Why Do We Criticize Financial Success?

Why Do We Criticize Financial Success?

This post isn’t meant to be political at all. And I don’t want to get into a debate about whether or not we should construct policies that would tax wealthier people more or if we should create more tax breaks for people in general. Full disclosure I think the biggest economic and social issue in America is income inequality and I generally favor greater taxes for those are wealthier individuals. However, I also believe we need to totally reform the tax code, individual and corporate. Personally, I would lower rates and get rid of a lot of deductions on both sides of the tax aisle.

In terms of personal finance, however, I am more concerned with people who tend to write negative comments online against others. For example, I regularly read the blogs of Mr. Money Mustache and Go Curry Cracker. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Mr. Money Mustache is a blog about a couple who saved a huge amount of money in a very short time and then basically “retired.” In other words, they quit their jobs and if they do work it is on their terms. MMM’s blog has become quite popular, particularly among those people who want to achieve Financial Independence and Retire Early. Go Curry Cracker is a blog about a couple who also saved a large amount of money, retired, and have no traveled all over the world. They are currently based in Taiwan where they just had their first child. Both blogs are quite successful and inspirational, at least in my opinion.

Recently, both bloggers have been featured in articles in Forbes and on Marketwatch discussing their stories of early retirement. However, if you read the comments section from the articles you will find most of the comments are negative in nature. People write that these bloggers must be lying, it is impossible to do what they have done, they are depriving their children of so and so, they must be skinflints and not have any prosperity.  They argue that these bloggers haven’t thought about the future? Or college and whatever? Essentially, people just hating on these people because of their financial success. And if they had just dug deeper into both blogs they would see that both bloggers cover those subjects in detail.

Now we can define success in a lot of different ways. Financially, it could be a number of things which might be just paying their bills, accumulating millions of dollars, or it might be retiring early. Most people would probably define financial success as those who acquire lots of money. I personally define as being able financially independent, which is essentially where I can choose to work or not. I don’t have too. And most of that independence is based upon how much you spend, not how much you have accumulated.

When I read most of these articles I just can’t understand why people hate on others so much. And it isn’t just these kinds of articles about financial success.  Another blog I read, Even Steven Money, posted an article about an article featured on another blog. In the article posted on Facebook, Steven discussed how he used the “debt tornado” to pay off debt. Certainly, some of his strategies resemble others. However, the Facebook comments were nothing but criticism. The comments called the article “a waste of time” and they couldn’t get their two minutes back.  I don’t understand the need to be critical of MMM, Go Curry Cracker, Even Steven Money, or other blogs. It takes a lot of courage to put one’s story out for the public.

Perhaps, this is one of the reasons I haven’t posted a lot of specific info on the financial assets I have because I don’t want to open myself up to these kinds of comments.  I don’t want to hear from others that it was all luck, that it was this, that it was that, etc. Why do we feel the need to hate on people’s success? Are we jealous? I may write a personal finance blog and I certainly have opinions about how people should spend their money, etc. Hell, I might even sound a bit preachy at times with my posts. But you won’t find a negative post from me anywhere on another person’s personal finance blog. I admire those people who can put their stuff out for the world to see and who have success. Heck, I even have a twinge of jealousy how further along they seem than I am.

I know it is all relative, but I just don’t see the reason to be negative? Why? What is it about people’s financial success that brings out vitriol, disbelief that we couldn’t do the same?



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