Why do we always feel like the people around us have more money than us? If you asked anyone of your friends how much money do they think you have or they have compared to others – they are always going to over-estimate how much money you or their other friends have, and underestimate their own. We are poor. Others are rich. That is the consensus. Why do we not see the reality? Everyone is not richer than us. Everyone is not poorer than us. Some might be richer, some might be poorer. But there is no generality that can thrown at the status of the people around us.
Maybe I have an inferiority complex with this sort of thing – but I always believe everyone around me makes more money than me. Significantly more. I make a meagre 40K in the bowels of Toronto, and I consider myself to be one of the ones who makes significantly less than the people that I know, that I meet on the street, in my yoga classes. The reason I think this way is simple. I compare my inside life to their outside life. I know how much money I have, and what I can do with it. I cannot buy Lululemon workout clothes by the boatload, if I wish to erase my debt. I cannot go on random one week vacations to Puerto Plata, if I wish to save up for the Big Trip. I cannot have a really nice, new, shiny car, if I wish to pay off my mortgage faster. The list goes on.
But I do not see the insides of the people around me. I only see their Lululemon workout clothes, their fancy cars, their fancy furniture and downtown apartments, their pictures on FB of the vacations they have been on, etc. I do not see their debt, their stress about their debt, the paycheque they get every month, the money they have to borrow from friends or family, them having to give up on something to have a nice car, and so on. I do not see their inside life, but the outside life they portray to the world.
Do you do the same? Are you comparing your inside life to their outside life and lamenting about the unfairness of the situation? You are probably not the poorest of your friends or the richest perhaps. But looking at the life portrayed on FB or to the world is never the best way to judge the people around you. If you are going to have an honest conversation about money with them, then maybe you will be able to figure out what the honest truth is. Until then, try to base your assumptions on reality.