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为什么周围的人看起来都比你有钱?

  I've done this, and you've probably done it too: look at a neighbor or friend who's in roughly the same financial position as you and think, "how did they do it?"

  我干过这种事,你可能也做过:看着与自己的财务状况大致相当的邻居或朋友,心里想,“他们是怎么做到的?”

  How can they afford such a beautifully decorated house and the lavish vacations they brag about on Instagram? How can they afford private school tuition?

  他们怎么负担得起如此精致装修的房子和他们在Instagram上炫耀的奢华假期?他们怎么付得起私立学校的学费?

  The feeling is tinged with jealousy, but also with curiosity. And often with a lot of self-blame. They must be better at managing money than me and my husband. What are we doing wrong?

  这种感觉中有嫉妒的成分,但也夹杂着好奇。而且常常伴随着大量的自责。他们一定比我和我丈夫更善于理财。我们什么地方做得不对呢?

  Just look at a BBS on the popular Mr Money Mustache blog. A question on the BBS -- whether "everyone looks rich" is "really an illusion created by a pile of debt" -- has attracted all sorts of opinions, but quite a few have echoed commenter GeorgeC's.

  只要看看深受欢迎的“钱胡子先生”(Mr Money Mustache)博客上的一个论坛就知道了。论坛上的一个问题——“每个人看起来都很富有”是否“真的是债务堆出来的错觉”——吸引了各种各样的意见,但也有不少人表达了与评论者GeorgeC一样的看法。

  I often have this melancholy, as if everyone around me is rich, he wrote, adding that he often wonders how people he knows who earn as much as he does can afford what he cannot.

  “我经常有这种郁闷,似乎我周围的每个人都很有钱,”他写道,并补充说,他常常感到不解,自己认识的那些收入与他不相上下的人,怎样买得起他买不起的东西。

  To be honest, sometimes it makes me feel a little stupid and sometimes I even feel like I'm failing at what I'm doing, he added.

  “说实话,有时候,这让我觉得自己有点儿笨,有时甚至觉得自己做的事情很失败,”他补充道。

  There is no doubt that most people can improve the way they handle their finances. But better financial management is usually not the culprit: when some people seem to be able to afford much more than their income suggests, it is often because they have invisible wealth or debt.

  毫无疑问,大多数人都可以改进他们的财务处理方式。但更好的财务管理通常并非罪魁祸首:当一些人似乎能够负担得起比他们的收入所表明的多得多的东西时,这往往是因为他们有外人看不见的财富或债务。

  Wealth is even more hidden than income because there are no jobs to associate with, said Dalton Conley, a sociology professor at Princeton university. We have a rough idea of what professors or corporate lawyers earn, but "when it comes to household wealth, we have no clue".

  “财富甚至比收入更隐蔽,因为没有工作可以关联,”普林斯顿大学社会学教授道尔顿·康利(Dalton Conley)说。我们对教授或企业律师的收入有大致的概念,但“在家庭财富方面,我们毫无线索”。

  Allen, who lives in the Washington area, knows the feeling of jealousy and curiosity. Like others who discussed personal experiences in this article, Ms. Allen asked not to be identified, using only her middle name, in order to publicly share private thoughts about her friends' spending habits.

  住在华盛顿地区的艾伦知道那种嫉妒和好奇的感觉。与其他在本文中谈论个人经历的人一样,艾伦要求不具名,只让记者用她的中间名,以便公开分享她对朋友消费习惯的私人想法。

  Over the years, Ms. Allen has watched friends who work like her and have the same number of children spend more generously in almost every way than her family. They spent a lot of money on expanding the house. They went on vacation twice as often as her family, and farther away. They drive better cars.

  多年来,艾伦看着工作与自己类似、有同样数量孩子的朋友们,在几乎所有方面都比她家花钱更慷慨大方。他们花大钱扩建房子。他们外出度假的次数是她家的两倍,而且是去更远的地方。他们开更好的车。

  She had a hard time feeling that she and her husband were just not as good at managing their finances.

  她曾对此有很不好的感受,认为自己和丈夫在财务管理上就是不如人家。

  When we don't know the whole story, we condemn ourselves, she said.

  “当我们不知道事情的全部时,我们陷入自责,”她说。

  Then everything fell apart. It turned out that the family lived mainly on debt. They owe more on their house than it is worth and have to sell it. They are now living in a rented apartment.

  后来,一切都崩溃了。原来这家人主要靠借债过日子。他们的房贷高于房子的价值,不得不把房子卖掉。他们现在住在租来的公寓里。

  I do feel relieved, Mr. Allen said. "I guess we didn't do anything wrong."

  “我确实觉得自己出了口气,”艾伦说。“我猜我们没做错什么。”

  Of course, not everyone who seems to be spending beyond their means is running out of credit CARDS.

  当然,并不是所有看似在超前消费的人都在透支信用卡。

  Sharon (not her real name) lives in westchester county, New York, where relatives paid for her child's college tuition and other help for the family.

  莎伦(化名)住在纽约州的韦斯特切斯特县,亲戚为她的孩子支付了全部大学学费,还给这家人提供了其他的帮助。

  She doesn't like to share it. "some of it is because I want to protect my husband's image and not let people know that he is relying on your help," she said. "I feel lucky, too. It doesn't feel fair. I don't feel well, but I'm glad to have that help."

  她不喜欢与人分享这一点,“有一些是因为我想保护丈夫的形象,不想让人知道他在靠贵人相助,”她说。“我也觉得很幸运,感觉不太公平。我觉得不舒服,但我很高兴能有这样的帮助。”

  Frederick Wherry, a sociology professor at Princeton university, agrees. "One of the things that helps us protect ourselves as we navigate our way through life is that we rely so heavily on secrecy," he said. "We do try to protect what we know about ourselves and what other people know about us."

  普林斯顿大学社会学教授弗雷德里克·惠里(Frederick Wherry)认同这种观点。“当我们在生活中摸索前进的时候,有一件事有助于我们保护自己,那就是我们非常依赖保密,”他说。“我们确实在努力保护我们对自己的认识,以及别人对我们的认识。”

  I agree with that feeling. My parents helped pay for my sons' college tuition, and while I may mention it when discussing college costs, I certainly won't emphasize it. I would rather be seen as a disciplined, savvy person who could save hundreds of thousands of dollars for my sons' eight years of college than someone who relied on their parents for help. So I'm part of the problem.

  我认同这种感觉。父母为我几个儿子的大学学费出了一份力,虽然在讨论大学费用时我可能会提到这件事,但我肯定不会强调它。我宁愿被视为一个自律、精明的人,能为儿子们八年的大学生活攒下几十万美元,也不愿被视为一个依赖父母帮助的人。所以我也是问题的一部分。

  Not only do people want to downplay their inherited wealth or money, "but they actively try to hide it," Mr. Conley said. "We have an individualistic ideology that worships self-made men and women."

  人们不仅想淡化自己从家族继承的财富或金钱,“而且还积极地试图隐藏它,”康利说。“我们有种个人主义的意识形态,崇尚白手起家的男女。”

  In theory, there is a correlation between working harder and earning more, said Evan Polman, a marketing professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison School of Business. "Inheritance violates this correlation."

  从理论上讲,工作更努力和收入更高之间是有关联性的,威斯康星大学麦迪逊商学院(University of Wisconsin at Madison School of Business)市场营销学教授埃文·波尔曼(Evan Polman)说。“继承违反了这种相关性。”

  So, what's the big deal? What if we don't know where our neighbors got the money for their new renovation? Few want everyone's finances to be transparent.

  那么,有什么大不了呢?如果我们不知道邻居们新装修的钱是从哪儿来的呢?几乎没有人希望所有人的财务状况都是透明的。

  But this secrecy reinforces the idea that wealth can only be accumulated through individual choices, not through laws and policies or through our national history.

  但这种保密会强化这样一种观念:只有个人的选择才能积累财富,而不是法律和政策,以及我们的国家历史。

  It seems to be a straightforward cultural issue, but public policy also plays a role in how we think about money secrecy and its consequences, said Ms. Whery, the director of the Dignity and Debt Network. People need to understand that others are in similar situations -- struggling to get into college, retirement or health insurance -- to realize that this is not a personal failure and to push for reform.

纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com/

  “这似乎是一个直截了当的文化问题,但在我们如何看待金钱保密及其后果方面,公共政策也在发挥作用,”身为尊严与债务网络(Dignity and Debt Network)主任的惠里说。人们需要理解其他人也处于类似的情况——为上大学、退休或医疗保险而苦苦挣扎——才能意识到这不是个人的失败,并且推动改革。

  That's what we need to solve, he said. "If it's just you, nothing will change."

  “这就是我们需要解决的问题,”他说。“如果只是你自己的问题,那就什么都不会改变。”

  These problems are likely to be addressed differently in affluent areas than in low - and middle-income communities. In low - and middle-income neighborhoods, "you may be more aware of your neighbors' plight," whalley said. "Yes, we need to take responsibility for ourselves, but it's more of a feeling that something is affecting our lives that is far beyond my personal reach."

  与低收入和中等收入社区相比,这些问题在富裕地区很可能会以不同的方式得到解决。在中低收入社区,“你可能更清楚邻居们的困境,”惠里说。“是的,我们需要自己负责任,但更多的是一种感觉,有些远远超出我个人能力范围的东西,正在影响着我们的生活。”

  In countries that are more unionized, the confidentiality of money may be somewhat different, Mr. Conley said. "wages are more transparent."

  “在工会化程度较高的国家,金钱方面的保密性可能在某种程度上有所不同,”康利说,“那里的工资更透明。”

  It is said that if we only look at the appearance of wealth, we will focus on the wrong things. The reality today is that if we're going to envy our neighbors, it shouldn't be for their BMW or their new pool. They should envy their generous retirement accounts or generous health insurance, because the ability to save large amounts of money to secure the future of us and our children is today's true sign of wealth.

  有人说,如果我们只看财富的表象,就会把注意力放在错误的事情上。如今的现实是,如果我们要羡慕邻居,不应该是为了他们的宝马车或新泳池。应该羡慕他们充足的退休金账户或优厚的医疗保险,因为有能力存下大量金钱,保障我们和孩子的将来,这才是如今真正的财富标志。

  The top 1 percent of households also make ostentatious spending, but "what really sets them apart is their inconspicuous consumer spending," said Elizabeth currid-halkett, a professor of public policy at the university of southern California and author of the book "little by little: The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of The Aspirational Class is A book that analyzes American spending habits.

  最富有的1%的家庭也会有用于炫耀的支出,但是“真正让他们与众不同的,是他们的不显眼的消费支出,”南加州大学公共政策教授伊丽莎白·卡里德-霍尔基特(Elizabeth Currid-Halkett)说,她的书《积少成多:一个关于渴望出人头地的阶层的推论》(The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class)是一本分析美国人消费习惯的著作。

  Over the past few decades, the rich have increased their spending on education and retirement, while the middle class has largely stayed the same.

  在过去的几十年里,富人在教育和退休方面的支出增加了,而中产阶级在这些方面的支出基本保持不变。

  For example, in 2014, the last year of the khald-holkett analysis, the top 1 percent of American earners -- making at least $340,000 a year -- spent an average of 6 percent of their total spending on education. According to her research, the percentage has risen significantly since 1996.

  例如,在2014年,也就是卡里德-霍尔基特进行分析研究的最后一年,美国收入最高的1%的人——年收入至少34万美元——平均把总支出的6%用于教育。根据她的研究,这一比例自1996年以来显著上升。

  The middle class -- those earning between $40,000 and $60,000 a year in 2014 -- spends only about 1 percent of their income on education, a figure that has remained unchanged for nearly two decades, Mr. Khald-holkitt said.

  卡里德-霍尔基特说,中产阶级——2014年年收入在4万到6万美元之间的人群——只有大约1%的支出用于教育,这个数字在近20年里一直保持不变。

  About 20 percent of high earners spend on personal insurance and pensions -- an average of $32,500 a year in 2014 -- compared with less than $4,000, or about 8 percent, for the middle class.

  高收入者大约20%的支出用于个人保险和养老金——2014年的年平均支出为3.25万美元——相比之下,中产阶级这方面支出不到4000美元,占8%左右。

  The changing consumption patterns of the rich are probably the biggest sign of class division in America today, she said.

  “富人消费模式的变化可能是当今美国阶级分化的最大标志,”她说。

  No doubt some people will laugh at those who compare themselves to their neighbors and suggest that such people focus on their own lives. This makes sense. But competitiveness and curiosity are part of human nature.

  毫无疑问,有些人会嘲笑那些把自己和邻居比较的人,并且建议这样的人关注自己的生活就好。这是有道理的。但是好胜心和好奇心是人性的一部分。

  Charles (that's his middle name), who lives in the greater phoenix area, says he has assumptions about friends who seem to be spending money all the time but have no visible income.

  查尔斯(这是他的中名)住在大菲尼克斯地区,他说他对那些似乎一直在花钱却没有可见收入的朋友有着种种猜想。

  What they do is absolutely mind-blowing to my wife and me, he said. "I think our lives are totally fine. But I do think there are people all over the country who look at it and think, 'how did they do it? How can they afford it? '"

  “他们做的事绝对能让我和妻子摸不着头脑,”他说。“我觉得我们的生活完全没问题。但我确实觉得,全国到处都是这种人,大家看了都会想:‘他们是怎么做到的?他们怎么能买得起呢?’”

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