It’s common for people to obsess over the lives of other people. There’s a reason why there are entire TV shows dedicated to documenting every time celebrities leave their homes. While it can be fun and entertaining to follow the lives of others, it can also be dangerous when taken too seriously. This is especially true when we start comparing ourselves to other people. No two people are alike—especially when it comes to personal finances. Here’s why you need to get out of the mindset of thinking the grass is always greener on the other side.
Personal Finances Isn’t a Competition
There’s a familiar phrase that says people are always trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” This means that people are constantly trying to live up to the social and material pressures around them. Whether it’s getting a new car, house, sending children to prestigious schools, or any other combination of things—people are constantly trying to prove their worth through their external appearances. But this is an impossible war, with no end point. When do you finally say that you have had enough and decide you’re satisfied with things?
If you’re keeping up with the Joneses, this will never happen. There’s always going to be someone else who has more material wealth than you. Your personal finances aren’t a competition. They should exist for you to find self-satisfaction and security. You’ll never be happy if you try to base your own goals on the values of others.
Living Above Your Means Won’t End Well
There’s more than one problem with thinking the grass is always greener on the other side. It won’t make you happy. But beyond that, it can actually lead you to extreme misery. Defining your goals based on material wealth is generally not satisfying, unless those items truly provide some sort of tangible benefit to you and those close to you.
Additionally, striving too hard for expensive things can be disastrous for your finances. When you’re in a material arms race with your neighbours, you’re going to end up spending way more than you can actually afford. This will lead to taking on excessive amounts of debt, which can bring financial hardship for years. Credit card debt is one of the most damaging forms, as it typically comes with extremely high interest rates. Only paying the minimum balance on credit cards, while continuing to acquire more possessions, is what gets people into deep financial trouble.
Where will you turn for money when you actually need it for something important? The top cause for people declaring bankruptcy actually isn’t reckless spending; it’s medical expenses. However, these things sometimes work together. If you’re using all your money on things you don’t really need, you’re going to be in trouble when you actually need that cash.
People who have already found themselves in a tricky financial situation due to overspending can consider looking for outside help. Freedom Debt Relief is an organisation that specialises in debt negotiation and settlement. They’ve helped many people over the years get over their money troubles by working with lenders to arrive at more favourable terms. You can check out Freedom Debt Relief reviews to see how pleased other people have been with their services.
Appearances Can Be Deceiving
There’s another thing people often ignore when comparing themselves to other people. Those people who seem to be so happy, and have it all, are often just putting on a front to maintain that appearance. Don’t be fooled by the allure of excessive materialism. It will only come back to bite you in the end. It’s a much better idea to take any excess money and put it toward things that actually matter to you as a person. Is there something you’ve really wanted to do for a friend or family member? Maybe you can donate some extra money to a good cause. And don’t forget: You need to think about your savings. The future is just a different form of the present. Worrying too much about what’s happening today will distract you from planning for tomorrow.
Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your life and possessions to those of the people around you. Create your own set of values, and you’ll be able to control your happiness as opposed to letting items and circumstances control you.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.