“If I just had (insert item here), I’d be set”
How many of us measure our own success as a comparison against what our peers have? How many of us get on Facebook or other social media outlets and feel less of ourselves when we see friends with exciting new toys or going on fancy vacations to exotic places? The sad reality is that we’ll never achieve financial freedom or happiness unless we learn to not be jealous and compare ourselves to others.
Before I get into why comparisons aren’t a good idea, let me throw a few things out there that I always remind myself when I start feeling jealous. 1) You have no idea about their financial situation. Everybody has different financial plans and spend their money differently. I get jealous of some co-workers as I see them go out to eat everyday for lunch but then I remind myself that they just value things that I tend not to. I may not go out to lunch every day, but I enjoy going on monthly trips to other areas of the country. Or perhaps they are more comfortable with greater amounts of debt than I am. 2) I have my own plan and I’m sticking to it. Perhaps they are better at managing money than me, but I have my plan and am doing the best I can with it. 3) I need to stay focused on the big picture. Big picture, their new TV or shiny necklace won’t matter a week down the road.
In order to really find financial freedom, you need to learn to set yourself free from comparing yourself to others. Financial freedom is a personal thing. There will always be someone else out there with a little more than you, and that always buys nicer things or always goes on nicer trips. In the race to keep up “with the Jones”, you’ll find yourself losing and broke. Comparisons are a vicious cycle that you should learn to stop. If you are not happy with your money situation now, you won’t be happier with more (because you’ll always want more!). Learning to be content is the key.
So instead of being jealous next time you see your friend, try being happy for them and being content with your own situation. You’re on your own track and have your own plans; you’ll get there soon!