Part of personal finance being personal means that we focus on our own journey, and let others focus on theirs. We are responsible for our own finances and our own outcomes. Too often, however, we tend to look over at our friends and neighbors to compare notes. We either like to pick apart what they are doing wrong to make ourselves feel better, or start drooling in envy at the latest new toy they are touting. Whenever we do this, we’re forgetting the ‘personal’ in finance.
Comparing is Destructive
Comparing finances is both destructive to yourself, to others and to your relationships. When you compare your finances, you are sowing discontentment. Discontentment grows and makes you miserable. Discontentment can breed when you compare stuff, income, net worth, or anything else.
Comparing can easily turn judgmental. We our proud creatures. When you look at how your friend spends money, you might be tempted to think they are doing it all wrong. You might even let a comment or two slip. Even if you don’t, your contempt will likely have a destructive effect on your relationship with the person. It may even bring down the individual.
Advice is Still Welcome… Maybe
Keeping finance personal does not mean that we don’t offer advice. It simply means that we recognize our boundaries. We recognize when advice is not wanted. We also accept that a recipient of advice may choose not to take our advice. We evaluate the relationship and decide what kind of financial advice is appropriate. Of course, if someone asks us for advice, advice is probably appropriate. Even so, offer the advice while withholding judgement, and remember that their finances are theirs, and yours are yours.
As a personal finance blogger, I assume that by navigating to my page, you are in a way soliciting my opinion or advice. However, I will strive to withhold judgement. You make your decisions and I make mine.
And in the words of Hank Williams:
While I do strive to only write accurate information and dispense valuable advice, I am not a licensed financial adviser. All information is based solely on my personal experience and personal research and should be treated as such. Find out more.