Sunday, February 8, 2009

Do You Keep Up With The Joneses?

Previously, I mentioned about this $50K or $100K survey. Even though the statistical sample is confined to Harvard, the results represents quite accurately the mentality in our society. Aren’t we always comparing who has the flashier car or bigger house?

Do You Keep Up With The Joneses?
My wife and I will rather have the $100,000 because we have never been interested in keeping up with the Joneses. If you can make more money than me and enjoy fine dining, shopping, staying in 5-star hotels every day, so be it.

Coming home from a hard day's work and then spending time with my wife is more important, rather than chasing for more money by taking on another sideline job. I am satisfied when my current job allows me to afford simple indulgences without going into debts.

Fortunately, we did not adopt an extravagant lifestyle, even during the rolling good times when our household income inflated. Hence, there are less drastic adjustments for us to make in this recession.

Nevertheless, the survey caused me to think deeper about money, especially in this bloody period of deleveraging and wealth destruction. Why do we crave for money? Where we do draw the line and say we have enough money for a lifetime?

For a lot of us, the more money the better. I guess this boils down to our insatiable desire for status. After all, we like to judge ourselves by what others have and not what we need.

How do you feel about money? Do you think money and status are related? Does it stoke your ego to be able to spend more money than your neighbor?


Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas said...

Hehe, I get a high from saving! Not so much from spending (definitely not trying to be anything like the Joneses). Of course, though, I do not want to hoard my money and not have pleasures in life. While my favourite activities are chilling out with my loved ones at home (or taking walks together), when I am ready for a little change, I will spend money on travel and quality food (not necessarily expensive like Fleur de Lys but it should be fresh and well prepared both at the supermarket and restaurants).

Nice post!

Anny said...

I like having the same things but spending less ;)

Good for you on deciding to spend time with your job instead of looking for side work - too many people emphasize the impermnent material.

Barry Ritz said...

@ Jules -

Thanks for your comment. Saving gives us a high too and we allocate money for discretionary spending.

It is important not to live like a monk, spending on the simple pleasures in life gives us the extra motivation to keep at our financial goals.

Barry Ritz said...

@ Anny -

Indeed, holding on to my current job is my main focus right now.

I don't blame those looking for side jobs though, having additional money to supplement their day-job income is good.