Updated: Oct 1, 2021
Do you ever get the feeling that everyone around you is doing better than you are?
I have struggled with this my whole life. I can’t clearly explain why, but I have always felt I should be further ahead than I am. I should have more in savings... I should be more successful… I should look a certain way… Over the last 20 years in the financial industry, I have seen how decisions driven by negative self-talk, self-doubt, and comparing ourselves to others have influenced people to make short-term financial decisions that lead to long-term challenges.
Ho do they do it?
In the last few weeks, I have seen this trend emerge in nearly every new client that hires me. The most common phrase I hear is, “My friends are doing X,Y, and Z. I make good money, but I can’t do those things. How do they do it?” What I am grateful for is that these clients are contacting me for guidance rather than spending money needlessly to keep up an image they can’t afford. However, I realize there are millions of others who aren’t working with a financial advisor and may be making unhealthy choices. I am on a mission to help your future selves be proud of the decisions you make today. Here are a few pieces of advice I share with anyone concerned about keeping up appearances.
You don’t know the whole story. People who strive to be the envy of everyone around them may have deeper issues. They may be drowning in debt, unhappy in their relationships, or struggling with mental illness. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of people earn a great living and can comfortably afford the lifestyle they live, but if you are looking at a close friend or relative and can’t make heads or tails of how they live the way they do, chances are there is more to their story.
Find ways to build your financial confidence! I love to see clients celebrate small milestones. For example, when a client who has low cash balances sees their savings account hit $5000 for the first time, the feelings are momentous! When a client can finally say they are credit card debt free, the emotions can be overwhelming. Weights are lifted, stresses are reduced, and somehow, through these accomplishments, what others are doing becomes less significant. This is because you know you are doing the right things for your own life.
As I have written about before, I am a huge supporter of self-care and mental health services. When we feel good about ourselves, we make healthy financial decisions. If you or someone you know lives their lives by comparing themselves to others, please share this newsletter with them. They can schedule a complimentary consultation and start to uncover what influences their financial decisions.
All my best,
Christina Gatteri, CFP
Certified Financial Planner
Warwick, Rhode Island 02886