I was talking to my mom and sister the other day through FaceTime. As we were chatting, my nephew came into view and suddenly said, “Mom, I need money to pay for my yearbook.”
“Alright,” my sister replied. “When do you need it?”
She, naturally, flew into a rage. “I told you to tell me these things earlier because I have no money right now! I won’t get paid until next week so I don’t have any money on me for your yearbook!”
(She is just a short-tempered person, especially when it came to money and family. I think maybe that most people wouldn’t normally react with such a passion. But I’ll explain later on why she did so.)
My nephew tried to defend himself. He had told her days ago in passing but I guess she forgot. He also forgot to remind her about the yearbook; he figured telling his mom just one time about it was enough for her to remember.
Meanwhile, my mom and I jumped in to cover the price of the yearbook, which was $95. In the end, my mom gave my nephew the money.
I mention all this because just last week we were talking about my sister’s income. She had just filed her taxes and last year, she almost made six figures.
Yes, that’s right. Six figures.
So why was it that a sudden need for a hundred dollars would cause her to get so upset?
To me, that amount of income is just enviable. My husband and I make half that amount combined. Yet, had my nephew asked me for money, I would have forked over the cash readily, with no problem. I wouldn’t have panicked or over-reacted over such a tiny sum.
I guess my sister felt differently. She said she had already budgeted the amount she needed for the week and she didn’t have ready cash to cover the extra and unaccounted for-yearbook.
I am just baffled by her reaction, though. But I realize we differ in our mindsets. To her, she is always worrying about money, how she never has enough–even with her income. I think I have learned to be grateful for the things that I have. I treat my money with respect and appreciation. I’ve made choices and live frugally. I don’t spend excessively and I spend money on the things that I really enjoy and love. Money for my nephew’s yearbook would count as part of that. I love my nephew and I would like for him to have a yearbook to remember his high school years by.
I guess, too, my sister has a lot of expenses that she needs to pay. She has a mortgage, a teenage son, a car, insurances, and upcoming college expenses. I feel for her. She has a lot of things to worry about and any unaccounted expense always throws her off. She also works in a very high-stress industry, which explains her high income.
Since I made a commitment to becoming financially independent, I’ve taken the time to think about what’s important to me. I may not have the high income, but at least I am not living under so much stress from my job. Also, I’ve made it a point to make sure that we have savings to cover any unexpected expenses, and maybe that is why I feel confident that I can handle anything that comes up suddenly. This is why I am not as stressed as she is.
It just goes to show you that having more money doesn’t necessarily mean you will be happier. Seems to me to be more problematic than anything.