I write about money a lot, (I mean the name of the blog is Money Life Wax) but the end goal is to help others become secure enough to have peace of mind and real genuine happiness. That being said, I hands down think the one thing that can completely uproot and destroy financial security and happiness: Financial Comparison
“The roots of evil, lie in the seeds of comparison”
Financial envy can cause a life of debt and even worse, unhappiness. When you fall victim of financial envy, it is hard to really be satisfied with your life. So if you have ever found yourself comparing financial positions, you might be traveling down a long and windy road.
I used to think I needed (insert any of the following from below, except the hand bag) in order to keep up with society. What I really needed was a perspective change.
The big house.
The leased luxury automobile.
The brand new iPhone 10.
The newest designer handbag.
The fancy job.
The 3rd college degree because everyone else was getting one.
The clothes on credit.
The list goes on. However, looks can be deceiving, really deceiving. Don’t try to keep up. It is a never ending battle between you and your happiness.
Like I said in my Christmas Savings Post, I don’t remember a single gift from my grandma other than here handwritten note and picture she gave me last year. The material accumulations over time really mean nothing when it comes to happiness.
Choose happiness over the battle to keep up.
Some things you can not put a price on.
You can not put a price on your health, marriage and relationships. I personally chose a shorter commute, more time off and a rewarding career for less money than a job where I could make more, but with less quality of life. That is the kind of decisions we all have to make, that is different for every person
I started putting an emphasis on my health and relationships and stopped living for the weekends. Prior to meeting my wife, that was not normally the case. Now in my 30’s, I started realizing there is more to life then working to just pay bills and living right on the line every month.
A recent CNBC article was quoted as saying less than half of adult Americans have a $1,000 to their name. More than 50% of the population could not afford a brake job and a blown water heater in the same month without having to take out debt. I know if you are reading this, chances are you have read my GOOD budget sheet post and you have a fat emergency fund, but someone you know is in this very situation.
There are people you know, who, if asked to produce $1,000 cash for some sort of emergency purchase it would financially set them back a few months. Chances are, most people are not doing as well as you think.
Be real with yourself.
Case in point, a loan officer friend I know recently made this comment that I thought fit perfectly:
“People will come into our bank, dressed to the nine, driving a brand new car, with a loan application for a house acting as if they make multiple six figures”. He went on to say, “The funny thing is, I don’t know who they are trying to fool other than themselves, because I know exactly how much they make each month. Their credit, auto and student loan debt accounts for over a quarter of their income and they’re buying power is super limited and they act shocked when I inform them they’re not doing as well as they think”
Step 7 in my Starting Financial Security article talks about being really honest with your finances. Granted, my head is not stuck in the sand, I realize not everyone has loads of student loan or consumer debt, but we can all improve in some sort of personal finance area.
Got auto loans, pay them off and save more.
Got a mortgage, save up then focus on accelerating your payments (Check this acceleration plan out)
Got student loans….. Well you already know – pay them off ASAP!
Like my friend said, the only person people are fooling most times is themselves. Be real with yourself and your finances you can live a life you might have never thought was possible.