Keeping Up with the Joneses: Why You Shouldn’t Compare Your Financial Position to Others

Humans have a natural impulse to compare themselves to others. When children are young, you’ll often see them comparing their toys to ones that a friend has. Adolescents often want to wear the same brand of clothing or have the same technology that their peers do. It’s not surprising, then, that this type of comparison continues into adulthood. However, comparisons like this can distract you from your goals and make you feel discontent, so there are several reasons why you shouldn’t compare your financial position to others.

1. Comparison Might Lead you Away from Your Calling

There’s no question that teachers have lower salaries than doctors. However, if you want to spend your days with students, becoming a doctor will most likely not improve your quality of life, even if you have a higher salary. Comparing yourself to others may prevent you from staying in touch with your unique gifts, talents, and purpose. Instead of looking to others for guidance about major life choices, look within to determine the choices that are right for you. That goes for your financial life as well. Focus your attention on your own situation rather than imitating the lives of others.

2. You May Not be Seeing the Whole Picture

Generational wealth is real, and it’s not often discussed openly. While you may wonder how your friends afford expensive houses and vehicles, you may not see the trust fund, annuity, or inheritance that allows them to make those purchases. Focus on what’s right for you, and don’t try to imitate the spending of others, even if you think they’re in your income bracket. They may have resources you’re unaware of.

3. Debt is Invisible

Debt often functions invisibly, and its presence can skew our perception of others’ finances. High credit card limits allow users to purchase items without having the necessary money in their accounts. However, items bought with credit aren’t marked with a special red sticker. While you may see expensive vacations, new clothes, and cutting-edge technology, you may not see the pile of credit card statements on the dining room table or the declining credit score.

4. Comparison is the Thief of Joy

This old adage is deeply true. This saying sticks around because keeping your eyes on someone else’s progress keeps you from focusing on your own. If your mind is distracted by thoughts of inadequacy or jealousy, you may not notice the charms of your own life. You never really know someone else’s situation, so don’t compare someone else’s highlight reel to your everyday experience. Cultivate gratitude and focus on your goals to keep envy at bay. 

Let Southwestern Investment Group Help You Determine Your Personal Financial Goals

Fixating on someone’s brand new remodeled kitchen may distract you from your goal of paying off your student loans. While new projects and purchases are exciting, they aren’t as satisfying as identifying, pursuing, and meeting your personalized financial goals, like owning a home or saving for retirement. If you’re not sure what your financial goals are, meet with a Southwestern Investment Group financial advisor. We work with our clients to answer questions, discern financial goals, and plan for the future.

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