Many in the personal finance world talk about how two of the major pitfalls of getting into trouble financial are trying to keep up with others and lifestyle inflation. I must admit that I didn’t necessarily understand either, I guess because most of the people I hang out with don’t really do either. At my new job, I am surrounded by folks that have a bit more means and I am already seeing the glaring differences in our personal financial outlooks.
There is nothing wrong having these differences. In fact, I enjoy hearing some of the conversations and how they look at me strangely when I tell them some of the ways I choose to live. Here are three great examples.
Scenario: Day 1 of my job, my boss takes me to lunch with one of my new peers. We ride in his brand new Infiniti and they talk about their next car purchases.
The Question: What car do you drive, Greg?
The Answer: A 2007 Ford Fusion. It was much cheaper than the models now because Ford just put out the fusion so my resale should be pretty good, but I have at least another 5 years with it.
The Reaction: Yeah, sounds like that is working out.
My Reaction: I think I will need to work in corporate America a lot less time than you will.
Scenario: Just continuing to get to know each other, a peer asks if I am from Richmond originally.
The Question: What side of town do you live on.
The Answer: Not the most expensive area, but a good neighborhood.
The Reaction: Oh, I’ve never really been over that way.
My Reaction: Although there is a valid argument to be made about convenience of location and potentially resale, my choice is for cost and bang for our buck. It is a perfect size for when we have our first child and a pretty good candidate as a rental home later.
Scenario: Before a meeting, a peer mentions that he just finished a kitchen renovation.
My Question: Cool, I really like renovations. Did you do the work yourself.
The Answer: No, I am too busy and want to spend time doing other things.
My Reaction: I’ve renovated a kitchen using a contractor and doing one myself. It was much more convenient to take some time and get it completed as compared to waiting for the contractor to show up. Of course, it was much cheaper to do myself as well.
I find these answers amusing. I am baffled by the answers to bigger house, better car, and paying more for everything. So when you find ugly jealousy creeping in when a car passes or you go through a nice neighborhood, just imagine the question and answers about why they have that and it might just bring a smile to your face that you are being smarter.
Have a great weekend!