No One Became Wealthy Worrying for Others

by David Ning · 16 comments



What’s the difference between these two household expenses?


Ready?

That’s right. Absolutely nothing. But what if I told you that household A has an income of $50,000, while household B has an income of $100,000? Is one family more responsible than another?

What I’m Really Saying

We tend to look at everything in the absolute sense, and with good reason – that’s all we are able to see.

  • We are jealous of other people’s income, with no idea of how much stress and effort they endure on a daily basis.
  • We judge others by the cars they drive, but we have no clue how they bought it.
  • We go to Costco and think others are financially irresponsible when they buy a new HDTV, but we have no clue how much they are making.

On our journey to be financially free, we worry way too much about others. The sad part is that we know nothing about other people’s specific circumstances. Who cares if other people are driving nice cars when you are in debt. Who needs to think about your friend’s mansion when you are happy in your own and who couldn’t use all the time we spent being jealous of others when we can use it to improve our own situation.

Worry About Yourself

You have to stop yourself from being jealous of others. There’s a certain level of luck involved, but so much of life is a result of all the little decisions that you make constantly. Yes, some are luckier than others, but you can drastically increase your chances by being positive and doing the right thing.

You may be born rich, but no one is born wealthy. Wealth is a feeling, and it takes more than having a bunch of coins in your piggy bank to obtain it.

Study the charts again. Can you spot the difference, and if there isn’t any, who really cares?

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandy January 28, 2010 at 6:38 am

You must be spying on me because I almost always talk about it with my hubby whenever I’m at Costco and I see tons of people pushing the huge TV boxes out the door. I now confess that I’m just a little jealous and I should really worry more about my own wealth.

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MoneyNing January 28, 2010 at 8:58 am

I wrote the Costco example because Emma and I talked about it before too. It’s really amazing how many people actually buy those TVs on a daily basis.

I keep thinking “doesn’t everyone already have a TV”?

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Lauren June 18, 2012 at 10:48 am

Yes, but they do eventually break. :-)

One of our TVs is from 1993 and it’s finally starting to go. We’ll replace it with a newer model when we get around to it.

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marci January 28, 2010 at 8:13 am

I’m thinking the housing cost (property tax, insurance and maintenance) should be the purple goods area’s slot size…
and where’s the savings???? It should be the size of the housing area.
LOL
Those were my first two thoughts on those graphs :)

I just do what’s right for me – and I DON’t worry about the others.
Their shoes wouldn’t fit me right, so why would their finances.
Both are very personal :)

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MoneyNing January 28, 2010 at 8:59 am

I think for many, the housing cost is much more than 6%, but I think it also depends on the geographical location. Here in California, NO ONE has a 6% housing cost, unless they own their house outright (which is near impossible out here).

As to savings, I didn’t put it in because this represents expenses only, and not percentage of income.

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Sam January 28, 2010 at 8:18 am

I particularly agree with the ‘Wealth is a feeling’ part. Some people can barely make ends meet when making 100k+, while others feel completely at ease making 30k. We adapt to whatever comes our way, that’s our nature. The good, the bad. The ‘wealthiest’ are probably those who do not feel as though they are on a ‘journey’ to attain something, but rather those who attain something within the journey itself.

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MoneyNing January 28, 2010 at 9:07 am

I love the “wealthiest” quote. That should be everyone’s motto. After all, our life is not exactly a goal, but a journey.

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Cd Phi January 28, 2010 at 8:31 am

Totally agree with you, Sam. If we stop worrying about others, we can work on fixing ourselves for the better.

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Jeff@MySuperChargedLife January 28, 2010 at 9:31 am

I totally agree that, “so much of life is a result of all the little decisions that you make”. Thomas Jefferson said, “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” Action produces results. Wishful thinking produces nothing. It just wastes away the day.

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Laura January 28, 2010 at 10:28 am

Nice little reminder to stop comparing ourselves to other… really, I just compare myself to myself. It’s too easy to get jealous of what others have… so you try to work more, then you get jealous of the free time and trips others have, so you try to work less…. it’s all a vicious cycle

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Moneymonk January 28, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Great Analogy.

Everyone wants to keep up with the Joneses a little, it’s Human Nature

I stop looking at one’s income and started looking at their debts and became more relax. I will have to tweet this. Great Post

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kenyantykoon January 28, 2010 at 11:29 pm

this actually makes a lot of sense. This is why i try never to keep up with the jonnes because they may be having more problems than me. Most of the time they are and they have to hide it by having to keep up appearances. Everyone should develop their own independent thought and not be so easily swayed

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George January 29, 2010 at 11:49 am

You’re exactly right. Life is indeed made of little decisions that we make each and every day.

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BANKMODE.com January 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm

This is an absolutely spectacular piece of work. If only every single person in this country could read this. Of course, they’ll have to be in the right state of mind to understand how correct this is.

Imagine if we all just worried about ourselves..oh the peacefulness.

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Monevator February 8, 2010 at 2:34 am

Very clear illustration of an important point.

Maybe I’m a Saint or something (I’m joking.) but when I saw the article on Tip’d though, I thought you meant worrying about people *less* wealthy than you, and that you were going to be writing about how they had to find their own path or similar.

I guess it brings home how these days I really don’t care less about other people, with the possible exception of housing, as it’s in some ways a zero sum game.

Housing aside, I couldn’t give two hoots if you’re a millionaire or you fly a helicopter. Buy me a drink, and I’ll buy you one.

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Really? August 12, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Please, please, please; don’t get sucked in by the consumerism.

Jealous of what people have; I actually laugh at people who show off their possesions.

Take for example my car a 4wd. I have bought the car to use and being able to cart stuff around. Its paintwork is nothing to write home about but I don’t have to worry when I drive down a dirt road about it getting scratched and chipped. Run the car into the ground at a total cost of around $1000 per year.

The car is 13 years old but does the job. Let some other mug buy the car new and take the massive depreciation hit other the first few years.

Some people play the game of whoever has the most possessions wins. but the don’t seem to realise that doing that is a mugs game. There will always be someone with more.

Of course on a lighter note I have heard the comment that you don’t have to compete with everyone. The secret to a happy marriage is that you just have to be slightly more sucessful then your wife’s sister’s husband.

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