The last time you got personal finance advice, was your reaction:
I can't save as much as you because ...
1. I don't make as much as you
2. It's too expensive to live nowadays
3. I have responsibilities you never had
4. The economy doesn't work that way anymore
5. University costs way more these days
6. The price of real estate makes it impossible to live
Why is it that advice on how we should deal with our money usually comes from people that seem to have a much better situation than us.
It's hard to relate to these people right?
More likely than not they weren't always that way.
Certainly, there are some people that got lucky, got an inheritance, or had some kind of windfall. But the reality is that those are the few people that stand out in our minds. What about all the other people.
Think about the last person to give you money advice. Was it your parents, a relative, a sibling or friend. Maybe it was a blogger or a financial advisor.
Did they all start from the top?
It's easy to look at others and find reasons they succeeded and tell yourself you don't have the willpower, or courage, or motivation, or guts to do what they did.
The only difference between you and them is what you do every day
Every day someone that makes less than you is saving more than you.
Every day someone that lives in a more expensive city is saving more than you.
Every day someone with more mouths to feed is saving more than you.
Every day someone in the same economy as you is saving more than you.
Every day someone is paying off their student debt and getting their net worth above zero.
Every day someone is saving enough to make a downpayment on their first home.
Every day someone is making the choice to save when you are making the choice to spend.
Keeping up with the Joneses
Often this term, "keeping up with the Joneses" refers to consumerism and how people see other people buying stuff so they buy stuff too. If you see your friend buy a new car, maybe you want to buy a new car. When you see your cousin flying first class around the world, you want to fly around the world too, at least in economy... first class is pushing it.
Why do we consciously or unconsciously try to keep up with the Joneses when it comes to spending, but when it comes to savings we are ok to be the different, poorer neighbour.
When it comes to the good habits of the Joneses we are blind.
Maybe the Joneses can have the great house, the great car, the great stuff because they saved for years and years to get themselves into the right financial position. And now all you see is the final result. All you see is an overnight success.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as overnight successes. It's all hard work, you just weren't there to see the work.
The work happens when...
1. They choose to turn the lights off
2. They choose to walk instead of drive
3. They choose to buy produce and meat that's on sale
4. They choose to live in "just enough" space rather than "more than enough" space
5. They choose to take a shorter shower
6. They choose to not buy those shoes or that shirt or that dress that they only kind of like, and definitely don't need.
7. They buy generic brands of toothpaste, over the counter medicines, and other household goods where a brand makes no difference except for the price.
8. They choose to say no to that extra beer offered by the waitress
9. They choose to eat breakfast at home a couple extra times a week (or always)
10. They choose to pack a lunch
11. They learned to cook
You choose how much or little you want to do.
Maybe you will be an overnight success to someone someday.
Save Money Retire Early is written by Jon Lo, a barely 30 something change optimist, and personal finance guy. I believe anyone can be rich or poor, it's what you save that makes the difference.