We’ve all heard the saying that you can’t know what someone else is going through without taking a walk in their shoes.
But some people love to give advice on other people’s lifestyles anyway, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor CzarJulius was furious with her sister, who had a much higher-paying income than her, when her sister started giving her advice about saving money for a car.
When her sister promptly hung up on her, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was wrong to point out that her sister didn’t understand what it was like to live with and respond to an emergency with a lower income.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my sister that her perspective is useless?”
The OP was living in a different financial situation than her sister.
“So I’ve got an older sister, T, that makes a significantly higher salary than me.”
“She’s got a house, a fully paid-off car, the whole American dream deal.”
“I’ve got a stable job, but not one that is particularly high-earning.”
When the OP’s car broke down, her sister had advice.
“Last weekend, my car broke down.”
“On a call, I was complaining to my sister about how jacked up car prices are, and how I’ll need to take out a car loan.”
“She launched into a rant against car loans, and how it is always better to wait and buy a car outright.”
“When I told her I need a car now because mine fully broke down, she told me I should just take the bus until I have the money saved up.”
“When I told her that wasn’t realistic, she said, ‘See, things like this are why I was able to buy a house and you can’t.'”
The OP didn’t appreciate the unsolicited advice.
“I replied. ‘No, the reason you can afford to buy a house is because you make 4 times as much as I do. Honestly, your perspective on normal person finances is f**king useless.'”
“She got really mad at me about that because she considers herself to be a ‘normal’ person, and I pointed out that she’s anything but normal. She’s been part of the upper class for the better part of 10 years now, and her perspective on money is 100% biased.”
“She pretty quickly hung up the phone, and I haven’t heard from her since.”
The OP wondered if she was too harsh.
“I may have gone too far in saying she isn’t a normal person or that her perspective is useless, but honestly, it’s true.”
“She has never ridden on public transportation and hasn’t struggled for money since her undergraduate a decade ago.”
“Her telling me to take the bus felt like her saying, ‘Oh, that’s what poor people do, so go do that,’ and it felt condescending.”
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 didn’t think the OP was harsh at all and thought the sister could use a reality check.
“If someone who made 4x as much as me told me it was my fault I couldn’t afford a home, I would go off on them too. NTA.” – Classic_Special7045
“You gotta love the JuSt pAy CaSh people. Ohh damn, why didn’t I think of that! Here I was thinking how great it was to have a big chunk of my money going towards interest!”
“If I had tried to save cash for a house, I’d still be waiting. Oh, you just saved another $5k in the house fund? Too bad because that house you wanted went up by $20k in the same period and inflation made your savings worth 7% less.”
“Not to mention that you have to live somewhere. Apparently, a mortgage payment of $1500/mo is stupid but $1500/mo rent that you’ll never get back is fine.” – simple_champ
“NTA. Your sister obviously doesn’t see that she has a bit of a privileged position, and I actually think it’s a helpful thing for her to have it pointed out.”
“My sympathies about your car, that sucks! I hope you can easily get a loan and find a nice reliable new car.” – sjwild2003
“I had this same rant with my mother. I was b***hing about money issues making minimum wage just out of high school.”
“She’s making 100k and starts telling me about her budget woes and how they just spent $300 this month on fast food alone.”
“I pointed out, ‘Mom, you do realize how tone-deaf it is to complain about $300 in fast food to a guy who brings home less than $1000 after taxes, right?'”
“We don’t really talk finances anymore.” – Outrageous_Turnip_29
“Certified used is a good way to go. You still get the warranty, but for less.”
“I’m sorry your car died, that sucks.”
“I was just talking about this the other day with a colleague… people who haven’t been poor don’t understand.”
“Poor people buy 40 boots, they need replacing every 2 years, and rich people buy $300 boots that last twenty years. They ask, why not buy the better boots, it’s cheaper? Obviously, because the poor person didn’t have $300 for boots.”
“It’s like telling someone a 15-year mortgage is better than a 30-year. No s**t, Sherlock, but it’s twice as much per month!” – longpas
“NTA. Privilege can obscure the image of what ‘normal’ actually is. I’m sure your sister worked hard for everything they got, but because of their current position, they really can’t tell you realistically what will work for you.”
“Things that will save you money, in the long run, aren’t necessarily feasible when you are poor and need something right this second.”
“Public transportation is god awful in so many places. We do what must be done but buses are often slow and don’t get you where you need to be unless you are lucky and live somewhere that is commonplace.” – maaya_the_bee
Others tried to help by giving the OP advice for getting her next car.
“There was a segment on my local news once, about ‘how to pay your debt off faster’… And that was one of the suggestions, to pay cash whenever possible.”
“Like, dude, people who have the kind of debt that makes them look for 5 easy ways to pay it off, don’t HAVE cash, because it’s all going to that debt.” – Malibu921
“NTA. Also, try car shopping at the end of the month. Dealerships want to hit quotas and are more likely to negotiate lower prices (my sister worked at a dealership and that was always her piece of advice anyway!). Good luck, it’s rough out there!” – Lazyp0922
“The best time to buy a car is August. Sounds crazy, right? But new cars are rolled in September. In the US.” – ImportantVictory5386
“OP, if you can and if you’re from the US, definitely try to get a loan through a credit union rather than a bank or car dealership. They have much better rates!! Speaking as an ex loan officer.”
“Just google credit unions in your area. As long as you live in the community of the credit union you can usually get membership through that or pay a small $5-$25 ‘donation’ to one of their affiliated organizations.” – Theycallmesorry
“The irony here is that if you need to borrow, borrowing for cars is one of the least financially damaging things you can do because the rates tend to be lower than other forms of debt – pretty much anything but a mortgage. You are NTA.”
“It’s very nice to be debt-free and always pay cash. Most of us lack that option. I make very good money, but I still finance my cars instead of waiting and buying for cash. The interest is low and I would probably pay more by way of higher prices by waiting a couple of years over financing today at 4%.”
“I also would rather buy a new car today and finance than drive a car that is past its expiration date and risk having major mechanical issues. So, this really is not as cut and dried as she wants to pretend.” – GloryIV
“Yeah, the financial gurus say you should never take out a loan on something that is guaranteed to lose value over time. What they fail to take into account is that doing that is a luxury that many, perhaps most, people cannot afford.”
“It’s expensive to be poor, a part of the trap that keeps poor people stuck that way. (Not suggesting this is intentional, it’s just a fact.) (Also not suggesting that you are poor, a lot of these traps – car loans included – will catch everyone who isn’t in the highest income category.)”
“NTA. Your sister needs a dose of reality.” – asgallant
Though some could appreciate that the OP was harsh with her sister, they also believed that the sister was out-of-touch after a decade of living with a high income.
She may have meant well in her suggestions to the OP, but she could have gone in with the thought in mind that a piece of advice is not meant to suit every person’s situation.