This week at MyBankTracker, we talk about the kind of awkwardness that could happen when you gather with friends who are in a higher tax bracket than you.
Claire: I have a friend who works in finance and makes a ton of money.
We usually hang out on weekends, and at times, it’s rough on my pocketbook. Anyone who lives in New York City knows that money falls out of your pocket the moment you step outside. An all-day adventure in Manhattan with my rich friend usually includes an expensive brunch in the West Village, followed by some browsing at the local boutiques (she’ll walk out with bags of stuff, while I sadly gasp at prices), and afterward, we’ll grab an expensive drink or dinner at a swanky spot.
When you hang out with people who aren’t pinching every penny, it’s difficult to say no… especially when we’re at a restaurant and she wants to order an entire bottle of wine (because it’s cheaper!).
Hanging out with friends like her is a challenge because my entire yearly salary is probably what she gets in a bonus check for Christmas. It’s hard to say no to her fine dining tastes, and how can I not feel bad when she’s always asking me to take trips with her to places like Italy and France?
While I know she is aware of my budgetary restrictions, I hate being the party pooper and I especially hate feeling like a cheapskate. I figured out that I have to find a nice balance — especially when it comes to restaurants. I’ll suggest cheaper places to eat, and thankfully there are endless choices in Manhattan.
I also realized that the only person making me feel bad about my financial situation is me. While it’s hard not to be envious when she drops $1,000 in a store without even batting an eye, I’ve learned to not take it personally. She works hard for her money and deserves to spend it the way she wants. I’ve accepted the fact that I may never reach her tax bracket, and I’m okay with that. The bottom line is that we’re good friends, and not being at the same financial level shouldn’t be important. (Continued on page 2)