.” <sheepish smile> is pretty stupid (even though I still can’t seem to shake that habit). Doesn’t matter if you were the only person from your county to go to an Ivy League School and you had no test prep and went to public school—people will assume that you went to Exeter.

Of course, if I went to Harvard, I wouldn’t say it, because I’d be too ashamed.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@andrew: My Latin teacher went to Harvard only he didn’t like to tell people. When my class asked though, he was very subdued and sheepish about it, but we all thought it was very cool.

andrew's avatar

@KatawaGrey: My condolences to your Latin teacher.

Jeruba's avatar

Oh, yes, and one more reason: there are always those who feel compelled to blame others for their own misfortune. The wealthy are an easy target for that honor.

@sanari, if you are addressing me, I did not say they were the same. I said that people’s reactions to them can be the same: envy, resentment of flaunting, and tribalism. Of those four mixed blessings, money, beauty, brilliance, and talent, two can be lost over time and two are gifts for life.

DominicX's avatar

I agree with @Facade. People should be allowed to talk about things that they did, whether or not they are of fortunate circumstances. If the people are insecure, then they will consider it flaunting, otherwise they shouldn’t. I never bought the whole “you can talk about yourself as long as it’s negative”. People who talk about their good grades are accused of flaunting, but people who talk about their bad grades are fine. It’s bullshit. You should be allowed to talk about whatever you want. There’s a difference between simply talking about it and making sure you compare yourself to others to show that you are better off than them. That is flaunting, showing off, imposing yourself, being arrogant. Otherwise, I don’t think there’s a problem with it.

As to the question, I come from a very wealthy family, and so I’ve dealt with this kind of thing all my life. People resent the wealthy. No matter how much people try and claim that money doesn’t matter, it really does. It does in this society, at least. Those with less sometimes feel resentful and jealous of those with more. When they see those with more taking advantage of their situation (wasting money, being arrogant, taking advantage of poorer people) as some rich people do, it just tarnishes their image of them. However, that doesn’t give them the right to assume that all rich people are the same. My dad did not get rich by cheating and lying and taking advantage of people and neither did plenty of rich people. Your situation sounds like the people are a bit on the insecure and hypersensitive side.

sanari's avatar

@Jeruba : No, I was addressing @KatawaGrey‘s comment above mine.

andrew's avatar

@Jeruba: Thank god I’ll always be beautiful.

sanari's avatar

yawn. moving along to greener pastures nao. this took a turn for the worse.

Jeruba's avatar

Oh, I see, @sanari. Welcome to fluther, by the way. To keep threads readable, it can be helpful to be explicit when addressing somebody.

Thread drift is common around here. Most of us take it in stride. When we get too far off, a moderator taps us gently on the shoulder.

marinelife's avatar

What strikes me most about your mother’s friend is not the reason why she does what she does, but why does your mother keep her as a friend?

While some people are insecure and/or envious as people have mentioned, others are just poisonous. Life is too short to spend out time with those who tear us down rather than rejoice with us.

Gracefully having wealth requires humility. The reality is that the wealth itself does not confer either virtue or lack of character.

As Andrew points out, those with wealth have their own struggles: finding friends who like them for who they are and not what they have; maintaining character in the face of, in essence, unlimited ability to satisfy material needs; keeping firmly in mind that wealth does not, in fact, confer entitlement or class or make the wealthy a cut above everyone else.

Interesting question.

Jeruba's avatar

GA, @Marina. I wondered the same. This friend’s anger appears to go very deep and taint her association with KatawaGrey’s mother. It may not even be personal. If I were, say, a champion skater and I had a friend who turned rabid any time I even mentioned feet, ice, or blades, I think I’d find somebody else to have lunch with.

(Confer character, I think you meant, not lack of it.)

marinelife's avatar

@Jeruba An awkward choice of wording on my part. I meant that have money neither automatically makes you a good person or a bad person.

mammal's avatar

money obsessed people are pathologically compromised
so yeah
not the most endearing people

DominicX's avatar

@mammal

I would argue that people who automatically hate or judge all rich people are obsessed with money, whether they want to admit it or not. They’re defining people by the amount of money they have.

Jeruba's avatar

(Would those who think they hate rich people really turn down an enormous sum of money if it fell into their laps? Really?)

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Marina: The woman is a public school teacher who was handed a a group of juvenile delinquents this year and so has had a very bad year. My mom has been trying to give her the benefit of the doubt but this most recent attack has made my mom seriously re-think her friendship with this woman.

@DominicX: I think your first answer was great. The difference between flaunting and telling a story is that when you flaunt, you make people feel bad deliberately but when you tell a story, you just want people to hear what you have to say. I also GA’d your second answer. :)

kerryyylynn's avatar

Because they hate their own non-rich, lower class selves.

Darwin's avatar

I have known rich people who were very nice folks. I have also known rich people who were absolute swine, and I have known rich people who were absolutely clueless to any differences between how they lived and how others did.

I have to say that I agree that part of the dislike of “the rich” is indeed envy. If you don’t have money you often imagine that having it would solve all your problems. In actual fact, of course, money does not buy happiness although it can buy entertainment and insulation from some bad situations.

The other thing is, though, that unless you know people who are rich you may only know about those who get into the news. That kind of rich person is generally ostentatious or flaunting things or thinks that money makes them a better person.

Many rich folks are not much different from everyone else. They eat hamburgers because they like them, live in small houses because that is all they need, drive older cars because the car runs and is comfortable, and wear blue jeans because they are comfortable. They often will use their money to benefit others or to attempt to change some of the aspects of the world that they dislike. However, unless you see their tax returns or brokerage accounts, you might never know they are wealthy.

Personally, if I had a friend who got upset every time I mentioned something about my life I would rethink the friendship. Why is are the two people friends if one person dislikes some aspect of the other so much? Or uses their friend as a punching bag to represent a segment of society that they don’t like? I suggest that @KatawaGrey help his/her mother gradually distance herself from this woman.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Darwin: I don’t want to tell her that she shouldn’t see this woman anymore, but when she said she thought about distancing herself I encouraged the line of thought. It seems more and more my mother is apologizing for everything she says or does. If she doesn’t want to spend a large amount of money, she gets yelled at because she should be able to afford it. If she spends more than the others, she gets yelled at because she has money.

I’m a she. ;)

Darwin's avatar

@KatawaGrey Sorry, couldn’t tell you were a girl from your avatar.

Perhaps her friend just wants your mom to pay for stuff, and hence isn’t really a friend but a freeloader. I agree that you should encourage your mom to distance herself, but carefully so the “friend” doesn’t become an enemy.

BTW, I used to sail when I was a kid but we weren’t rich. My first boat cost $10 – I found it in someone’s backyard, and they didn’t want it, so they sold it to me and my brother. Being a sailing instructor is not a sign of wealth.

mammal's avatar

@DominicX i’d rather dance to some latin grooves, sip a mojito and make love to the woman in my avatar, personally, but hey…what do i know?

mammal's avatar

money is born to be distributed
think of it as something that needs to be got rid of
rather than accumulated

KatawaGrey's avatar

@mammal: So you would be happier if my mom distributed money to the BMW dealership instead of the Honda dealership and distributed her money for a much larger house and distributed her money to Gucci, Prada and other expensive clothing companies? She certainly would be getting rid of her money a lot better that way…

Judi's avatar

I didn’t read all the posts (but most of them) hope I am not repeating. There is a thing I call, “The Money Curse.” One is where people are afraid to befriend people with money for fear that they will think that the person“wants something from them, and the other is when people with money think that the only reason people are kind to them is because of their money. It’s all ugly, But it is nice when you know that you will be able to pay the utility bill this month.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Judi: Sometimes people show a little too much enthusiasm when I tell them my mom and I have money. Since those people tend to be not so nice anyway, they don’t stay my friends long.

And since my mom has a medical history as long as your arm, the utilities aren’t the only things we’re glad we can pay.

DominicX's avatar

@KatawaGrey

Usually when people find out my parents have ample money, they just think it’s cool. Maybe it’s because they’re kids…

Can’t wait until I’m an adult… :\

casheroo's avatar

@KatawaGrey How exactly are you telling people you and your mom have money? Also, isn’t it just your mother, or are you working and earning your own money?
My parents are very well off, but I’m pretty darn poor. So my parents money doesn’t reflect on me too much. My mother does treat us very often, so it probably looks like we have money (she buys us clothes, me pedicures, and other random stuff) but we don’t have money.
How much my parents make never comes up. Friends do tend to notice it though, since my parents do one thing that is obvious they aren’t doing too bad, but it’s sort of like a running joke between friends and my parents. (they buy a new car every two years)

Judi's avatar

@casheroo ; When my son’s friends used to say, “you’re rich” because of the neighborhood we lived in he would say, I don’t have ANY money! Just because my parents do it doesn’t mean I do!”

kenmc's avatar

”@mammal: So you would be happier if my mom distributed money to the BMW dealership instead of the Honda dealership and distributed her money for a much larger house and distributed her money to Gucci, Prada and other expensive clothing companies? She certainly would be getting rid of her money a lot better that way…”

How was that extruded from that answer, exactly?

Darwin's avatar

@KatawaGrey – What if she distributed some of her money to charities that help others? That might have been what @mammal was saying. Look at what Bill Gates is doing with some of his money.

teresacuervo's avatar

Envy and resetment.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

They don’t. I think I was in Jr. High before I finally met someone who said they disliked what they deemed to be “rich people”.

wundayatta's avatar

How do you know someone else is rich? For that matter, how much income or net worth is required to be rich?

If families have been wealthy for a long time, they often treat their wealth differently than families who are newly rich. The difference, on average, is that the longterm wealthy are quiet about it. They do what they do without calling attention to themselves (Paris Hilton, notwithstanding). Unless you pay attention, it can be hard to tell. What kind of house do they have? Where in town do they live? What kind of car do they drive?

But these things are not always good indicators. Some people want to appear rich even though they aren’t. For others, used to being poor, once they become rich, they want to shout it out to everyone. “Look at me! I’m successful.” They try to act rich, according to their perception of what it means to be rich. The old wealth often looks down on them for their crass manners, lack of good pedigree (i.e., education) and kitchy taste.

Differences in wealth can come between people. If you’re friends with someone wealthy, and they want to go to an expensive restaurant with you, or go on an expensive vacation to the shore with you, it can be awkward. If you’re always saying you can’t afford something, they might offer to pay, and they you might feel a loss of pride because things aren’t equal. Also, it might be weird, because they aren’t being sensitive to your situation.

People get envious of other people’s advantages, especially when they think the rich person is flaunting their wealth. The problem is that when the wealth is part of your life, you can’t talk about yourself without making the advantages you had obvious. Some people are envious of this. Others can navigate these differences more sensitively.

The key, I think, is that each person can talk about their lives without being judged by the other. Rich can judge poor for growing up in squalor and not knowing which fork to use at dinner. Poor can judge rich for assuming everyone has a college education, and being unaware of what it is like to live in poverty and to fight for everything you have. If wealth is a difference, and one person never lets you forget it’s a difference, it seems to me that that relationship will be a hard one to keep.

If your mother wants to keep this friendship, then I think they have to address this issue directly. She has to tell her friend that she doesn’t like those nasty comments. She needs to understand where those comments come from. If one person always feels guilty and the other always feels envious—not good.

sanari's avatar

I think daloon said what I couldn’t.

JLeslie's avatar

This is part of the reason class tends to matter. When people are from very different social classes it is many times like two different worlds.

Many people said your mom might be flaunting, but her friends are raising the subject, so what should she do not participate in the conversation?

I do wonder if your mom’s friends are just being sarcastic and/or teasing, and you and your mom are being overly sensitive?

KatawaGrey's avatar

Sorry for taking a while to answer. I have no internet in my apartment.

@boots: mammal was saying that money should be gotten rid of. My mom doesn’t spend a lot of money on things she doesn’t have to spend a lot of money on. Therefore she has more money than she would otherwise.

@Darwin: My mother does donate to charity on a regular basis. She donates to the American Cancer Society and the Red Cross.

@JLeslie: A comment made in jest is understandable. This woman yells at my mother and makes nasty comments constantly.

JLeslie's avatar

KatawaGrey Well then f*# her friend. She is a mean nasty woman who is unhappy in her life and enjoys trying to make other people feel bad whether they are rich, or blond, or skinny, or fat I bet.

I am not rich, but when I am with friends who are, I enjoy their fun stories…where they have travelled and what they have experienced…and if I can get a ride on their boat all the better. And hopefully, they are interested in my experiences and opinions too.

kenmc's avatar

@KatawaGrey

You don’t have to spend things to get rid of money… You could give some to charities, start a scholarship, ect…

Hell, you could give some to me :P

Overwhelmed's avatar

I despise the wealthy because they don’t know what REAL suffering is. I get up at 4:00 each morning so I can administer I.V. meds to my dying mother. After tending to her, I get myself off to a job – work myself half to death all day – then come home and relieve the babysitter, then spend the evening once again tending to my mother. Her money ran out, so she was KICKED OUT of the nursing home! Now I’m forced to take care of HER and try to get through my daily routine, too. I have NO HELP because I have NO MONEY!

Overwhelmed's avatar

(PART II) The wealthy don’t know what REAL pain is. Let THEM tend to a dying relative, clean their own homes, hold down a full time job, THEN hand their paycheck over to an adult babysitter at the end of each month. This is why I hate the rich. They don’t have any concept of this misery. They hire somebody to do all the “grunt” work for them – clean, cook, care for the kids and elderly, and all they do is think about THEMSELVES.

DominicX's avatar

@Overwhelmed

Boo hoo.

Anyone can have a dying mother; that has nothing to do with wealth. Wealthy people are not the cause of your problems. You’re using that as an outlet for your frustration. There will never be understanding as long as we keep dividing people based on how much money they have and judging them because of it.

Judi's avatar

@Overwhelmed ; Just wondering, do you hate wealthy people who HAVE suffered in the past? I have had times when my power and water were cut off because I couldn’t afford to pay them, but now I would be considered by a lot of peoples standards (own 2 homes and an airplane.)
I wonder if it’s not really “Hate” but a deep resentment at the fact that life isn’t fair. It is so hard when you work your butt off and seem to get no where,, while others seem to have everything with relative ease. On top of that, when working yourself crazy actually seems to be taking you backwards, it is easy to feel resentful and channel your anger towards the people who seem to not have a clue what struggling is. I will just bet, that inside you are a kind hearted person who is just in a lot of pain right now, doing the best you can with what you’ve got.
I’m so sorry you are going through this. Have you exhausted all your options with medicare?

JLeslie's avatar

@Overwhelmed @Judi Although, I agree that overwhlemed’s hate is misdirecte, you cannot deny that if you are rich it is easier to pay the adult babysitter, and maybe you can work less or take two years off while your parent is ill? Money is money and it helps. Most rich people worked hard for their money, I think that is sometimes forgotten, and many of them do know what it is like to worry about money.

I never am envious or jealous of people with more money than me, but money counts, counts in society today, it does affect your life. They have done studies and wealthy people are happier. Money does not buy you happiness, but if you have the things in life that make us happy, money makes it even better.

Judi's avatar

@JLeslie ; Some do work harder than others though. My current husband is a gifted contractor and has natural skills that offer him a lot more money than my previous husband, My first husband worked his butt to the bone trying to just make ends meet, but could never make the kind of money in a month that my husband now could make in a day.
I am extra sensitive because the despair drove my first husband to suicide. Even though I have a lot, I resent it when people say “I worked hard for it,” because poor people work hard for their paycheck too.

JLeslie's avatar

@Judi I am right with you that that poor people work hard too, I was not trying to imply at all that rich people work harder than poor people. The working poor are a sad fact for me in the USA. Seems if you work hard you should be able to live in a decent neighborhood that is safe in our country, but many times this is not true. But, it does not seem that you are poor from what you have said. Most people on here know I am Jewish. I have had more than once someone say to me something along the lines of, “Jewish people always have money.” WTF is that?? Last time a woman said it to me, and she said it in the context of I could not understand her situation, I said, “What do you think? That the Jews who have money are holding a gun to people’s heads and demanding their money and property? They probably went to school and worked hard.” Not to mention that my father grew up VERY VERY poor. I grew up middle class (when I was very young we were more like lower-middle), and now am probably considered upper-middle, by no means rich. So, I guess I have some history that affects my answer as do you. Sorry to hear about your first husband, very sad, I am sure that is very upsetting.

Judi's avatar

I think we understand each other. Who works harder? The plumber or the ditch digger? Who gets paid more? Hard work is not the only contributor to wealth.

JLeslie's avatar

@Judi Yes, I think we do. It is always interesting to me who gets paid what in America. We hear teachers complain about their pay because they feel their job is important. I have come to the conclusion that how “important” your job is has little to do with what you are paid in America. What matters more is how RARE are your skills and the demand for those skills. It is market driven more than anything in our society from what I can tell. That is not a perfect analysis, but I think it is significant. Almost anyone can collect trash, but very few can perform brain surgery. All positions matter, I respect anyone who works hard and has integrity no matter their career choice. I could get into a whole discussion on this, and who gets paid what, but I don’t want to hijack the thread.

And to respond to the second part “hard work is not the only contributor to wealth” sooo true. I think my husband and I have more “wealth” than friends who make the same or more money because 1) we don’t have kids 2) we save save save 3) we never buy something we can’t afford 4) we got lucky and lived in a part of the country that saw housing go up, while many of my friends are in MI where the state has had horrible economic troubles for years now 5) we don’t have any expensive habits like smoking, drinking, etc.

Darwin's avatar

And then there are people like my father who could afford to hire a nurse for my mother, but he loves her and chooses to provide her care himself, at least for as long as he is able to do that, as he isn’t all that well himself.

People are people. Some are stinkers and some are great. Some save money, some inherit money, and some spend every cent. I think anyone who “hates” an entire class of people are not thinking clearly and is letting their own insecurities and problems get in the way.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

It’s easy to vilify the rich when you don’t have a lot of money yourself. I don’t believe it’s the rich person’s fault that a poor person’s life is hard.
Rich people have money but they suffer just like everyone else. They just don’t suffer from problems directly related to not having enough money.

Overwhelmed's avatar

I’m certain the wealthy also “deal” with loved ones dying, but they don’t have to clean up the puke, change the adult diapers, tear their back to pieces lifting the disabled person, and work until they collapse each evening. Instead, they pay somebody to do all of that for them…meanwhile, they busy themselves on the golf course. I have a brother who is rather well off, lives in a mansion in a gated community and hasn’t once offered to help me care for OUR disabled mother. Instead, he let me bear the entire burden alone.

Overwhelmed's avatar

Dominic, are you one of those men who stand back and watch the females in your family bear all the responsbility? Your reply makes it sound that way. I suppose you think it’s okay that a fairly well off man spends his money jet-setting his spoiled wife all over the globe, but can’t offer a dime to help his sister – who is lower middle class – care for THEIR disabled mother who requires around the clock care. Not only does he NOT offer any financial assistance, he distances himself from this home as often as possible, afraid if he visits he’ll be asked to do something to help me.

Darwin's avatar

Perhaps that means you have a problem with your brother specifically, not wealthy people in general.

My dad does all those things for my mother, to spare her the embarrassment of being cared for by a stranger and because he loves her. He could well afford to pay someone to do the work.

I do those things for my husband also, in large part because I promised to care for him “in sickness and in health.” We could afford a private nurse, but he prefers that I do the work.

It is true that my dad doesn’t have to hurt his back to care for my mother – she weighs less than 100 pounds now, but my husband weighs 224 so I lift weights to be able to help him.

BTW, none of us play golf. We consider it a good walk spoiled.

DominicX's avatar

@Overwhelmed

Way to make assumptions about me. No, I am not one of those men. I am one of those men sick of childish resentment of and jealousy towards wealthy people. But siblings should share the responsibility of their dying/disabled parents. It isn’t supposed to be one of them doing all the work.

Overwhelmed's avatar

Yes, Judi…I’ve exhausted all options with Medicare, tried desperately to get Mom on Medicaid and begged social services for assistance. But, because I live in a three bedroom house (very small, not at all anything special) and my mother lives with me, then she doesn’t qualify for any assistance. I’m completely overwhelmed. Mom keeps asking me to help her commit suicide, fearing she’s ruining my life, and telling me she’s tired of fighting this disease, but I just can’t do that. She IS my mother, after all.

Overwhelmed's avatar

Well, Dominic, I stand corrected. Please accept my sincere apologies. For a moment there you almost sounded like my brother telling me to “shut up” and stop whining, and do my “duty” because this is “women’s work!” I wish he thought the way YOU do…I honestly wish he’d at least help me FINANCIALLY. But, no…he’s busy living in his own little world. This situation is literally killing me, right along with Mom. I have no idea how much longer I can go on. Without any money, we’re doomed. I just can’t stand the fact that I have a wealthy brother, but he sees this as MY problem, because I’m the only daughter. His “gonads” might fall off if he does anything to help me.

Darwin's avatar

Try contacting Adult Protective Services and telling them that your mom wants to commit suicide and you can’t stop her. That might get you some time off or a part time housekeeper.

Otherwise, get a lawyer and sue your brother.

Overwhelmed's avatar

I have to go feed Mom now. She’s due for her tube feeding and I.V.‘s, so I’ll be offline for the next several hours. Darwin, I don’t know what I can legally do to force my brother to help me. I’ve also contacted a social worker and told her what my mother said. She’s trying to see about helping me find some assistance, but told me that she doubts I’ll get any because we’re poor, but not poor ENOUGH to qualify for help.

Darwin's avatar

Good luck – I don’t have to do anything for another hour or so, unless he falls.

Is he your only sibling?

Overwhelmed's avatar

I had another brother, but he was killed in Iraq. He was the type who WOULD have helped me, but I don’t have him anymore. I guess he was just a lot more humble. He loved the Army, and really took pride in serving his country. I miss him so much. I won’t have my mother with me much longer, as the doctor tells me she’s at the end stage now. I’m trying hard to be cheerful and not make her last days hell on earth. She knows it’s a tough burden on me, taking care of her. But, she’s my mother and I DO love her. Goodnight.

JLeslie's avatar

@Overwhelmed Hey, it is very difficult to take care of a loved one when they are very sick. It is exhausting mentally and physically. I completely understand your anger towards your brother. Maybe I missed this on a previous post, but I’ll ask, is she under hospice care? They can be very informative about options, and volunteers can help you out a little. They are very understanding of the patient AND the stress put on the family. Also, I would get POA from your mom if you don’t have it already, if she has any money you should be using it to help you care for her.

Overwhelmed's avatar

When my Mom started getting sick, I was just a freshman in school. All throughout school I tried to handle my school work and taking care of my mother. My teachers were very supportive of me, though, and understood what I was going through. I graduated last year at the top of my class, with a 3.9 GPA. How on earth I did that is anybody’s guess. I got a job a few months later, which I still have. I have dreams of attending college and traveling the world – there’s so much I want to do. But, it’s been very difficult. I think my mother realizes how hard it is, too. The girl who babysits my mother is still in high school, she’s just finished her junior year. She’s working for the summer, caring for my mother, while I hold down a job. I think Mom will be gone to heaven by the early fall, and by then I’ll be keeping my paycheck. I won’t quit my job, yet, because once mom dies I’ll need this income to live off of. I can’t afford the luxury of staying home to care for my mother. I HAVE to work, and I’m lucky I found a job shortly after graduating from school. My mother told me once she’s gone she wants me to go LIVE. Travel, see the world, fall in love…all the things I could never do in school because I was busy taking care of my mother. I promised her I’ll do my best to live a good and interesting life. I’ll do it for her, in her honor.

Have a good night, everybody.

Judi's avatar

No Hospice help? Sorry you’re going through this at such a young age.

Darwin's avatar

If that is what your mother wants you to do, then she should put her wishes in her will in case there is any insurance. She needs to specifically exclude or limit whatever goes to your brother if that is how she sees it.

Be sure to look into hospice care – that is one way to get some respite care (ie time for yourself while someone else takes care of your mother). Hospice workers are also trained in helping people die well, and in helping family members cope.

JLeslie's avatar

The mention of insurance is the same reason I mentioned the Power of Attorney (POA). Usually, I lean towards all children getting equal inheritance no matter how wealthy or poor each child is, but this is different, this is not about birthrate, it is about being compensated for the work and sacrifice you have put into caring for your mother. I’m overwhelmed just thinking about your situation.

JLeslie's avatar

@Overwhelmed what city are you in?? I know someone who used to volunteer for hospice and my sister is a nurse and I think she knows about setting people up. Maybe I can get you some information. I’m sure there are other people on here who have been through similar situations, we could ask a question under health or aging if you haven’t already.

Overwhelmed's avatar

My mama put the house that she used to own in my name, last year. She said she wants to make sure that her “selfish daughter-in-law” (her words) doesn’t come here, after Mom dies, and try to take this house away from me. I had to remind her that her selfish daughter-in-law is married to her selfish SON. Mom told me to sell the house and move into an apartment after Mom dies, so I’ll have some money to start my life out with. Right now all of her savings is gone, the nursing home and hospital took all of that. Then they STILL threw her out when they figured that wasn’t enough money to satisfy them. My teachers were a very big help to me when I was still in school, and one of my teachers took me down to the counseling office and told them that I needed some help at home. My guidance counselor called social services and told them what was going on and I was told that because I have this house, now, that I don’t qualify for any assistance. Apparently, owning a three bedroom, one bathroom house is considered “too wealthy” for help. It didn’t seem to matter that I was still in school, because now I was over 18, so I didn’t qualify for any more help.

How much does hospice cost? Will I lose this house I’m living in? Mom has already left it to me in her will and said all the life insurance is to go to me, too. But, there will be a bill for burying her, so that will have to come out of life insurance.

Mom told me I might be able to get some scholarships or grants to go to college. I’d like to become a school teacher someday. But, right now I have to work so I can afford to help care for my mother. My mom needs me.

I live in Richmond, Virginia. Is that near where any of you live? There’s a boy that I went to high school with named Randy who really likes me, and he’s told me that he wishes we could go out on dates, but I never have time to go, and if we did go out then I’d have to hire somebody to babysit my mother, and I don’t have any extra money to do that. Randy doesn’t have much, either. He just started his freshman year in college and he’s working part time in a grocery store to pay his expenses. Maybe someday we will be able to start a life together?

JLeslie's avatar

I am pretty sure a doctor needs to affirm that your mom is assumed to die within 6 months to qualify for hospice, but this might vary by state? Here is a link I just found, but I do not have time to read it through for you right now http://www.hospiceva.com/ It should have answers to your questions about hospice in VA. I do know people in Northern VA but not the Richmond area. Still I will ask them if they know anything and ask my girlfriend who used to volunteer in FL for info. I’ll get back to you by end of the day Monday to let you know if I have any additional information or not.

Judi's avatar

from the link @JLeslie so graciously provided:
Your patient and family are covered by a comprehensive hospice benefit.
Medicare and Medicaid provide comprehensive hospice coverage.
Most private insurers who operate in the Commonwealth of Virginia include a hospice benefit in their policies.
Hospice of Virginia covers anyone who falls through the cracks. Uninsured patients without financial means are provided comprehensive hospice services without discrimination and at no cost to your patient or family.
Your patient’s hospice benefit provides for all medical supplies, durable medical equipment, medications, and appropriate therapies related to the terminal condition.
There are NO co-payments, deductibles, or exclusions

It doesn’t cost anything to give them a call and explain your situation.

JLeslie's avatar

@Judi @Overwhelmed Thank you Judi. I am waiting to here back from the two people I contacted, but that website is so good, and I am sure the people who answer the phone will be able to guide overwhelmed. Please let us know what happens; if hospice was able to help.

wundayatta's avatar

Unfortunately, as far as Medicaid is concerned, the house is an asset that should pay for her care. That’s because a lot of people try to save assets for their children by doing exactly what you did—transferring the house to the child’s name when they see the nursing home bills coming along.

I think there’s some rule that you have to spend the money from the assets of the sick person until five years have passed, and only then would be be eligible for Medicaid. As far as Medicaid is concerned, it’s not really your house.

I’m afraid you may be in a situation where you are forced to sell the house. Or get a reverse mortgage on it. But who knows? Maybe if you tell your brother you have to sell the house to care for your mother, he might be willing to help. Have you asked him, or are you waiting for him to offer? Your mother needs a full time home care person, which is a lot cheaper than a nursing home. Well, maybe the babysitter is even cheaper than that.

This kind of thing really sucks, and it’s one more reason this country needs single-payer-financed universal health insurance.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Overwhelmed: I realize that this thread has taken a completely different turn. I understand that your situation is a very very hard one. I hope somehow you get the money to make your life and hers more comfortable. I would however, still like to respond to your original comments. Having more money than the average person did not prevent my mom from taking 7 years to get pregnant. It did not prevent her from being infertile or prevent the doctors from discriminating against her because she was a single woman. It did not prevent her from being preeclamptic or from spending almost a month in the hospital prior to my birth. Money did not heal my mother’s useless kidney nor does it soothe her arthritic joints. Money did not prevent my mother’s cancer. It did not assuage my fear that, at 10 years old, that same cancer could make me an orphan. Money did not keep my grandfather from dying.

JLeslie's avatar

@Overwhelmed I missed the call from my sister, and the other person know has not gotten back to me. Hopefully I will have somehting tomorrow. Did you call Hospice? Were they able to help? Also Daloon mentioned youhave to get rid of money and assets 5 years prior to applying for gov’t asst. I thought it was three? Might vary by state. I think my sister will know that also.

Noel_S_Leitmotiv's avatar

Its jealousy, pure and simple. Such a shame

JLeslie's avatar

I wonder what ever happened with @Overwhelmed? If she was able to get help.

niki's avatar

It’s simple.
We live in a material world, and to get those “material” things in exchange, we need a thing called: Money. Rich people always have more money than the poors, and hence, can attain much more material things, and the poors often have to struggle so much even just to get that BASIC material needs/things.

This,..and added with many posts above that said how, unfortunately and sickeningly, the majority of wealthy/rich people (not saying all, but most) are just some selfish greedy bastards not caring about their other fellow human beings. Sure sure, people would easily point out & said “well, it’s a ‘tribal’ nature…what can we do about it?” , but no, we should EVOLVE into a better civilization and work together, hand in hand, to create a good justice in this world. It is not impossible, in the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, an interesting example of this “heaven-like” city is Roseto in Pennsylvania. just google it up.

I think America, as being the superpower country, has fucked up so much generally, that it ironically just creating more gaps between the poors and richs. Damn capitalism.
Until SOMETHING is really done about it, I think life would just get more & more difficult for the poors.

It is sad, and even though I am admitedly from a middle-income family background, I also often ‘struggle’ a lot, HUGELY, with this sad sad situation of how our modern society has turned into greedy animals, especially the rich/wealthy people.
That is why I can somewhat understand & emphatize of why the poors hate the richs, heck, even I hate ‘em too sometimes, especially seeing those arrogant super spoiled rich brats that kept whining & complaining yet spending their rich parents’ money frivolously, instead of helping the poors, contributing something with their money, & doing good, while they’re still breathing.

Humans (humanity) need to EVOLVE,
or else, the ‘end of the world’ would come much more quickly due to human’s fucked up ‘tribal’ & greedy & selfish nature.
sometimes, these rich people need some kind of pains or tragedy, in order to ‘slap’ them hard in face, and start viewing money differently, and start to emphatize more with the poors.
My hope still lies in future generations to realize of our fucked-up capitalism, and work together to fix the fucked-up system.

sugabelly's avatar

But don’t you think that if the rich people gave the poor people their money, they would no longer be rich?

I mean, the whole definition of being rich is dependent on accumulating money/wealth rather than giving it away.

If I have $1000 and I keep it, then I am worth $1000 in riches. But if I give you $200, I have become poorer. And if I keep giving out that money, I will eventually be as poor as the poor people I was trying to help.

I just feel that it’s weird because you always see people telling rich people that they ought to give out their money to “help” poor people but nobody thinks that the rich person will eventually end up poor or at least “not rich”.

JLeslie's avatar

I wonder what happened to @overwhelmed?

@sugabelly The top 400 people in America make over $200 million a year. They are not going to get poor so fast. I personally would rather people who work get paid well, then give the poor money as charity cases. There are a lot of people who are part of the working poor who do the right thing every day.

Some of America’s most prosperous times with a strong economy, low unemployment, amd people could live on a single income was when the middle class was growing and the average person was building new houses and buying cars. A lot of this happened because unions came into play and raised wages for factory workers and other professions. I actually am rather anti union, but I can’t ignore that all too often owners and big business will suck the life out of their labor, pay them poorly, and at the same time pay the people at the top huge sums (not $250k, I am talking $5 million and much more) and alsogouge the customer. The gouging is a problem because we lose our ability to compete in the world.

I defend rich people typically on Q’s like this, I probably dod way at the top, I have not looked back at it. But there is a line that is crossed all to often in American society where things go from good business, and looking out for ones self, to intense greed, hurting people and society in the end.

sugabelly's avatar

I still think that if you a rich person and you got your money through honest means then you deserve to keep your money and you don’t owe anybody anything. From what I’ve seen in this country so far, Americans seem to think that rich people owe them something or that they are “supposed” to give their money away (e.g. to charity or to poor people, or in taxes, etc).

I don’t know about that. I think that there is no obligation just because somebody is rich and I don’t think rich people should feel guilty or ashamed for being rich as long as they got their money honestly fair and square.

I also think that people should be paid well for the work that they do. So that everybody is happy.

However I don’t like how people are always complaining about rich people and talking about them as if they are bad guys or something just because they have money. You weren’t there when they were working for that money or to get where they are today.

I’m not “rich” but I most certainly would like to be as rich as possible one day and I will do everything I can to get there and hopefully I will, but I will also feel happy with myself because I worked for what I have and got it honestly. If by the grace of God I succeed in becoming a billionaire or something, I am not going to allow anybody to make me feel guilty because I got my money honestly.

JLeslie's avatar

@sugabelly I agree, people should not assume rich people got their money dishonestly or assume they in some way have less integrity. Most rich people work very very hard to get the money they have.

But, do you think rich people should pay a lower percentage of their income in taxes? I am not talking about giving their money to the poor, I am simply talking about tax money in general. Even if you did away with all social programs, and only used tax money for military, roads, police protection, and whatever minimal things you believe a government should do, do you fell the rich should pay a lower percentage?

sugabelly's avatar

@JLeslie I think everybody should pay the same PERCENTAGE.

I.e. if income taxes are 15% for example, then everybody pays 15% of their income. The rich people still end up paying more, but the proportion is the same.

JLeslie's avatar

@sugabelly The super wealthy on average pay less percentage.

sugabelly's avatar

@JLeslie well they should pay the same percentage as everybody else. problem solved.

JLeslie's avatar

@sugabelly Yes, problem solved. Here is an article if you are interested. Top earners pay an average of 17% tax. Watch out for Repulicans who talk about the rich shouldn’t be taxed more, they throw that sentence around, but the things they are in favor of would mean the rich would pay much much less tax in terms of percentage of income. Much less. Things like a flat sales tax in lieu of income tax, or going on about ownthe wealthy pay some huge percentage of all taxes paid in right nowin taxes, like the rich are getting ripped off, but they earn the majority of the income, so it is logical they would pay in the majority of the taxes.

sugabelly's avatar

@JLeslie So what does everyone else pay if the top earners pay 17%?

Sorry, I’m not an American so I don’t know. We don’t pay taxes in my country so I have no idea what normal American tax is.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I am so glad to see that this question has come back to life with intelligent discussion. @sugabelly: a large part of the problem people have with my mother and I is that our money is family money. Neither of us “earned” it but we didn’t get by dishonest means and I don’t know anybody who would give back what their parents gave them in favor of being dirt poor and uneducated. I feel as if many people would prefer that I forego my college education because my grandfather paid for school which is ridiculous.

sugabelly's avatar

@KatawaGrey If the money belongs to your FAMILY, then you are entitled to it whether you shed a drop of sweat for it or not.

Children are basically cute little parasites that don’t earn a penny of all the money and resources their parents spend keeping them alive, keeping them healthy, housing them, educating them, etc.

Should they be kicked out too? Of course not. What belongs to your family is rightfully yours. Whether you personally worked for it is irrelevant. The point is someone in your family at some point in time worked for it and earned it thereby giving you the right to enjoy the wealth by virtue of your blood association.

I don’t think your situation is a problem and people should not have a problem with you.

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