How often do you hear about “keeping up with the Joneses”? Are you guilty of doing this yourself? This is an unhealthy way to live and it has to stop!
I can remember when I was young and feeling bad because one of, or all of my friends, had the most popular pair of shoes. And, if I’m being honest, up until about ten years ago, sometimes those same feelings would come over me when one of my friends was on a really nice vacation and I didn’t have the resources to take such a luxurious trip. Then I’d start to feel frustrated and angry with myself and the universe because I am not living my dream life and it seems like everyone around me is having the time of their lives. It feels awful and it is unhealthy to think like this because I know that I can have anything and everything that I want, I just need to change my mindset.
With the increasing popularity of social media, celebrity magazines, and reality TV, it has become so easy to get sucked into making comparisons. But this is not a good way to spend your time for several reasons:
When you compare everything you know about yourself to what you see of someone else, it is not a fair comparison because you are only seeing what others choose to let you see. For example: do you know how your neighbors are paying for that nice cruise they take every year during the holidays? They could be putting it all on a credit card and putting themselves further and further into debt. Meanwhile, you are focused on paying off your car so that you do not have car payments and can afford to take a nice trip in another year or two.
Not all financial goals are created equally. Some of us prefer to drive a new car and trade ours in each year. Some of us would rather not have a car payment for the rest of our lives, so we pay off our vehicles and drive that baby until it no longer runs. Some of us would rather rent a home so we don’t have all the responsibilities that come with buying our own home. This does not mean one of us is wrong and one of us is right, it just means we have different priorities. What is important is how we feel about our own current financial situation, and if you aren’t happy with yours, you need to be aware of some of these comparisons you might be making so that you can recognize them when you are doing it and check yourself.
Financial envy can be the cause of a lifetime of debt and unhappiness. When you fall victim to financial envy you are going to find it very hard to be satisfied with your financial situation.
We must choose happiness over the battle to keep up by creating attainable goals for ourselves and compare ourselves to our own goals. Then we celebrate our wins and update our goals as we reach them.
Action step: Stop with the comparisons already, financial envy does not look good on anyone.
Pay attention to how you feel when you recognize some financial envy creeping up on you the next time your BFF buys the newest model of the iPhone and change your thoughts around it. Be happy for them and remember that those are not your financial goals. You are working on your relationship with money and having a new iPhone isn’t in your budget right now. The phone you have works perfectly for your current situation. Then pat yourself on the back because you are one step closer to finding financial peace.
If you are comfortable with sharing, comment below about a time when you have had financial envy and tell us how it made you feel. There is no judgment here, we are all working together to improve our money mindset and I guarantee you are not the only one here who is guilty of feeling like this at some point or another. What is important is recognizing it and working to change it so that you feel better about your current situation. If you are not comfortable sharing, that is ok too, just be sure to take inventory of it for yourself so that you can work on fixing it.
A financial transformation specialist who partners with women to transform their money mindset and help them create a love affair with money that will make anyone jealous! Erin has a Masters of Science in Accountancy and has studied money mindset, as it relates to us individually and in our businesses, and the taxes that we pay, for over a decade.