It’s hard to resist trying to keep up with those Joneses. They have such nice stuff. You want nice stuff too. Who doesn’t want nice stuff?
But there are plenty of reasons to avoid comparing bank accounts.
- It’s awkward. And rude. And irrelevant.
- Everybody has different wants, needs and goals. We don’t all have the same magic number that will allow us to achieve the quality of life we crave. Some of us will have to work harder and longer, and you can’t see that just by sitting in their BMWs.
- We are all in different places in our lives. Some people choose to have kids and then a career, some a career then kids, some no kids, some no career. Some people work and save a lot early on and just a little bit later, others work and save a medium amount their whole lives. Different life experiences have different price tags and one isn’t better than the other so long as it makes you happy.
Rather than asking if you are financially “ahead” or “behind” your friends, you should be asking yourself whether you’re ahead or behind on your own financial plan.
This is an infinitely more difficult question for people to ask themselves because it forces them to exist in the realm of, what the ancient Greeks called, “reality,” rather than dealing in personal emotions.
The only way to judge the relative position of your personal finances is to compare them to your goals and your timeline.