Let's do a fun test to see what and how we feel if we were to compare to people who are so call better than us in many aspects. Be it their lifestyle, wealth, health, knowledge or experiences.
For simplicity, Mr. or he narrated here can also mean Ms. or she.
Mr. X - The Financial Literate
Assuming Mr. X stays in HDB, does not own car, normal employee in the day with median household income. Frugal and contended, X has a happy family and a healthy lifestyle. He saves, invests and seeing his annual financial portfolio grow each year so far, has made him really proud. To enrich himself, Mr. X reads and blogs regularly. To add icing to the cake, Mr. X-variance may even have a 7-figure portfolio with 6-figure passive income. For some reasons, he also likes to announce his portfolio, his stock buy, and passive income in his blog.
Hmmm... Mr. X sound pretty much like ourselves in this blogosphere! It is no denial that in terms of financial knowledge alone, Mr. X belongs to the upper echelon compared to most, or at least, this is what he likes to be thought of as.
Mr. X then gets to know about Mr. Y for the first time.
Mr. Y - The Enlightened
Mr./Ms Y is younger than him, also a salaried employee but did not reveal specific details of his occupation or income. Mr. Y is a man of humility and hate to compare, but somehow during a conversation, Mr. X knows that Mr. Y lives in a big house, owns luxury car, buy relatively expensive but quality products. Mr. Y also has a healthy lifestyle, happy family and good career. As a matter of fact, Y is also well learnt, save, invests and have little or manageable debts.
Assume it is unknown to Mr. X if Mr. Y is financial savvy or if he is using leverage to attain his current lifestyle. Then IMAGINE you are MR. X.
Upon knowing Mr. Y for the first time, what is the first thought that comes into your mind?
Choose options A, B or C, whichever closest to your thinking.
It is going to intriguing but please be truthful.
Option A – Jealous & Think I Am Better
You start to think "so what, if he is having a bigger house, drives a bigger car! Aiyah…he most likely anyhow spends, leverages his finance and knows nothing about saving and investments. I am frugal, save regularly, knowledgeable about investments. I am definitely better than him. I feel good about myself and am going to write a blog article on the (assumingly) foolish and financial ignorant Mr. Y tonight!”
Ok… it is human nature to always wanted to outperform the other. The sourness kick in once you hear that he lives a better material life and yet younger than you. Then you start to console yourself by thinking that he probably knows nothing about personal finance and use debts to leverage his current lifestyle.
In fact and maybe aside from the house, car and better career, Mr. Y can be more financial savvy than you do, has no debts and a bigger and profitably portfolio with a large backup warchest all built up by himself without parents help. The only difference is he prefers not to announce in his Blog as he does not see the need. Mr. Y prefers to focus on himself and his family, continuous learning but dislike comparison.
Option B – Inquisitive & Learn
You find that Mr. Y is an interesting person and will like to know more about him. The conversation deepens, you realize aside from his material wealth, he is humble and posses knowledge and experience. He work hard and for some reasons, earn his first pot of gold earlier in his life. You further learn that Mr. Y is actually frugal despite his “on surface” spending. He spent on condo/landed properties with reasons of enjoying the facilities now (which he used frequently) and as a form of investments into the future particularly in land-scarce S’pore. He appreciates quality, which explains the spending within his means for certain things such as car, watch and other wants.
You think to yourself “wow, why don’t I find out more how he does it so splendidly well! Maybe if relevant I can also learn or add some flavor to my current life! If it is not relevant, then I can take it positively as a good example to remember and continue to enjoy what I am doing now!”
Option C – “Bo Chup!”
Listen and forget. Totally not interested and nonchalant. Continue to live each day, as it is.
So which options resemble the most your thinking?
This test is meant to "help" and not to "poke"!
It allows us to reflect our thinking and be extremely open-minded.
Words to My Children
I encouraged you to focus on yourself and your family and things you can change.
Stop comparing, envy or being jealousy! It only deepens and reveals our inferior complex more. Even if you do not think so, but subconsciously you already did!
“Know Yourself”, “Find Your Passion”, and “Invest in Yourself”
Eventually you will live an enriched life, whether being frugal or not, or whether if you know how to invest in financial instruments or not, no longer matter. For, your self-consciousness, positive-ness and continuously learning attitude somehow will automatically solve all problems that arise.