We’ve all heard the idiom “keeping up with the Joneses.” But who is this person, family or group we’re measuring our lives against? Odds are, my “Joneses” are different than yours.
The Joneses in your life can be any person, family or group that you compare your life against.
Most likely, the Joneses you choose to compare yourself with have more of something you feel you’re lacking. In fact, you may not have given something a second thought until you saw that Sally Jones had the very job, car, vacation, education, etc. you never knew you always wanted.
Suddenly you feel less than. If only you could have that job, car, vacation, education, etc. that Sally has. Then you would finally be happy. Or not.
Comparing our lives to others is natural. The problem comes when we start yearning for what others have rather than being content with our own lives.
There is nothing wrong with striving for more of what we want out of life, but chasing material goods at the expense of our financial health and freedom is not a good idea.
And what about when we compare our lives to the lives of those on tv? The unrealistic inflated lifestyles showcased on most tv programs is not the measuring stick with which we should be assessing our own lives. But oftentimes, we unknowingly desire the unobtainable lifestyles that we see in movies or on tv.
What might the Joneses in your life have that you want?
Depending on many factors including your age, occupation, marital status and location, the Joneses in your life may have the following things you seek:
- A nicer house, condo or apartment.
- A high-paying, impressive career.
- A newer, faster or more expensive car.
- Trendy clothes, professional manicures and pedicures and professionally highlighted hair.
- A maid or lawn service.
- A gorgeous wife, girlfriend, husband or boyfriend.
- Smart, athletic, charming and accomplished kids.
- Exotic vacations.
- The latest smartphone, computer, tablet and other technology-related devices.
All of this comparing and keeping up can throw us into a never ending spiral of debt and unhappiness. We’ve all experienced the thrill of purchasing a much desired item only to feel disillusioned when the buzz wore off and we were left with the soon-to-be previous model of XYZ.
And let’s not forget that some things about people’s lives aren’t so obvious.
There are things about the Joneses we can’t see. Things like:
- Retirement savings.
- Debt balances.
- The stress of keeping up appearances that may go on behind closed doors.
It’s easy to assume we know about a person or family’s financial situation by what we perceive to be an outward display of wealth. The truth is, 99% of the time, the outward displays we see are backed by a fat debt balance.
Keeping up appearances likely comes at the expense of the Joneses’ future income, happiness and security. And when we try to keep up, we make those same sacrifices.
That’s a pretty steep price to pay just to impress people we don’t even know that well. After all, anyone really close to us would love us regardless of what we drive, right? So, why sacrifice our futures for the favorable opinions of strangers and acquaintances?
It seems a little silly, doesn’t it?
Life can be different. Starting Today.
Let today be the day you stop looking outward at what the Joneses are buying. Who cares what they’re doing?
Let today be the day you make a plan to rid yourself of the restrictive debt that prevents you from living a life of freedom.
Turn off the tv. Avoid the mall. Spend your time and attention on the people in your life that matter. Let the Joneses dig themselves deeper into debt as dig your way out of debt and discover what makes YOU happy.
If you do this, I promise, your life will be far more fulfilling and meaningful than any fleeting attempt at making an impression.
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