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How to deal with the haves and the have nots

  1. #1
    smglobal is offline Registered User
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    How to deal with the haves and the have nots

    I am increasingly frustrated with the amount of splurging I see here, and I want to get some opinions on how to deal with it.

    Our family does well enough here, and we feel fortunate to be in Asia at a time when our earning potential is higher here than back home. We do try to enjoy ourselves during this time - going home once a year, visiting places like Thailand or China a couple times a year, hiring a helper, etc.

    My issue is that I see so many people in similar circumstances who spend so much more, and even as balanced as I try to be, I get jealous. Every other month is a vacation to a luxury resort, every other week is a new handbag, they have expensive cars, expensive rent, their kids have every imaginable new outfit or toy or have signed up for all these classes. All this and we aren't even paying for international schools yet...I imagine it might be even worse then!

    Sure, I tell myself that we are practical and saving up to go home, whereas some people will have to work forever to maintain their lifestyle. But it still bothers me that in HK you see such crazy wealth and spending, and the culture seem to encourage more and more rather than being mindful and saving. Any suggestions on how to deal? I haven't been here that long and it's weighing on me...I especially worry about how to be a good role model to my kids as they get older and start asking for things...

  2. #2
    AmyH is offline Registered User
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    I don't pay any attention to what other people have or don't have. It's none of my business how others choose to spend their money, as it is none of their business how I choose to spend mine.
    As far as setting a good example for my children goes, we encourage our son to save his pocket money. Our daughter is too young yet. My son gets presents from us at christmas and birthday. He doesnt walk in to a shop and get anything he wants. Sometimes he comes home and asks why he can't have things that some of his friends have and we explain that if he wants us to pay for it, then he can wait until his birthday. He can also choose to buy something with his pocket money but we find that once he has to pay for it himself he often decides not to!
    My advice would be to focus on you and your family and let others live how they choose to.
    thanka2 and as72 like this.

  3. #3
    nicolejoy's Avatar
    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    Hong Kong is ridiculous in how much some people make - and spend. We aren't too bad off - but we are definitely on the "low" side of expats over here. My husband is Australian-Chinese and was a local hire. We have friends who pay more in rent than we earn in a month, it's insane.

    All that said, I like what Amy said, we don't focus on what other people have or don't have - we try to make wise financial decisions for our family and will teach our children to do so for themselves. And for a reality check, you can make friends with some locals and I know compared to them, OUR rent is more than their income so we must seem equally as extravagant...
    thanka2 likes this.

  4. #4
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
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    wouldn't think too much ...there's a saying in Chinese that goes somewhat like "if you compare yourself to others too much you will go crazy" ! just do what is right for your family...i know it's going to be tough when you're kids asks, why someone has a toy and he cant have one...but i think that happens in many places and not just Hk. We live within our means, and yes, i do like for my kids to have some nice things - a nice outfit here and there, but it doesnt mean that every piece of clothing is a big name brand...they wear hand me downs, they have nice party dresses...hopefully they will grow to not WANT nice things, but to appreciate it when they are given nice things and not expect to get "nice" things each time (nice as is expensive I guess - I DO think the hand me downs are "nice") :)

  5. #5
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    there was a very similar post a few years ago with lots of ideas in it.... i'll see if i can find it.

  6. #6
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    here it is...

    A sound family budget?

  7. #7
    Honkyblues is offline Registered User
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    There's always going to be someone richer (or more willing to spend money) than you (unless you're Stanley Ho / Li Ka Shing ;-)). I think it's natural to have an occasional envious thought, but at the end of the day, you have to work at being happy with what you've got and counting your blessings. There will always be someone less fortunate than you. We are all so lucky to be here, I personally think.

    If you want to teach your kids the value of money, look at Money Savvy Pigs - I bought some for my boys at Christmas to try to teach them the value of Saving, Spending, Investing and Donating. Good financial sense starts early - but doesn't come naturally to most!

  8. #8
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    my kids have a coin bucket (there has been as much as $3000 in it!). they save all of their money for whatever goal it is that we have. we are now saving to buy air tickets to canada at xmas.

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