‘Keeping up with the Joneses’- Don’t follow the crowd!
How often have you seen a home with well-manicured lawns, freshly painted exterior walls, automatic gate with several luxury cars parked in the driveway and wished you were as wealthy as the owners of the property? It’s natural to feel a desire to be successful as our neighbours, and we might even be tempted to dip into our savings in order to ensure that we keep up with their perceived standard of living; however there are inherent risks to this perspective on life.
Perception vs Reality
Many persons portray financial security, but in reality they are living from pay cheque to pay cheque. These so called affluent persons are often riddled with debt to maintain their lifestyle. They often decide that outward appearances mean more to them than sustained financial stability. As a result, they project a life of ease and luxury even as they languish behind closed doors.
Sadly some of these persons even forgo their health in a bid to keep their lifestyle intact. The long hours they spend working in order to be able to pay off astronomical loans usually take their toll, eventually resulting in poor health or even an early death. Behind closed doors, many persons who are living a perceived ‘easy’ life are faced with the constant stress of ensuring that they maintain it by whatever means necessary. At times, they might even cut corners that the onlooker who is secretly envying their life would draw away in horror if the true situation of how they live were to be revealed.
Building wealth the right way
Of course, there are persons who are independently wealthy, have worked hard and amassed wealth or were given inheritances that allowed them to finance their lifestyle. These persons, however often do not always flaunt their money, so they don’t always buy the most expensive model of car or splurge on designer clothes.
They recognize that having wealth means safeguarding it, and often flashy cars and other luxury items on display might attract the wrong kind of attention. That is not to say that they are not willing to pay for a higher standard of life, it all relates to getting the basic fundamentals and ensuring that you don’t set yourself up as a target for others.
So should you strive to quickly achieve the financial success of those around you? Do you yearn for the ability to show everyone that you too have ‘made it’ to the top of the financial peak?
It is important to remember that gaining financial success is an individual endeavor and means different things to different people. It could mean living debt free, being able to afford tuition fees, buying food regularly, paying bills on time or owning our own home. It could also mean being able to afford to cover any financial emergency without having to borrow from family or friends. Regardless of your situation, instead of trying to compete with others, take the steps necessary to achieve financial freedom in a gradual manner by sticking to your budget, utilizing saving options and spend wisely. In time you will experience financial stability which should be your ultimate long term goal.