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Tired of Keeping Up With The Joneses?

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clintdavis
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Tired of Keeping Up With The Joneses?  Reply with quote  

You know them. They’re the family driving the shiny new cars, wearing the fancy new clothes, going on lavish vacations and sending their 2.3 children to private school. They have no financial worries, no need to budget, no money fights, and no concerns about retirement.

Hey everybody…It’s the Joneses! Everything in their world is easy. They have it all! Or do they?

“It’s not fair…” you may say. “Some people just seem to have it so easy. How do they live so well while I struggle just to pay the bills?”

It’s a good question. How can these young couples in their 20’s and 30’s buy the big house, drive new cars and go out to nice dinners every night? When Katy and I were newlyweds, we lived in a 600 sq. ft. apartment, drove 15 year old cars and regularly had to say no to going to dinner with friends.

Journalist and Author Shira Boss observes, “How we fit in and how we measure up are such an integral part of our financial well-being. We construct a fantasy world around those who have more money, and glorify their lives.”

Everyone in our culture seems obsessed with Keeping Up With The Joneses. But here’s the big secret….the Joneses….are broke!

When you begin to ask the “Joneses” in your world, it turns out that they don’t own anything. Their big fancy house has a big hairy mortgage. Their cars, boats and stereo systems are all financed. And their big income is completely spent on payments before their paycheck even hits the mail. They have walked right into the trap of looking good but living broke! With credit cards, home equity loans, and “easy monthly payments,” it’s easy to look like you have more than you really do. But it’s a house of cards, and it won’t stand. Just ask the 2 million people that filed bankruptcy in 2010.

Vacations aren’t nearly as relaxing when you are still paying for them 3 years later. And the shiny new car isn’t as fun to drive when you are scrambling to come up with the $500 payment. The big house is no longer a blessing when the foreclosure notices start to come. This shiny, happy existence looks great from the outside. However, inside you will often find heartache, stress, money fights and fear that the bills may not get paid. This is no way to live….and all of a sudden, keeping up with the Joneses isn’t quite so appealing.

In his book “The Millionaire Next Door,” Thomas Stanley points out that the majority of actual wealthy people got that way by living on less than they make, staying out of debt, and saving their money. But no one looks at the person driving a used car and living in a modest home and thinks, “Wow, they must really be saving and building toward a great future…I bet they’ll be able to pay for their kids’ college…they will sure be able to retire comfortably.” Everybody envies the look of wealth. But very few are willing to do the things that wealthy people do, in order to become wealthy people themselves.

How can the Joneses afford to live that way? The truth is…they can’t.

So the moral of the story is…

Stop comparing yourself to the Joneses…or anyone else for that matter. You don’t need to impress them or anyone else. It’s not worth it!
True contentment comes from within. It’s easy to think that if I just had enough money, or more stuff or this new thing, then I’d be happy. But true contentment and joy come from things that money can’t buy. What are your fondest memories? What are the moments in life that have warmed your heart and made you smile the most? Would you trade any of those for a bigger bank account, larger house or newer car?
Post Tue May 17, 2011 4:05 pm
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littleroc02us
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I know people like this that think they are the Jones's and I wish as a friend I could tell them that they are ruining their future, but they would never listen. Yes it would be fun to have all the toys right now, but I realize that the turtle always beats the hare, so I know I'm doing the right thing.

Risk comes from not knowing what you're doing. (Warren Buffet)
Post Tue May 17, 2011 6:14 pm
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coaster
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eh .... keeping up with the Joneses is passe .... went out of fashion with the dot-com bust. Laughing
Post Wed May 18, 2011 6:01 am
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NolaP
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I try to keep all of this in mind when I want to buy something. I'd so much rather get by on less and feel secure, which is a hard feeling to come by these days. Who needs the big house and the new car?
Post Wed May 18, 2011 6:04 pm
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elissakay
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Be yourself. Be genuine. Be what you are. That is what defines you. Focus on your own wealth and its well being.
Post Tue May 24, 2011 9:38 am
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LottomagicZ4941
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quote:
Originally posted by elissakay
Be yourself. Be genuine. Be what you are. That is what defines you. Focus on your own wealth and its well being.


LOL that is a lot of how I was going to answer.

Except beginning with a big

NOPE cuz I don't try to keep up with them.

I would rather have a car that is paid off then shiny any day of the week.

If it gets a new dent I probably wonldn't even notice. Well that is before my Alero got totalled by a driver failing to yield right away.

You kind of take notice when your car becomes inoperable.

Well at least it wasn't shiny. She was dependable and I miss her!!! already.

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Post Tue May 24, 2011 9:41 am
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clintdavis
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Well said...in this country, your value is directly correlated to the car you drive, the home you live in, and the clothes you wear. I'm sorry...my value has nothing to do with STUFF that's going to end up in a land-fill! Now, I'm not one of those guys who says you can't have some nice stuff. Get some money, get some nice things, enjoy life. But don't act like a child who throws a fit because they don't want to wait for something they want. When you actually have the money...then you go buy some stuff.

Thanks for the replies.
Post Tue May 24, 2011 5:10 pm
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samurai
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There was a study that showed that your true happiness depends, not on how much money you have...but on how you compare with your neighbors!

We always hear that we shouldn't 'keep up with the Joneses', but heck, it's much easier said than done! I think even in big business, they call this 'benchmarking', which is nothing more than checking out how you're business is doing compared to your competitors.

I think it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, not to compare, since man is a social being and we always try to see our standing in the group...and may find clues on how what to aim for or how to behave, based on the group we belong to.

I think the key there is to CHOOSE the right 'Joneses' to keep up with!

Look for the Joneses who have done well in saving and investing money. The ones who have very successful businesses. Those who are financially independent. In business parlance, I think they call that MENTORING. Find the right mentors to mold your values, your goals.

Find them and try to learn their secrets. These are the Joneses you must keep up with!
Post Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:13 am
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coaster
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quote:
Originally posted by samurai
I think the key there is to CHOOSE the right 'Joneses' to keep up with!!

Nice point and wise advice!! Very Happy

~Tim~
Post Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:20 am
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globaldoc2001
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I have always encountered such problems with people. Because of this, my motto in life is, TO EACH HIS OWN. I wont care what the others have. I just do things for my own sake.

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Post Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:37 am
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Gary Barzel
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It's an unfortunate cycle that sometimes works both ways. I know some of the Joneses that would love to trade in their fortunes just to have a normal life that doesn't depend on money and everything that comes along with it. If everybody was just happy with their lot and focused on the things that bring true happiness like health, family, friends etc then the world would be a much happier place.
Post Sun Sep 11, 2011 9:30 am
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globaldoc2001
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It is always better to be living our lives alone. Why do we have to compete with each other when we have so many problems of our own?

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Post Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:26 pm
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globaldoc2001
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And to add to that. We should always try to have our very own identity. Leaders have their own traits, and they might copy from the others, but it is for them to learn, and not to just follow.

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Post Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:16 am
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Kenny Soward
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"shameless plug" removed. (poster's words not mine, sorry - Tim)

Think of it like this. While life in America is a competition, the home is a place to relax and enjoy some R&R. I agree with the posters here. Need to be yourself, and do what you can without letting it bankrupt you.

So long as you keep your grass cut Smile
Post Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:48 am
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Eric80
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Interesting article and comment with regards to knowing people like the ‘Joneses’ but in reality there are going to be people that are wealthy and do not have to worry and there will be people that look like there wealthy and live life to the fullest in debt but it will catch up with them at some point and eventually will turn to a Debt management plan because there is only so much you can ride your luck on debt before it catches up to you.
Post Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:13 pm
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