Keeping Up with the Joneses: Why You Shouldn’t Compare Your Financial Position to Others

Humans have a natural impulse to compare themselves to others. When children are young, you’ll often see them comparing their toys to ones that a friend has. Adolescents often want to wear the same brand of clothing or have the same technology that their peers do. It’s not surprising, then, that this type of comparison continues into adulthood. However, comparisons like this can distract you from your goals and make you feel discontent, so there are several reasons why you shouldn’t compare your financial position to others.

1. Comparison Might Lead you Away from Your Calling

There’s no question that teachers have lower salaries than doctors. However, if you want to spend your days with students, becoming a doctor will most likely not improve your quality of life, even if you have a higher salary. Comparing yourself to others may prevent you from staying in touch with your unique gifts, talents, and purpose. Instead of looking to others for guidance about major life choices, look within to determine the choices that are right for you. That goes for your financial life as well. Focus your attention on your own situation rather than imitating the lives of others.

2. You May Not be Seeing the Whole Picture

Generational wealth is real, and it’s not often discussed openly. While you may wonder how your friends afford expensive houses and vehicles, you may not see the trust fund, annuity, or inheritance that allows them to make those purchases. Focus on what’s right for you, and don’t try to imitate the spending of others, even if you think they’re in your income bracket. They may have resources you’re unaware of.

3. Debt is Invisible

Debt often functions invisibly, and its presence can skew our perception of others’ finances. High credit card limits allow users to purchase items without having the necessary money in their accounts. However, items bought with credit aren’t marked with a special red sticker. While you may see expensive vacations, new clothes, and cutting-edge technology, you may not see the pile of credit card statements on the dining room table or the declining credit score.

4. Comparison is the Thief of Joy

This old adage is deeply true. This saying sticks around because keeping your eyes on someone else’s progress keeps you from focusing on your own. If your mind is distracted by thoughts of inadequacy or jealousy, you may not notice the charms of your own life. You never really know someone else’s situation, so don’t compare someone else’s highlight reel to your everyday experience. Cultivate gratitude and focus on your goals to keep envy at bay. 

Let SageSpring Wealth Partners Help You Determine Your Personal Financial Goals

Fixating on someone’s brand new remodeled kitchen may distract you from your goal of paying off your student loans. While new projects and purchases are exciting, they aren’t as satisfying as identifying, pursuing, and meeting your personalized financial goals, like owning a home or saving for retirement. If you’re not sure what your financial goals are, meet with a SageSpring financial advisor. We work with our clients to answer questions, discern financial goals, and plan for the future.

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Jeffrey T. Dobyns


President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS 

Jeffrey T. Dobyns

President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS

Beyond crunching numbers and investment strategies, at SageSpring, we’re about building relationships. When you encounter Founder & President of SageSpring, Jeff Dobyns, it’s easy to understand why this is at the very heart of who we are as a firm. You won’t find stuffy formalities with Jeff; instead, you can expect to find him sharing a warm smile, communicating a compelling vision, or patiently untangling life’s complex challenges with clients. He believes in truly getting to know clients, understanding their aspirations and priorities, and navigating their financial plans with a tailored, comprehensive approach. Our team members have often been caught taking notes on Jeff’s effortless relationship skills from a distance, and we admire them for striving to learn from one of the best. 

Jeff’s financial expertise and wisdom are the perfect match to his innate people skills. Jeff holds the prestigious CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification, Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChLU®) designations, and has held executive positions with financial planning firms for more than two decades. 

His dedication extends beyond the office to the boardroom and the local community, where Jeff is passionate about giving back. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Men of Valor, a prison ministry and mentoring program. Jeff also serves on the board of Send Musicians to Prison, which shares hope, healing and restoration with the imprisoned through musicians & artists. Jeff actively supports other initiatives in the community by sitting on the board of The Signatry of Middle Tennessee and the Halftime Institute of Nashville. 

Witnessing his four children, Gracyn, Hunter, Tanner, and Logan, excel on the field is almost just as rewarding, if not more, than celebrating the victories of seeing his clients overcome obstacles and build wealth. Spending weekends boating on the lake, hiking mountain trails, and fishing with his family are the moments Jeff cherishes most. It’s this grounded perspective that reveals the true meaning of wealth for Jeff: not just numbers on a page, but the freedom to create experiences that enrich your life and the lives of those you love. When you choose the Dobyns McMillin Wealth Team, you choose more than financial expertise. You choose a partner who champions your dreams, celebrates your victories, and walks besides you on the path to achieving your unique goals.

**Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.