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Redditor Balks After They’re Accused Of ‘Faking Being Poor’ While Charging Struggling Roommates Rent

Photo By Supoj Buranaprapapong/Getty Images

We all have hopes and dreams we would like to see fulfilled, and some of them require money and careful planning.

Some people are more committed to setting aside money for that dream than others, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Kingjoe97034 had consistently lived below their financial means as a way to invest more in themself in the future.

But while they were becoming financially comfortable, the Original Poster (OP) understood that his friends might not experience the same privilege.

They asked the sub:

“AITA for downplaying my income?”

The OP was doing well financially. 

“After 30 years of steady progress, I’m making pretty good money. Like, I recently readjusted my 401k so I won’t overpay into it this year.”

“The change in my take-home pay is more than my roommate pays in rent in my sort of low-end ugly house in a poor neighborhood.”

The same could not be said for their friends.

“Both of my roommates and several friends are constantly struggling.”

“I try to help by drastically undercharging on rent (they probably pay half what the going rate is for rooms in my city) and being the one who buys takeout on movie nights. But they still struggle.”

“I pretty much downplay my income and will downplay my available money by pointing out the college expenses I pay for my child and the cost of filling my old junker car with gas.”

The OP opened up about his finances with a friend.

“I was hanging with a friend recently and he asked what I make. I was honest.”

“He called me a jerk and said I was condescending to my friends by acting ‘poor.'”

“He was actively angry that I’m ‘faking’ being poor. Meanwhile, I’m just trying to save up so I have a warm place to go to the bathroom when I’m old.”

“I’m going to charge rent to live in my house. It seems wrong to have people live there rent-free. I just way undercharge.”

“I have no desire to get a fancy new car or show off with a nicer house.”

“I do spend money on travel, but that’s rare due to my job needing me. And no one sees how nice I travel.”

“Am I the AH for ‘acting’ poor?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some pointed out that the OP was just living within his means. 

“‘Acting poor’ sounds like someone who takes advantage of others by asking people to pay for them even though he or she can afford to pay their own way. That is not what you are doing.”

“You are living below your means, and are generous on top of that by undercharging on rent and treating your friends/roommates to takeout, etc. NTA.” – rozzycoldfeet

“I grew up in a way like the OP. By the time I was in high school, my parents were doing pretty well, top 5% for household income.”

“They also lived in a standard middle-class house for the area, bought their cars used and drove them for 6 years, didn’t ever buy brand name clothing, etc. because they were saving aggressively.”

“Now my dad is retiring and my mom will be this year, and they have more than enough money set aside. They weren’t acting poor, they were acting like people who didn’t want to be poor when they were old if they could avoid it.” – suchahotmess

“You’re not ‘acting poor’ to take advantage of anyone. At most, you’re trying to avoid people mooching off you when you’re already more generous than you need to be.” – Direct-Decision-5248

“You’re not ‘acting poor,’ you’re living within your means and according to your plans for retirement. Friend owes you an apology. NTA.” – ladytypeperson

“NTA. It was rude of him to ask; it was unwise of you to tell him. It’s your money, do what you want with it. He isn’t entitled to it, but he is reaping the advantage of your money.”

“At this point, you can keep doing what you are doing, or you can make changes to the situation. You aren’t acting poor. You are acting wise with the money. NTA.” – Guess_What_I_Think

“You’re doing what all smart people do when they have money: They don’t advertise it. They invest in retirement, emergency funds, car funds, and saving to for buying a house.”

“I’d lose the friend that feels entitled to your money and judges you for living within your means.” – EasyTangerine9038

Others agreed and said the OP was also helping out his friends.

“I don’t understand this friend’s alternative. ‘Hey, I make enough money that I can afford this place on my own. You have to move out and pay full rent somewhere else.'” – Throwjob42

“Tell the friend they are right, ‘I’ll stop acting poor by charging you market rent and buying myself a brand new car off of your rent increase.'” – nolan358

“NTA, you live under your means as you aren’t materialistic, and you were being modest and non-tacky to not flash wealth.”

“Your friends/roommates/tenants should not get a free ride because you have a higher income and have gotten your s**t together. The fact that they pay far less than the market rate reflects on your empathy.”

“Next time somebody asks what you make, though, don’t tell them, it’s nobody’s business but your own.” – PotentialMud6570

“You charge below-market rent and spring for takeout for your friends. That should have been a clue you’re doing ok. NTA.”

“Also, never tell anyone what you make. It’s none of their d**n business unless they’re your partner and you’re combining finances.” – GrannyNugs

“NTA. I had a similar situation. My former roommate thought they should pay less rent because I owned the house.”

“Nip this in the bud, and tell your roommate that they can move out if it’s too expensive for them. You don’t owe anyone any explanations or favors.” – cosmicdancer84

“NTA but there’s no need to downplay how much money you make. ‘I don’t want to talk about my personal finances.'”

“Otherwise, you’re charging what is fair in your eyes. Your roommates/friends are lucky you don’t feel the need to charge more because the market rate is more.” – debdnow

“NTA. Congratulations on earning your income and also not letting it go to your head. You seem like a good friend.” – Both_Cheeseburgers

Some also pointed out the potential hypocrisy of the situation. 

“If you were showy with your money, this same person would probably give you crap for showing up your friends.”

“You’ll learn you can never win with some people.” – granite34

“He sounds like he’s angry that he hasn’t been taking more advantage of OP, like, turns out OP can afford a lot of stuff that he’d been embarrassed to ask OP to pay for because he’d made assumptions.” – saucynoodlelover

“Live a frugal life or so it seems, and you’re being fake poor.”

“Go out and spend your money on (not needed) stuff, and you’re flaunting how rich you are to others.”

“NTA. Your friend is just jealous.” – Ambitious-Battle8091

“Just remember a difficult financial situation will leave people in a different headspace, this is a great situation to pretend to walk in their shoes for a minute and think about what you would want a friend like you to do if that was your situation.”

“This mental exercise may come up with the answers to the questions you’re going to face when you talk with more of your roommates/friends I’m sure when this gets around. NTA.” – Dry_North2956

“NTA, it’s called living beneath your means and it’s smart. I do the same thing so that I can someday own a house fully paid off and still be able to retire by the time I get to that age.”

“Just because you have money doesn’t mean you should spend it. Some people are so used to living hand-to-mouth, they can’t comprehend what it would be like to save money.”

“Instead they just think to themselves, ‘If I had extra money, I’d spend it on…’ when the smarter thing to do is what you’re doing and to live beneath your means and save it for your later comfort.” – Halleanon

“Downplay is a vague word. I think I would stick with being brief and private: ‘I make a good amount these days and I have quite a few expenses, especially kid’s college.'”

“But if you are driving an old junker and claiming to be worried about having a bathroom, you are giving an impression that’s not really true. I mean, drive whatever car you want, that’s not actually a problem.”

“Making it sound like gas, even these days, is a problem for you when you are maxing out your IRA? That’s less downplaying and more misleading.”

“People can be really weird about money. I wonder if he was more upset about you being misleading or if he thinks you should spend more money on things that benefit your friends. The first would be a lot easier to accept and deal with.” – ShirleyUGuessed

Though the OP felt conflicted after hearing their friend’s response to the income they were bringing in, the subReddit was less concerned about how the OP was presenting their situation and how entitled their friend potentially felt to their money.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit