I posted a similar question recently, but I guess I didn't explain correctly.

I have a friend that receives $850/month in social security. He doesn't pay rent, electric/gas/water/cable bills, loans, car, etc, but he's always complaining that it's too little. He can use those $850 for whatever he wants.

I know it's not a lot, but it can be worse.

How can I convince my friend that it's not as bad? He likes to whine, so telling him something like "there are people without jobs in this world" will not help at all.

So I'm looking for an example of someone with a decent salary that, after taxes and bills and everything else, will probably have that amount (or less) left.

I hope I explained myself. Thanks.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Grade 'Eh' Bacon, Peter K., TTT, ChrisInEdmonton, Dheer Dec 13 '18 at 15:18

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    That is more a question for Interpersonal stackexchange. – SZCZERZO KŁY Dec 13 '18 at 13:52
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    I agree that you'll be much better served over on the Interpersonal site: interpersonal.stackexchange.com If you decide to post there, it will be helpful if you clarify what you would like to accomplish, such as do you just want them to stop complaining to you, or do you want to help them be happy or cheer them up, or help guide them on how to manage their finances, etc. For future reference, if your question was more like "what can you do to manage a small fixed income", then that would be more in line with what we can help you with here. – BrianH Dec 13 '18 at 15:30
  • I agree it's more of an interpersonal problem. Just FWIW though, leaving out my mortgage and utilities, that's about what I spend per month. – jamesqf Dec 13 '18 at 18:12

I don't think you're ever going to convince them that it's "enough". If, as you describe, they are the type of person that just likes to complain about things, just let them complain. It's not your problem. This part of the problem/question is really better suited for the Interpersonal Skills stack exchange network.

With regards to looking at numbers, you're only going to make it worse if you try to give him a scenario that compares his income to someone else's. A more effective approach would be to offer to help review his monthly budget and see where the shortcomings are. If he doesn't have any of the bills you describe, where is that $850 going? Maybe there are regular medical bills your not aware of, which he may not want to share with you.

There are plenty of news articles in recent history that lament the fact that the majority of Americans have little to no savings ($1,000 or less). Maybe painting the picture that he is theoretically in a better position to save money over such a large percentage of other Americans will be a good "stop complaining" moment. I assume he's American based on the $ symbol and Social Security reference, but if that's incorrect then this might not be a valid starting place.


I think this should be migrated to interpersonal relationships, but I think your tact is wrong. That amount is pretty darn low, and if you agree with him that might get you somewhere.

I would do something like: "Wow, you are right that is a low amount. What are you going to do about it? What kind of money would you like to make? Do you have a plan to get there?"

This could be an attempt to solicit donations or there might be actual concern for earning more and having a better life. The situations that might cause an adult, to be on social security, are not necessarily permanent. One could rise out of that situation, and if possible, one should try to do so.

The best possible friend you can be is to encourage them to try. If given a choice would this person prefer to live off of 850/month and the charity of others (free housing) or go to work and earn 80K/year? If the later, then there is something to work with.

If it is just toxic behavior you may have to unfriend this person.

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