Stumbled across an old comment on the blog I tagged to share some day, and decided today’s that day before I forget again! :) It was dropped in 2018 so it’s a tiny bit dated, but a majority of this still holds true and thought you might find it as fascinating as I did when I first read it…
Amazing that no matter where you live, or who you are, you still always have to deal with this money stuff!! And some places – most places – have it much worse than we do, yet people still find a way to power through!
Here’s the note from “silent reader” in response to our post on 7 money goals to hit by 35:
Hello, J. Money and everyone.
Long-time silent reader here…
I always read your blog with a great interest, because, yeah, the budget is sexy and it is pretty interesting to see how your (USA) financial system works.
I find your financial system more logical, stable and predictable, than ours. I was born in USSR, now live in Ukraine and our financial system, let’s face a truth, is $hit.
When USSR broke down, our people lost ALL their savings and stability. When the initial shock subsided, people started to save money from zero point again.
No one trusted banks, because they existed for a couple of years only, and then they suddenly disappeared in the night taking peoples’ savings with them.
So, people saved their money in cash at their homes and protected them (big and angry dogs, thick metal doors, high security locks, etc.).
Most savings were in a national money, because it was pretty hard to buy American $.
- At those halcyon times (1996) $1 costed around 2 grivnas (Ukranian money)
- In 2008, $1 costed 8 grivnas (financial crisis).
- In 2014, $1 costed 33 grivnas (financial crisis and war with Russia).
- Today, $1 costs 27 grivnas.
Loss after loss…
By the time we were 40, my husband and I both had an Uni degree and PhD, good jobs (I’m a medical doctor and he is a history scientist) and NO debts. We live in a big city and have a son.
We bought our own apartment when we were 35 (paid off in cash). This year we bought an apartment (paid off in cash) for our son (he is 13 now).
Also, we save money (10% of general income) for our son’s future Uni education. We want him to start his adult life having his own home, proper education and no debts. It is up to him how to live his own life further, but we did everything we could to help him to stay on his own two feet.
Although we’ll get a guaranteed pension in the future, we save money for our retirement also (20% of our general income). Who knows how our country is going to surprise us.
We live 20 mins ride from our work, so we never had a car. We use the public transport and, sometimes, taxi (emergency cases).
Our lifestyle is pretty minimalistic, but we have everything we need.
We always contemplate and discuss every purchase, and we have a principle – “we are not so wealthy to buy cheap things”. We buy 1 thing that has a high quality and a long lifespan, instead of 2-3 cheap things of the same kind. At the end of the day, 2-3 cheap things cost more in general, than 1 high quality thing.
If we both lose our jobs, we have a safety pad for 1 year of normal life or 2 years of “cheap” life. Plus, we always can sell my jewelry to have an additional 1-2 years of relatively good life.
We don’t have such an estate plan as you guys have, but if we die suddenly, our son would inherit everything (according to our laws).
That’s how life goes on the other side of the globe. Thank you for the attention :)
So interesting/scary/inspirational, right?! Did you catch all those $$$ wins in there??
- Paid off house IN CASH!
- Paid off house #2 (apartment for son) IN CASH!
- 10% towards college savings
- 20% towards retirement savings
- LIVING MINIMALLY
- No cars
- Guaranteed pension!
- Ton of jewelry stacked up! Haha…
Definitely thriving in a world most of us wouldn’t even know how to handle :) And looking back at my response to her, couldn’t help but get jolted by the last line I wrote there too!
We have it SO EASY here in the States, and yet so many people still complain and feel they are owed more/etc/etc.. We’d have the biggest shock of our lives going through what hundreds of other countries have gone through over the centuries… And who knows what’s lurking for us too in the future with how politics and such are shaping up!
Eek! The politics are still going downhill, but little did we know a PANDEMIC was lurking around the corner! And just how are we responding to it as a nation??? Ugh… Still better off than most of the world, but boy do we have a lot more learning to do :(
At any rate – thought you might enjoy this perspective from halfway around the world, and maybe pick up some motivation along the way too :)
Not all of us will be able to pay off our houses anytime soon, but we can still keep striving to make a better life for ourselves!! Both now and into the future!
And lots of stuff to still be GRATEFUL for along the way too…
Thanks for not being so silent anymore, silent reader :)
UPDATE: Got this email from another reader of the site who shares more insight on Ukrainian life :)
“I’m married to a Ukrainian, and his cultural background of paying for everything in cash took a little while for me to get used to, but it’s such a great way to ramp up net worth. I’ll note that flats in Ukraine are a lot cheaper than property in the US, and no one pays for upkeep of common areas so there’s no association dues (so they’re affordable, but dingy on the outside). You can get a decent apartment for $50-90k, depending on the city and area. As your commenter said, Ukrainians are wary of banks, and there’s very little credit available for mortgages. My in-laws think we’re crazy for having a mortgage and stand-alone single family home in the US.
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We are very lucky to live in a country like ours. We will get thru this pandemic but our life will change from the old normal. It may be a good thing in some ways :)
It scares me for the political fight that we are experiencing in this country. It scares me to see what the media/tech companies can put in front of our eyes or remove from our eyes if they don’t like it!
Be Well ~ Be Safe
Yeah, it def. seems like it’s getting worse than it is better :( I still have hope though!! Lots of smart and GOOD people in the world to help counteract the political nonsense!
Agree! There is more GOOD in the world than bad!
Thanks for this post – I think it is good for people to keep perspective (and see that typically we are better off in the US than some other places/countries). This is one of the reasons I love this blog – so many great experiences, knowledge and situations are shared from folks all over and helps me to improve myself/my situation. Stay safe and healthy everyone!
Thank you LeeAnne!
Means a lot you’re enjoying the blog so much! :)
That was very inspirational! Thanks for the well timed share of that story.
Glad you liked it!
Very interesting! I also like the vintage map!
We’re a huge fan of maps over here :) Have about 6 or 7 of them up for the kids, and my guilty obsession is trying to find a rare one of my hometown to have on my walls… Only know of one so far and it’s hanging in a museum! Lol..
I just posted about why I want to pay off our mortgage yesterday and this is now the 2nd blog post I have read today that mentions paying off your residence. Pretty sure this is a sign that I need to get my butt moving! Inspirational for sure :)
Wow! I stopped at the sentence: “This year we bought an apartment (paid off in cash) for our son (he is 13 now).” That was an amazing idea. Congrats.
You going to copy it? :)
Words to live by! Save up and buy quality instead of multiple cheesy alternatives.
Dad’ism #452 – “Buy the best and cry only once.” Courtesy of my dad. As a teen we would have referred to him as a total cheap-a$$, but fast forward to my adult-self today and somehow he got smarter! Ha!
Haha amazing how that happens!
I have relatives who live in eastern Europe. To say they had a hard time financially after the Berlin wall came down is putting it mildly. It wasn’t until their country joined the EU that my relatives really began to prosper. They got great paying jobs in the west and brought that money home to buy property and build homes. Those who are now retired and remember what it was like under communism relieved to be financially stable and safe. I’m very proud of them.
I can’t even imagine!! You need loads of strength to get through that!
Hey J$, I don’t live in the US and I’m curious about this phrase:
“Still better off than most of the world, but boy do we have a lot more learning to do :(”
Do you mean that you think the US is still handling the pandemic better than most of the world, or that, despite the pandemic, things are still overall better than most of the world?
Definitely the last one :)
Most have us have lost all hope with our leadership here, but the fact we have so much freedom and life’s necessities around every corner still make it a great place to live, at least in my opinion… We have our (serious) issues, but how fortunate to have been born into such luxuries off the bat??!
Where do you live, Ayumi?