Keeping up with the Joneses is an expression that originates with a comic strip that started in 1913. The strip depicts a social climbing family who struggle to keep up with their neighbors, the Joneses. Although the strip ran until 1940, the phrase Keeping Up With The Joneses has remained a very popular expression that primarily refers to people who focus on appearances.
Previously, the expression Keeping Up With The Joneses was used as a comparison to neighbors as a benchmark for social class or the accumulation of material possessions. Today, comparisons are not only made with neighbors, but also among family members, friends, friends of friends, social media influencers and reality TV personalities. In society, you are perceived as inferior or culturally, socially, and economically inadequate, if you are not Keeping Up With The Joneses.
Because we have a fear of not being accepted or not liked, we overextend ourselves to fit in or strive to outshine each other. In reality, we fail to understand that no matter how much money we earn, or how much material goods we possess, there is always someone else who has more. Continuing the behavior of outshining everyone, will cause you to spiral into a hole that you will not be able to get out of. You will be plagued with a lifetime of debt and stress that will cause not only harm to your health but also harm to your financial future.
Now is the time to change your behavior. Stop worrying about the Joneses. Truth be told, most of the Joneses are broke and living paycheck-to-paycheck with no financial future. It is time to stop the cycle. Set a new trend by Keeping Up With You! Here are a few things to consider as you make a change to stop worrying about the Joneses:
STOP COMPARING. Since you are not privy to anyone else’s lifestyle plan, you should not concern yourself with what they have or do not have. Even if you know how much someone may earn, his/her earnings are only associated with his/her household, not your household. Just because he/she is able to buy this or that, does that mean you should too? Think about it, if the Joneses are living above their means, does this mean you should live above yours? On the flip side, if the Joneses are living within their means, does their means equal your means in the exact amount? Does their income and expenses equal yours?
LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS. Just because you may have a high income, you do not have to spend it all. Remember the saying, “It is not about how much you make, it is about how much you keep.” Start saving instead of spending and watch your health and financial outlook improve.
SET FINANCIAL GOALS. Instead of accumulating debt, start increasing your savings. Make plans to take memorable family vacations. Properly prepare your children for college without overwhelming them with student loan debt. Consider retiring 5 to 10 years early (this might give you the Joneses title).
SET PERSONAL GOALS. Take time to reflect on your well-being. Material possessions cannot fill an empty heart or fulfill loneliness. If you have health concerns, focus on improving your health. Think about others that may be going through difficult times and offer aid to uplift them. Mend broken relationships that were once strong and make them whole again. Build new relationships that can become meaningful. Last but most important, build a solid spiritual relationship that will help you get through any burdensome situation.
Keeping Up With The Joneses may help you gain better items in your closet, a bigger house, faster cars, better schools for the kids, better vacations and better parties. You have to ask yourself if it is worth it. Is it worth having health issues, extended work hours, a prolonged retirement date or no financial future? Making a change is up to you. If you need help with creating a lifestyle plan that will help you change your current way of life, contact me at 704-626-7484.