Who are the Joneses anyway? I don’t know, but for some reason, I’m trying to keep up with them. We hear the phrase “keeping up with the Jones” all the time, and most of us are guilty of this kind of spending at some time or another. It rears its ugly head in many ways. Everyone likes to hear themselves say “why yes this purse is new and yes it is real” or “a car like this really knows how to handle the road, performance doesn’t come cheap”. Another common one is “well, my daughter will be attending Expensive University out of state this fall” and “my son needs a little extra attention so we chose Pretty Fancy Prep”. It also takes a lot of humility to hear our friends and co-workers say these things and not get jealous.
Call it one-upsmanship, retail therapy, a hobby, or whatever. It doesn’t matter but know an ego can be very expensive. As I write this, also know, I am not innocent of this behavior! There is nothing wrong with treating ourselves to nice things, vacations, or certainly not an education. The important thing is knowing what your savings goals are, what your living expenses are, and not compromising these.
I see firsthand educated people with nice homes and new cars who wouldn’t survive three months without a job and would be forced to tap retirement savings. I see pre-retirees you would expect to cruise into their golden years but are saddled with enormous mortgages and little to no savings. Meeting with these clients is difficult because the biggest hurdle to their success is themselves.
When I was a kid there was a commercial with a teenager driving a fancy new European sports car. He sees his friends on the road going to a party. The camera pans out and you see the pizza delivery logo on his car. His car is costing him time with his friends and he must work all the time to cover that lifestyle and image. Don’t be this guy!
I urge you to take time and think where you really want your money to go. If you feel you have over extended yourself, it does not mean it is too late. Working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM Professional can help you decide the best places to allocate your savings to maximize wealth, pay down unnecessary debts, and leave a little for life’s sweeteners.
It’s not about how much you make, it’s about how much you spend.