When it comes to disclosing wealth, people tend to approach things differently.
If you have it, some people may choose to flaunt it while others may choose to underplay it for the sake of modesty or privacy.
But if you’re actually wealthy, is it wrong to correct someone for constantly implying that you’re not?
Redditor Barkleyslakjssrtqwe recently clashed with his wife over her misleading comments about their finances, so he turned to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) to see if he was in the wrong for his actions.
“AITA for revealing our net worth when my wife constantly says we are broke and making me look bad with money?”
The original poster (OP) explained his family’s financial situation.
“I (31M[ale]) have been with my wife (30F[emale]) for 10 years now and she always has had this habit of making me look bad with our finances.”
“Whenever anything regarding spending money comes up she will always say how broke we are and she doesn’t have the money to do this or buy that.”
“The thing is we are doing well financially. We have decent jobs and combine our salary is roughly $125k/yr.”
“As of today our net worth is more than $1 million but less than 2. I had saved/invested a lot before getting married so I gave us a good head start.”
“I control the finances/take the lead but we both agreed to living a very modest life. We both have our cars from college for example (Honda & Toyota).”
“She knows everything about our finances because at least once a month I go over it with her every time I deposit money in our investment accounts or our kids college funds. For banking we have an emergency fund and I budget everything else to go straight into investments.”
“We basically stay right at $10k in our banks savings account and $500 in our checking account after bills. Most of the time there is more than $500 in our checkings, but once I pay our CC (credit card) each month I then move anything extra.”
“We always use the CC so it’s not like we only have $500 to spend. Our CC limit is $25,000.”
But despite this knowledge, his wife kept insisting to friends and family they have no money.
“A few months ago we had dinner with her friends and they talked buying a new car. My wife said something like, ‘I wish I could get a new car but I’m always broke after paying the bills. We still have our college cars!’ (Wife does not want a new car).”
“She will go on to talk about if she had money what she would want to buy and it always makes me feel ashamed. This ‘I’m broke story’ has been happening for years.”
“When we were driving home I asked her about. She understood we have the money but it’s how she feels because her bank account is always low.”
“I said I can increase our budget or keep more money in our bank if she wants. Since we are doing well I’m okay with spending more.”
“She said no and again was happy with our finances. I explained that when she says we are broke it makes me look bad and I feel ashamed.”
“It’s as though I can’t provide for the family and/or I am bad with money. She doesn’t see it that way.”
Even after confronting her about it, the OP’s wife continued her behavior.
“The same conversation has come up numerous times about us being broke. Recently, I reminded her numerous times it makes me feel and look bad in front of friends and family.”
“I told her if she keeps saying stuff like that I will reveal that we are doing well with money. I gave her a few reminders I’d eventually do this but she kept going with the I’m broke story.”
Finally the OP snapped and made good on his threat.
“At a dinner with her sister and parents the same I’m broke story came up. I piped in and said, ‘It’s weird to hear a millionaire say they are broke.'”
“My wife said, ‘Haha, I’m not though.’ And I quickly say, ‘We are millionaires and you know that. We go over our finances every month.'”
“Well the I’m broke story stopped after that and the night went on as usual. A little later the same thing happens with her friends and I use the same line.”
But this tactic only sparked more tension with his wife.
“Now my wife is mad at me for using that line and revealing roughly how much money we have. She said it seems like I’m gloating.”
“I say its better than making me look like I’m running us into the ground financially. So AITA for revealing our net worth when my wife says we are broke?”
After getting some responses, the OP added a few more details to his post about his family’s financial situation.
“Final update for now as we have a long weekend planned. Some key points I saw a lot of and wanted to give answers.”
“-I’m pretty open to us spending money and I don’t restrict her spending. She has the CC to spend money monthly.”
“Most of the month we have far more than $500 in our checking but I move anything above to our investments once I pay the CC every month.”
“I know I won’t have any big expenses then. If I do we have the CC limit and the $10k emergency cash.”
“-We live on a really cheap area and had a low cost of living. We never felt the need to upgrade until we wanted to start having kids. I didn’t have to change our lifestyle much to save a lot.”
“-My job is in demand and pays well because nobody wants to live out in my area. So after expenses I take home a lot more than I would living in a major city. Probably 3 to 4 times more net savings annually if I had to guess.”
“-She doesn’t want a new car and has told me that multiple times. She doesn’t like driving and feels comfortable with her current car.”
“-She doesn’t know what she wants to do when she retires. I know I’ll be golfing, games, and eating edibles most days.”
“I don’t do any of this much now because we have kids and they will be my focus for a long time. I maybe golf 1 or 2 times a month and that’s the only time I take edibles.”
Redditors weighed in on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most didn’t blame the OP for wanting to call out his wife.
“NTA. She was dismissive of your feelings and was constantly lying to the people around her. It’s a classic case of play stupid games, win stupid prizes.”—macaroni_rascal42
“This! If she doesn’t want it continually mentioned she needs to stop crying poverty. It’s pretty simple.”—Hasagreatkid
“Yes! I grew up fairly poor, since my mom was a single mom raising three kids (seriously, we were poor. We were homeless for a bit a few times, and I thought it was a summer where we ate only ramen, chicken salad, and water, but apparently it was a few years, and we lived with my grandparents for a while (but they were super toxic, especially to my mom, so we got out of there)).”
“She now has a boyfriend (pretty nice guy), and his daughters are extremely sh*tty.”
“They always complain about being broke when one has the ability to live nicely but go way above her means, and the other constantly has thousands in her bank account (but is too stingy to spend it. Seriously, she will worm her way into getting you to pay, and if you don’t, she won’t go).”
“It’s one of my pet peeves when people complain avidly about being broke when they aren’t, because I’ve been there and it isn’t fun.”—illiterate_writer97
“Crying poverty when you are worth over million dollars is about as insulting as you can get to people who are actually struggling. I wonder how many people she’s cried ‘I’m so broke’ to, who are actually struggling to stay afloat.”—l3gion-1183
“It’s very weird that your wife feels the need to constantly downplay and pretend that she’s poor. What about all the people who are actually struggling?”
“Very weird, and a sh*tty thing for your wife to do. It’s good that you called her out on it.”—Elli_Khoraz
But some felt like there might be more behind the wife’s actions.
“I’m going to go with ESH here actually.”
“Looked into OP’s post history, $1.7M family trust he will eventually split with 2 other siblings.”
“It’s entirely possible that OP’s wife doesn’t consider that money hers, so yeah while they may live comfortably and could have a more lavish lifestyle, their annual income might not really support that.”
“She’s a bit of an AH for claiming poverty, but he’s an AH also for counting his management of shared/family money as ‘being a millionaire.'”—DrinKwine7
“I agree that it’s not a good thing. But I feel like I know where the ‘I’m so poor’ habit comes from. I see it a lot at private US collages.”
“There’s a culture of downplaying wealth in order to make yourself seem like you’re valiantly struggling.”
“The US culture ties morality with the middle and upper middle classes and their values and immorality with the poor and wealthy and so everyone wants to make it seem as though they’re solidly in the middle class. OPs wife is probably uncomfortable with their wealth.”
“I’m not saying what she’s doing is right, she’s clearly being an a** to OP. I just felt like I could add some context to her actions.”—theglasstadpole
“Why does she downplay your combined wealth? Is she worried her family will ask for financial assistance?”
“Is the crack about her college car because she’s sick of using am old car but doesn’t think you’ll agree to buying a new one? And why do you feel like it’s specifically calling you out?”
“Is she saying you’re not earning enough, or that you’re spending all the money? I feel like there’s something going on you haven’t told us.”—InterminableSnowman
“It’s possible that she’s just frustrated with the results of their budgeting. I’m in a similar scenario: I’ve got a job with a decent salary (not anywhere near OP’s but I don’t have to worry about starving any time soon).”
“Right now I’m taking the opportunity to save as much as possible for the future, and it sucks to have limited spending money, even when I (hopefully) will be much better off when I retire thanks to aggressive savings early on.”
“But because it’s my choice, I don’t complain about not having spending money because I’m choosing to save it, and that (I think) is where OP’s wife is missing a step.”
“It’s like being grumpy because you’re on a diet. It might be reasonable to be grumpy because you’re hungry but it’s a-hole behavior to take it out on people around you.”—Stormdanc3
“ESH – Bro… your wife has $500 in her checking account and drives a beater… for all intents and purposes she lives like she is broke.”
“Throwing out that she has $1M in YOUR investment account does not make it seem like she is lying, it makes it seems like you are a controlling a**hole.”—J0sey_W4ales_23
A few, however, felt like it should never have been a public issue in the first place.
“Paychecks, Politics, Prayers. The 3 forbidden dinner conversations.”
“It sounds like your wife falls back on the ‘I’m broke’ line to cover up her insecurities of not ‘keeping up’ with her social circle.”
“And I get that you’re not pleased with her comments, but having an argument about your finances in mixed company is…just kind of classless. No one needs to know how much money you make or don’t make.”
“It’s weird that you think her comments make you look bad, since you both work, and it doesn’t seem like it’s common knowledge that you manage the finances?”
“I mean if someone’s wife tells me ‘we’re broke,’ my first thought isn’t ‘oh, it must be the husband, he’s bad at money.’ That I think is your own insecurity.”—BroadElderberry
“Just curious, as I think others are—most people don’t have conversations like this, i.e. sitting around whining about finances at dinner parties—and would feel pretty uncomfortable—well, I would, it seems super gauche, so how does this keep arising as a topic of conversation?”
“It certainly seems contextually inappropriate.”—Gulliverlived
It sounds like the OP and his wife may need to sit down and have an honest conversation about what’s really bothering them instead of airing their dirty laundry in front of everyone.
“It seems like there is such tension in your marriage over money that your wife is acting passive aggressively like TA by complaining that you’re broke nonstop in front of family and friends, and then you responded with the nuclear option of revealing your full financial details (only soft TA on that, because you did give her full warning you were going to do it).”
“The reason might be these details from your post and comments: that you’d saved 80% of your combined $125K income for many years, lived in a 600 sq ft apartment for 4-5 years, and are driving cars that are around ten years old, as your wife is watching her friends get new cars.”
“I think you have been wise with your money and that’s a great thing. But have you been a little too frugal?”
“Has your wife been unhappy for ten years because she had no breathing room to enjoy any discretionary spending at all, and has this been a recurring argument that’s now playing out in front of an audience?”
“It sounds like what both of you really need to do is to talk to each other about what is really bothering you about your financial situation, because your wife sounds unhappy and it seems like she’s uncomfortable telling you why she’s unhappy (since she didn’t take the initial offer to rework the finances).”
“What you probably need is marriage counseling, not Reddit, which would get to the source of the problem. And I’ll probably get downvoted to hell for this comment, but I’m trying to be honest.”—Conscious-Jello2148
The OP agreed with this assessment, noting:
“I’ll speak more with my wife about this. After reading posts I think she may not feel like it’s her money since she never saved much before we got engaged.”
For the sake of his marriage, that sounds like a good plan.