Often times I hear people comparing their finances to what they think someone else’s financial situation looks like. Yet, the craziest thing is… none of us really even know the true financial situation other people are in! Society trains you to make assumptions about other people’s finances based on what you see and hear (especially on social media)… but don’t fall for it, girlfriends! Getting ourselves trapped in a financial rat race to keep up with other people is truly for the birds, because the truth of the matter is… anyone with that mentality is actually losing in the long run and here’s why:
1. The Joneses are not paying your bills.
First of all…who are the Joneses anyway? And why are these people so important that many are willing to spend down to their very last dime to impress these folks? Will the Joneses bail you out when you find yourself in a financial catastrophe? Nope! So why put this pressure on yourself to keep up with folks that are probably broke themselves? Many times things are not always as they seem.
According to the “Financial Capability in the United States” report, about 55% of Americans today are living paycheck to paycheck. So that means about 6 of every 10 people you know are in deep financial doo-doo... but will still be frontin’ as if money is falling from trees (major eye roll). Don’t be one of those 6 people… the Joneses are not real… stop it.
2. Keeping up with the Joneses causes you to live outside of your means.
Ladies, let’s get really real! Many of us will compare ourselves to other women for unnecessary competition purposes. Some will even spend hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars (that they do not truly have) to rock the baddest clothes and accessories, drive the flyest car, or live in the most expensive home or apartment. Not because they can afford it, but because they feel the pressure to keep up with everyone else.
Girlfriends, no! If you are literally living paycheck to paycheck (with no savings at all) because you are too focused on accumulating “the finer things in life”, then hunty, there are some serious changes that need to be made.
The pie chart below shows, generally, how your net income should be divided. Keeping these percentages in mind will help create spending boundaries and keep your priorities in perspective.
3. Keeping up with the Joneses causes you to STAY in debt.
Most individuals who are in a continuous cycle of keeping up are also likely to be in a continuous cycle of staying in and accumulating more debt.
Credit cards are easily accessible these days, especially if your credit is fairly decent. So many folks who are keeping up with the Joneses are bound to fall into the credit card trap... just to prove to people who do not matter that they can afford “stuff”. Whyyyy?! The only people you are hurting are yourself and your family.
Ultimately, bad chicks are fiscally responsible... and the baddest have good credit and a stacked savings account! I'm just saying...
4. Keeping up with the Joneses causes stress and anxiety.
I have seen first-hand how poor financial situations can trickle into other areas of life. Struggling to keep up with other people will definitely have you in a state of anxiety and stress… making daily living difficult and unpleasant. And for what purpose? Listen… you never have to prove to other people what you are worth, based on the price of the things you posses.
I promise, the day you decide to make changes in your financial life and live within your means, you will find that the Joneses' opinion really doesn’t matter at all… because frankly my dear, who gives a damn!