How much you earn is a function of your educational qualifications, attitude, location of stay, etc. How much you spend however, is a function of your financial past – sometimes you behave like a poor person and sometimes like a rich person!

Let me tell you of Sindhu – one of the girls I know. She has had a deprived childhood and this I know due to my interaction with her. In fact her life, education, etc. have been one big long mess and she could not even graduate due to her father’s untimely death. She has gone hungry due to non availability of food at home – and her younger brother DIED due to lack of medical attention. Either sheer neglect or not having money to go to a decent hospital is not clear.

However when you see her spending now, you think she has lost it. She is no longer ‘poor’ – she has married an engineer who is doing well in a bank and she herself is working in a big BFSI company. Both earn well – and spend it all! They like many of their friends live pay check to pay check and obviously have NO SAVINGS. They do drive around in a car and travel about 100km a day (luckily the work in the same location) and have most of the fancy gadgets and of course phone upgrades are annual – or at 15 months gap! They have a small car and of course looking for an upgrade.

I find a pattern among spenders. Those who have had a deprived childhood spend far more lavishly – as if making up for their past! They are out to prove to the world that ‘they have earned it’ . The words ‘ I DESERVE IT’ seems to be a killer of many a budget and many a diet plan!

The people who are from rich and successful families do not have to do any ‘need to show off’ kind of asset buying. They can live a simpler life, have lesser ‘show off’ assets, take vacations that they enjoy – vs. vacations to prove that they can afford, buy things that they need vs things that they deserve…

However there is enough research to prove that the process is reversible….and it can be learnt easily.

Remember: this is as much applicable to your eating habits as to your spending habits – and change comes from the mind – not from the circumstances!

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  1. Dear Sir ,

    Many readers would disagree with the article since it would differ on case to case basis but on a general level I have myself observed this.


  2. I too had such a childhood. But currently I am not spending lavishly. May be this is due to how you understand yours and your parents’ struggle. I used to see how my father used to struggle for money and that made me always spend prudently.

  3. I thought coming from middle class family will automatically put a ceiling on splurging on goods. We may never be comfortable spending 12K for a shoe or 30K for a bag/ dress whereas a person with a wealthy background wouldn’t mind.
    But what Subra said may happen if things are bought for show off.

  4. Wonderful sharing 🙂 This is what I too notice living in the IT hub Bangalore. A lot of these IT guys are from either middle class or upper middle class. Their spending pattern is exactly the same what you said above. They just want to prove themselves and on showing spree 🙂

  5. Okay Sindhu had a deprived childhood but what about her husband. Yes one should be cautious about spending and think of future but agar woh ab nahin karenge to kab?

  6. Dear Subra & my reader friends,
    I love your each & every article religiously and behave also religiously. You can say I am addict to your artciles and very useful lessons.
    Just would like to share something personal. My father-in-law gone through similar situation, but he was and is behaving completely reverse. He live like poor and very stingy as well. I am not talking about with others, but he is behaving with him. He is perfect family man as has been still very useful person in family although he is 74. But we family members trying to enjoy the wealth, but our every effort becomes failure.
    By the way he settled in London, UK since 1956, having his own debt free house, having cash in bank, invested money in bluechips, buffett style, BUT he has not keep in record, everything is here and there, we family members are trying to make up-to-date, but I am just pointing out about reverse behavior of human.
    I know Subraji, you might come accross with this kind of people, please share similar with us for our help to takle father-in-law’s wealth and health.

  7. Any theory that generalizes human behavior is just crazy to begin with. Human behavior is way too complex than that…

  8. I totally disagree with the article. We cannot generalize by observing one’s behavior. I have seen people who had deprived childhood manage money far better than others.

  9. More than agree with Gowri. Both Gowri and Mohit are right, but Gowri is more right. Even if i see 10 people like this, it does not mean that it is true for all….just saying such people do exist…

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