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17 Formerly Poor People Who Suddenly Became Rich Are Sharing What Shocked Them Most About The Transition

"In the past, if it was a choice of paying the electric or getting my cavities filled, I always chose to pay bills."

Coming into large sums of money all of a sudden can be a jarring experience for anyone, especially when struggling financially is all you've ever known. So we asked the BuzzFeed Community to share what surprised them most about the sudden shift from being poor to rich and how their lifestyles changed because of it.

Here's what they shared:

1. "The biggest 'luxury' I've found myself indulging in after finding financial stability is medical care. I used to hesitate to go to the doctor for anything, but now I make appointments without hesitation. It sounds so silly, but I love being able to afford to get my foot pain taken care of, along with my acne and emotional trauma."

A Black doctor talking to her patient

2. "Suddenly coming into money changed everything. The first thing I did was FINALLY go to the dentist and get my teeth taken care of. I had tried to ignore them for a long time because we never had enough money. In the past, if it was a choice of paying the electric or getting my cavities filled, I always chose to pay bills."

—Anonymous

3. "When I was poor, doctors looked down on me and treated me like I was drug-seeking. Since I've become successful, I've been properly diagnosed with several conditions that had lingered for years. It's also wonderful being able to not worry about the cost of glasses or if the dentist recommends work."

"I still remember how one woman at the optometrist sneered at me when I asked if there were any other glasses options besides the huge Coke bottle glasses offered to kids on welfare. Now I can get whatever glasses I want, and everyone is always quick to help me."

—Anonymous

4. "Most recently, I got a new job that pays almost double what I was making. When I told a friend how much they offered, I broke down crying. She asked me why, and I told her, 'I can finally afford food!' To me, I feel rich because even though I have health insurance, I can pay my rent, car payment, car insurance, and phone; the one thing that always took a hit was food."

A person holding a basket in the grocery store

5. "Middle-class background but my parents fell into debt in my early teenage years, and we struggled to meet ends meet ever since. I left Central/Eastern Europe for the UK to study at 18, became financially independent, and entered a highish-paying tech job at 21. It surprised me how much earning more than my parents at a young age caused me to have issues with our parent-child relationship."

"I couldn't stomach them paying for me at all, not even hosting dinner. I felt guilty and responsible. And they are the best parents ever, only proud of me and never expecting anything! I had to seek therapy, and it took me over a year to come to terms [with the fact that] I am not responsible for their choices and can live life at a different level than them. Never expected this psychological burden."

—Anonymous

6. "Lots of envy and hate from family. So much so, they have tried to cut me off from my inheritance just to be spiteful. Some even expected financial support from me because they believe it was owed to them for being wealthy. Their behavior spoke more about them than about me wanting more for myself. I have stopped feeling guilty for my lifestyle and wealth and have accepted that sometimes, [whatever is] toxic needs to go even if it’s family."

7. "Family began to call and reach out after decades of no communication and felt I should buy them big-ticket items because we share some DNA. One came out and asked that I buy him a van and financially back his construction business. Another asked for a $40,000 sports car, and they were only 17! Now, I’m labeled as cruel and wrong because I won’t give away what I worked so hard for."

—Anonymous

8. "My parents passed within a year of each other. They were very smart with money, so my brother and I are well taken care of. I also inherited their home, which is fully paid off, so I only have property taxes to worry about. The negative thing I have seen is now people want to take advantage of my windfall. I have a roommate who lives with me who feels they should not have to pay any of the bills due to my financial situation."

"People who I haven't spoken to have asked me to borrow large amounts of money or help them co-sign for their loans. These are people who used me in the past and sometimes left me in a worse position than before I helped them.

I have learned quite quickly who to trust and who not to trust. My circle of friends has shrunk a lot since all of this, and I have been keeping to myself. Money does crazy things to people, even the people I thought I knew and trusted."

—Anonymous

9. "Since I've been placed in a better position financially, I have seen a shift in friendships. What was once an equally split night out turned into me paying almost every time we go out. I stopped going out and answering calls and texts because my friends wanted to live a 'rich' lifestyle through me."

A person putting down a bowl of food onto a table full of more food

10. "In 1996, I sold a company I owned to a public firm. Because the buyer was public, the sale price was published in local business news. Lost every friend I had over the next six months or so. Got sick of hearing, 'But it's only $XX,XXX. You'll never miss it.' I nearly went into hiding. WTF."

"Why would people think I'd lend/give them money when a bank wouldn't? Best thing I did was move my fund's management out of state and move away. What I learned is that you can't hide that you're well off, but you can conceal just how well off you are."

—Anonymous

11. "I was in grad school in an expensive city and living on a bare-bones budget. After graduation, I landed an amazing job with great pay. I remember going to get my nails done after work and crying, thinking, 'What have I done? I can't do this; it’s too wasteful. I should be saving,' even though I had a good job and I could afford it. It took so long to switch mindsets and to feel comfortable treating myself."

—Anonymous

12. "It feels good to not have to hunt for change to put gas in my car. Going out with friends worried if I would have enough to contribute to our outing. But now that I have a positive bank account, I have no clue how to invest, budget, or save properly so that I don't fall into bad habits again."

A man sitting at this laptop and looking at pieces of paper

13. "I thought I would feel carefree and life would seem easier. And that was true at first. But then I started to wonder if something could happen where I would end up paycheck to paycheck again and back in debt. I could not shake those thoughts."

"I actually became more restrictive about my spending and now, 10 years later, although I have no debt, $1.1 million in savings/retirement/assets, and a well-paying job at 52, I still find myself saving excessively and anxious over every dollar spent."

—Anonymous

14. "I made a profit after selling the house I invested in during the Great Recession after struggling for years to pay my bills. The poor mentality is still hanging on longer than I expected it to. I have panic attacks when I get calls from unknown numbers because I think it's a debt collector."

"Even though I have six figures in savings and a new house that I paid cash for, I can't help getting anxious just thinking about taking any money out of savings because I keep expecting the other shoe to drop. It still doesn't seem real that I don't have to struggle."

—Anonymous

15. "I grew up poverty-stricken and was a single mother on welfare. Through a series of lucky events and hard work, I became an executive at a tech company. What surprised me the most was that I still [worry about] food insecurity. I am a multimillionaire, but my cupboards are full of macaroni and chili cans 'just in case.' There will never be enough food to make me feel safe."

A person organizing dry and canned goods

16. And finally, "I lost my sense of purpose in life. Financially, I no longer needed to work, and it took several years for me to find the right balance between work and life. This was also the result of a traumatic death, so it was really difficult to experience so much loss at once."

—Anonymous

Note: Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.