Paisa bolta hai, but what exactly?

Money matters. A lot. But how much exactly? Would you be curious about someone’s financial worth just because… you are? Of late, I’ve noticed a tendency in people to assess what a person’s worth, in exact rupees. Like how much they’d be earning, and how much financial backing they have from other sources, and where and how much they’ve invested, and how many alliances they have for the sake of money-making. Which I find completely bizarre.

For one, I don’t know what purpose it serves. I mean, WHY would you want to know all that about someone. Okay, so I’d like to know how much Mr Ambani senior makes, and how much Shah Rukh got paid for dancing at someone’s wedding, or guess how much my boss’ salary would be. But why should I care how much my friend makes by way of his business, what his turnover is and why his dad does not invest more in their business? Unless of course, my friend wants to discuss it with me for a specific reason. (Nobody, by the way, should discuss finance with me. I suck at it!) Or if I was competing with someone professionally. Like if I was Anil Ambani, I’d like to know what Mukesh was all about in every currency. I cannot cultivate an objective curiosity about such things, however. 

Perhaps it’s about where these people, who take the time to calculate their friends’ and acquaintances and random strangers’ return on investments, come from. Perhaps in business families, you do talk in terms of what others are worth. And perhaps, because I’m not from one of those families – neither new money nor landed aristocracy – I don’t relate to such assessments. And fail to see where they lead to.

To tell you the truth, in our family, there was also talk of money sometimes, but the talk was about who was earning honestly and who wasn’t, and how pathetic it was that people did anything to make a quick buck. We were very middle class like that. Still our. I still think I can respect someone with character more than I can someone with Swiss accounts of money (which is not to say that everyone who’s rich is unscrupulous). I still don’t get awed by greenbacks, and how much someone spent on a diamond or a wedding party or anything else, if I don’t like what I see. And when I see what I like, I think of what great taste that person has, what creativity, what resourcefulness; not how much money.

The Guy and I find that either we’re blissful in our ignorance, or that we’re just not that kind of people. We also think that if someone were to sit down and work out our financial standing, how unimpressive we’d seem compared to so many other people we know.

But tell me, is it normal to think of how much who is spending on what and where they’re getting their money from? Normal, not in a judgmental sort of way, but normal as in common.

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15 responses »

  1. Like you said, I might be curious about how much SRK gets paid out of curiosity but I will never ever go out of my way to find out how much someone gets paid. As long as I can sort my own money I am more than content.
    But I have been at receiving end all the time. Somewhere the misconception that IT people are hugely paid makes people curious to ask me about my financials I have observed. More often than not I escape saying it is bad etiquette to ask someone about their salary whereabouts. 😀

  2. My recent post was all about that!

    After we started down that path of having car loans, home loans, marriage loans etc (which we wanted because these are things are parents brought in the late 40’s) we went from who-cares-about-money to “we’re gonna save every penny”

    I love the fact that we have planned a secure future in our 20’s itself, but I feel like we forgot to enjoy the last 4 years!! We forgot what its like to buy something on the spur and not to look at the price tag of E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.\I.NG. Its a work in progress for us.. to not give the money & salary more attention that it deserves 😛

    As for other ppl’s financial worth, we have never bothered and I don think we care much also! I have learnt personally, everyone has an issue in the life, be it financial or personal. We just have to see the positives and work on the negative’s in our life..

    • About your own finances, if you won’t be concerned about them, who will? But about others, well, I think there’s really no need to worry about that.

  3. Ah!..this was exactly what I discussed with dear hubby this weekend.What made me?…well I saw 5 Benz,2 Jaguar and 3 Hummers passing within 30 min of our drive somewhere on a normal road…what I noticed was the people driving were not too old and also it has become such a common sight…so where is the money coming from to such people and so early in life?…It certainly excites me to know but not every detail…I hate people who poke their nose in fianancial matters just to make judgements and can’t understand what do they do with that info futher;(……I am not that types and I give damn to whoever.But yes its always nice to know what money can buy if you are materialistic enough….. and yes for sure I wuld respect someone with character coz if money is lost nothing is lost,health is lost something is lost but if character is lost….everything is lost….. kyonki tab paisa nahi bolta!!. aur paise ki jubaan har jagah nahi chal sakti..:)

    • I did a post about how we’re getting rich so young, it’s a bit scary.

      But success isn’t a bad thing. Or being awed by someone’s success. Like if I saw a young guy I knew suddenly driving around town in a BMW, I’d be curious how he got one. But that would be about the nature of his work, and not his finances.

  4. Right now, all that I can think of is, how to win a few lakhs on a KBC show and pay off my loan, if I ever think about money.. :-)) Other than that, nothing else matters to me, nor am I interested.. I am least bothered about the rest of the world….

    • And that’s how it should be. It’s healthier than thinking about how much others are making, and feel good/bad about it.

  5. This is what bothers me most of the time..the attitude in people to know how much excatly their peers/relatives are earning. I dont think it is because they are born in business families, I have seen it people coming from completely different backgrounds as well.

    I can understand people having plans for a secure future(money wise), but I find this behaviour completely disgusting. My hubby and I also keep wondering if this is a good trait that we need to be happy about ourselves or does it reflect lack of competency and ambition.

    • Exactly my emotions! I wonder too whether our lack of interest in others’ finances is because we’re unambitious or because we’re focussed on ourselves.

  6. Exactly. I don’t understand how easily people ask such personal questions like ‘What is your salary?’ or ‘What do you earn?’ when it is none of their business. It’s a different matter with very, very close friends – we do share our financial woes and joys with them.

    Both of us are way too busy trying to balance our boat, and trying to secure a healthy and comfortable financial future for ourselves to be bothered with other people’s finances. 🙂

    • I somehow prefer a straightforward ‘how much is your salary?’ than someone hazarding guesses about it behind my back.

  7. I think its peer pressure. people want to compare and feel happy. i have some such samples at work place who are forever trying to gauge how much money me and pati make between ourselves!!

  8. Oh God, it is so annoying when people do that. I have had uncles ask me this question. And they are relatives – so you don’t want to annoy them. So I just smile and say I don’t discuss my salary with anyone. So then they went one step further this one time and asked my sister how much she pays as income tax! Can you believe that?! To which she said – I’m sorry, Uncle. Next time I will bring my income tax files along for your perusal. Haha – I think he got the message then!

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