In this day and age, comparison is somewhat inevitable. Unless you refuse to watch television, don’t own a phone or never engage in conversations with others, you are likely to naturally compare yourself to others. One of the aspects we compare quite often is our finances.
Like most 20-somethings, my finances can sometimes be a source of stress. I’m so fortunate to have a great job that pays well, but even so I worry about my financial future in the upcoming years. Things like buying a house, planning a wedding and eventually having children (many years from now Mom!), are all very expensive.
The problem with comparing finances is that every person is at different stages in their life. Two women who graduated from the same university and now work in the same field probably both lead very different professional and personal lives. They both live in different cities, make different amounts of money, and have different expenses to pay each month.
I often find myself wondering how my peers and friends can afford to go on 4 vacations a year, pay for their $2000 a month apartment, own 3 different Kate Spade bags and dine out numerous times a week. Meanwhile, my idea of a vacation is visiting a nearby beach for a weekend, my monthly student loans cost more than my rent, I try to pack my lunch often, and I don’t even own a Kate Spade bag (yet). As much as I don’t want to compare my financial life to others, it’s impossible to do so sometimes.
But as I step back and think about it more and more, I realize that although I may not be able to live a lavish lifestyle like others, I’m still doing well for myself. I enjoy the field I chose to work in and know that my future salary should steadily increase and pay more than other similar fields. I am responsible enough to pay for my own bills- rent, student loans, car insurance, and more. I work my ass off on my blog and freelance services so I can make extra money to pay for the expenses I have. There’s something very self-fulfilling and rewarding about working hard, being grateful for what you have and making our own money to pay your own bills.
I know that because I’m in a relationship, I often have more expenses than most of my single peers- things like purchasing a home, getting engaged and married are all in my future, while for them it may be many years away or not even on their radar. This is one instance where it’s clear that my single friends can afford more outings, material possessions and vacations and therefore I shouldn’t compare. I know that because I chose to go to an expensive college with barely any financial aid that I will be paying these loans off for many years, while my peers have measly $200/month payments. And that was my choice. We all make choices and those choices greatly impact our finances.
It’s easy to try to compare your finances to everyone around you, but I’m letting you know that you shouldn’t be. Next time you find yourself falling into this trap, remember that everyone is at a different place in their lives. You can’t compare apples to oranges- they just simply are two different, delicious fruits.
Do you sometimes compare your finances to others?