Trying to "keep up" with others is a destructive financial habit.
It's an unwinnable game with success that is always out of reach.
And social media makes it even more unwinnable. You end up comparing yourself to only the select best parts of others. It's like trying to build the perfect life that is better than the best of all of your friends' lives combined.
Here are three secrets to keep in mind when trying to keep the right mindset:
You never know the real situation
What you see publicly is typically only the best. Some of the people who look the "wealthiest" are just the highest spenders. They are living paycheck to paycheck and spending everything they make.
As Thomas Stanley outlined in "The Millionaire Next Door," many times the people who look the least well off actually have the most. The highest spender (looks the coolest on social media) is many times not the wealthiest.
Quit trying to be the combined bests of everyone else
Social media sends you a combined highlight reel of everyone's highs. One person has a great boat, the other went to Europe for a month, and the third bought a brand-new house. Trying to compete across all dimensions is a loser's game. To combat that...
Set your own priorities, everyone is different
Forget about others and focus on what is important to you and your family. Prioritize what is right for what you want, your values, and what fits your budget. And be happy for others' successes.
Quit trying to keep up with others and focus on what is important to you. You might just find you're content with what you already have.