Comparison: The One Thing That Could Derail Your Retirement

You probably know Rachel Cruze as the #1 best-selling author of Smart Money, Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money. You may also recognize her from her YouTube vlogs, speaking engagements, and regular appearances on Fox and Friends. And you might know her dad, Dave Ramsey.

Dave and Rachel offer encouraging, challenging, and inspiring advice. Rachel’s latest book, Love Your Life, Not Theirs: 7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want, is no exception. Fortunately, I get to share an excerpt from her new book. What she says can be a game changer!

The habits you practice with your money now will have a big impact on your future.

And because I want you to retire inspired, I want to share truths in her new book that will keep you focused on your goals.  

The Comparisons in Our Pockets

Comparison living is nothing new. I know that every generation in the history of the world has struggled with it to some degree or another. Hey, the instruction not to covet even made the short list for the Ten Commandments! But I really believe something has changed in the past ten years or so, and I believe it’s tied to social media.

Thirty years ago, when my parents were my age, the term “keeping up with the Joneses” was pretty common. That was the mid-eighties, at what some would call the height of consumerism. If Dad came home and saw a brand-new car in the neighbor’s driveway, he probably felt some urge to go get a nicer car himself. I get it. But here’s what’s different today: Back then, my parents had to actually be within eyeshot of the neighbors’ new purchases. They had to see the Joneses’ car in person before the comparison impulse kicked in. Today, however, we carry the Joneses around in our back pockets.

Our cell phones and social media apps are little windows into the lives of other people. If a friend on the other side of the world bought a new purse today, a picture of it could hit my phone before she ever even left the store. Despite all the value networks like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have brought into the world, there’s one glaring negative that we have to face openly and honestly: these channels make it easier than ever for us to wish we were living someone else’s life. And what I’ve come to realize is that when we start comparing ourselves to other people, we’re playing a game we’ll never win.

Better Than Reality

One of the most frustrating parts of social media is that it’s not always real life. Most of what you see on Facebook and Instagram is enhanced. It’s a public display of our best self. We usually put our best foot forward on social media and the pictures we post. Some people even go to the extreme, perfecting every detail. They take fifty different shots before posting the one, perfect, “candid” beach photo.

You scroll through your feed and see a picture of your coworker’s brand-new car with the caption #blessed. This sudden urge to keep up overwhelms you. But comparing yourself to the proverbial Joneses is a dead end. You have to remember that the Joneses may actually be broke! What you are seeing isn’t always the real story.

And I find it hilarious that no one ever posts a picture of their rusted, paid-for ’92 Camry on Facebook and tags it #blessed! Why? Because that trusty old car doesn’t seem as exciting as a brand-new Tahoe.

To help take things one step further from reality, Instagram now offers the Joneses fifteen different filters to make them look extra tan and any ocean they’re laying beside look extra blue. It’s probably safe to say we are all guilty of this! Hey, if it’s a cold January afternoon and an Instagram filter can put a nice warm glow on my face, what’s the harm? Thank you, Lo-Fi filter, for enhancing our reality.

Yes, there might be a picture in your social media feed that involves a family laughing while picnicking in the park. But what you don’t see are the thirty-seven bad shots they deleted before they finally got that good one. I am guilty of this too. I don’t want to put a not-so-cute picture of my daughter on Facebook. Of course not! I do all I can to get her to laugh. Then when I get the cute little grin I’d been looking for, you better believe that’s the picture I want to share with the world!

Here’s the point: When you get caught up in social media comparisons, you’re comparing yourself to make-believe. And when you compare yourself to make-believe, your real life will never feel good enough.

If you are tired of trying to keep up with the Joneses and are ready to put that time and energy into living the life you want, Love Your Life, Not Theirs will show you how. Quit Comparing. Start Living. Preorder your copy of Love Your Life, Not Theirs today!