Sunday, April 17, 2011

Are We Rich? Part 2 of 3 (In which I whine for no good reason)

To read Part 1 of this series, click here.

So, taxes are done and filed.  We are not getting the refund I was hoping for, and actually owed a chunk I wasn't expecting.  We are able to pay it, and while home improvement projects have to be scrapped for a while, we are still in relatively good shape.

I'm just jealous of those who have more, that's all.

In the midst of trying to coordinate an outing with a friend and her son, she mentioned some of the scheduled activities that are keeping them so busy.  A leadership summer camp for her son at an exciting location, and a trip to Asia this summer too.  She is understandably excited by both opportunities.  Meantime, I was excited to learn that our children will have the chance to travel to Washington D.C. in 8th grade--hey, that's all the way across the country!  It pales in comparison to her child's annual summer continent trek.  He's been to Australia and Paris already....places that even I, in my 5th decade of life, have never been.

Another family that we know is in the midst of renovating their house.  A major structural redo, it will take many months, and they will have to camp out in their backyard and garage over the summer, having turned over most of their daily living space to a construction crew to remodel.  It will open up tons of space, and use that space more efficiently, making an ordinary home quite exceptional and lovely.  I am jealous because my hopes of just taking down a couple of trees, and installing hardwood instead of carpet are on hold.  A remodel such as they are planning is completely out of the question for our financial situation.

So, are we rich?  Heck NO!  I have to fight off the green-eyed monster as I realized that my recent raise will go directly to paying our increased real estate taxes this year, leaving me feeling no further ahead despite all my hard work.

And I do realize that I am still very, very well off compared to many other high-quality people in the world, or even neighborhood.  We don't worry about what we buy at the grocery (I do pay attention, and clip coupons, but I don't worry if we can afford meat this week).  We have good health insurance, and relatively good health (knock on wood).  The recent discussions about exchanging Medicare for vouchers does have me resigned to working for the rest of my life, though...

Even if we did have the money that our friends do, which they are investing in summer vacations around the world, or remodeling their home, DH and I are not sure we would bother.  Our remodeling friends are probably sick of hearing comments that their house is "fine the way it is".  It is fine, but the point is that it will be better when they are done.  And if they have the money and are willing to put up with the hassle of living in their garage to realize their vision, more power to them!

I have smaller, less ambitious visions.  Hopefully we'll do our withholding tax calculations right next year, and we too can make our "dreams" come true.


  1. We had to pay a big chunk too this year! I just look at it as punishment for Crag working a little bit more and earning a bit more.

    For my art biz, the legal deductions are always more than the gross sales! Does that mean I'm actually doing volunteer work?

    Something you may not be aware of with those other couples. Perhaps they have debt up the ying yang. Or much lower levels of savings.

    We are all rich if we have a home, a healthy family, and groceries in the cupboard!

  2. And remember that a planned remodel can go horribly, horribly wrong. Ours has been a struggle and has lasted well over a year. We know another couple that has been out of their house for 18 months now.

    I am not at all sure I would do it again. Not at all.

  3. yes, it's all relative, isn't it? I can totally relate. I know money can't buy happiness, but yes, would be nice to have MORE!! much MORE!! bwah ha ha!

    I am reminded of these poignant lyrics from a timeless band:

    "You can't always get what you want
    But if you try sometime, you just might find,
    You get all you need."

  4. Googoodadda nailed it on the head--that's what I have to remind myself. I've got what I need, and even more.

    @jeffp--so right. I'd like to say it's my cautious foresight that prevents us from stepping into sinkholes like that, but we are frankly just too lazy/comfortable to commit the time and energy for a major renovation like that. So I will have to get used to envying people with *amazing* homes, and be satisfied with our really quite nice one instead.

  5. And think of all the failed marriages which come about in the course of major home remodels.


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