For all of you who have that neighbour who seems to get a new car every month, or that friend who’s never repeated an outfit: Don’t waste your time being jealous.
And secondly, as Dina Gachman, author of “Brokenomics: 50 Ways to Live the Dream on a Dime,” points out, you likely don’t know what your neighbour or friend’s finances really look like behind closed doors.
“In person, you might be seeing a superstar with a Bentley and a bling-y backpack, but on paper you could see their name on top of several bills from creditors marked: FINAL NOTICE,” Gachman writes.
The problem is that this phenomenon known as ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ is no longer just about envying your neighbour’s awesome butter churn or badass weather vane. Thanks to tabloid news, the Internet, and social media, we can peer into the fifteen-bedroom homes of celebs or see a $US16,000 bar tab on Rich Kids of Instagram.
Maybe the objects of your jealousy don’t even consider themselves wealthy. Gachman cites a Fidelity Investments survey which found that 40% of Americans reported they “didn’t feel rich,” and that they would only feel rich if they had an average of $US7.5 million.
“One thing that people in every single tax bracket share is the capacity for some serious money envy,” Gachman explains. “Some of us are jealous of a coworker’s shiny 2015 Camry, and others are seething because they don’t have a 2016 customised Bentley like the mogul next door. The objects might be different, but the feeling is the same.”