It is a natural human instinct to compare ourselves to others, especially when they appear to be better off than we are.
Perhaps your neighbors added a new pool to their backyard or an extra car to their driveway. Maybe your friends post on social media from glamorous vacations.
It’s important to remember, however, that not everything is as it seems. Instead of keeping up with the Joneses, here are some reasons to slow down so you avoid wasting money and creating financial trouble down the road.
Spending more lowers your net worth
Buying a fancy car or a big house might seem like fun, but it’s often not the best use of your cash. Spending money on such things can actually lower your net worth.
Cars depreciate, for example. And buying a big house creates a large number of ongoing expenses — from mortgage interest to repairs and maintenance, utility bills, tax obligations, and insurance costs.
The Joneses don't really care about you
You might think keeping up with the Joneses will keep them interested in you. But the truth is that they likely don’t really care.
The Joneses in your neighborhood or out in the world are probably too fixated on themselves and their problems to really get worked up over your trendy car or designer clothes.
The Joneses might be in debt
Remember, the Joneses are keeping up with their own “Joneses.” That is why they often fall into debt to maintain their own lifestyle.
It costs money to keep up with all the Joneses in the world. Doing so can quickly put you in the red. So, try to ditch the debt you’re already carrying and move forward with your own financial goals.
Someone is always better off than you
Someone will always have more money, toys, or homes — yes, multiple homes — than you do.
If you constantly compare yourself to others, you will always come up short. So ignore everyone else and stick with what’s best for you.
It won't actually make you happier
Money can buy a lot of things, but many rich people have found that happiness isn’t one of them. There are better ways to increase your joy than piling up cash.
To start, figure out what makes you happy. Maybe you secretly want to try an inexpensive hobby that isn’t considered “cool.” Or perhaps you would love to spend more time relaxing at home rather than rushing to keep up with the rat race.
Blaze your own pathway and pursue the things near and dear to your heart.
It’s harder to stay true to your values
Many of us push ourselves to earn money simply so we can fund purchases of material things and expensive vacations.
But is that who you really are? And what do you compromise on to stay on that treadmill?
It can be tough to balance keeping up with others and remaining true to yourself. If you swing too far and compare your worth to others, you might move away from your true self.
It might be better to always keep your values foremost in your heart and head when making financial and life decisions.
It keeps you from pursuing your own goals
We all have money goals. You might want to see if you can retire early or travel more. Or maybe your goal is simply to build up an emergency fund.
Don’t lose sight of these goals and compromise what you want to achieve so you can keep up with the Joneses.
Sure, it can be difficult to remain focused when others parade around you with plenty of flash. But focusing on your goals will help you achieve them, perhaps sooner than you think.
The competition never ends
No matter how much you accumulate, there is always going to be the next shiny object or the next big thing. Someone else’s car will top yours, and your vacation is going to be less glamorous than that of the Joneses.
When you compete with no end in sight, you are destined to constantly fail. Instead, set modest goals and don’t change them in an attempt to top others.
True friends won’t care
Are you friendly with the Joneses? Great. But remember that if they are truly friends, they won’t care about your net worth or big house.
True friends stick with you through thick and thin, regardless of where you buy your shoes or what kind of car you drive. Such friendships are based on who you are, not what you own.
You’re worth more than your things
Perhaps instead of obsessing over your bank account, it’s time to remind yourself that you’re more than just a pile of money with a person attached to it.
How you interact with family, friends, and others is far more important than the numbers on an investment statement. Remember that you contribute something to this world that is unique to you, and that has nothing to do with money.
Before you run off to join the Joneses, sit down and figure out how much money you waste on expensive things and fancy stuff just to keep up with others.
How much could you save if you took your own path instead?
If you dream of moving beyond living paycheck to paycheck, focus on yourself before worrying about the people around you. Pursuing your own interests and goals might be a better path to success.
Rocket Money Benefits
- Automatically find and cancel subscriptions
- Slash your monthly phone, cable, and internet bills
- Save an average of up to $720 a year