Monday, February 26, 2007
Keeping Up With the Jones - A Middle Class Rant II
You know what? I hate the Jones. But you know who I hate even more? People who try to keep up with them. The concept of keeping up with the Jones crosses all socio-economic groups of our North American society, it’s not just a problem within the middle class. It seems to be part of our culture in North America to compare ourselves against others in our socio-economic class. Don’t believe me? Well if you live in a middle class neighbourhood you compare yourself to your neighbours (things they own, what their yard looks like, what trips they’ve been on, what kind of cars they drive, how nice their kids camp was etc…). These same problems are also prevalent in lower class, upper class and ultra-upper class neighbourhoods. I have a friend who is a multimillionaire, he’s never not been a millionaire, as his father hasn’t made any less than 2 million dollars a year for the last 30 years (I could live comfortably for the rest of my life if I sold either my friends or his parents cottage). You would think with money like that they’d be happy, but the truth is they are probably one of the most miserable bunch of people I know. My friends’ house is beautiful but there are nicer houses on the street with better cars in their driveways (one actually has a helicopter landing pad). Instead of being happy with what he has he’s jealous of some of the neighbours and is constantly trying to keep up with them. On the other side of the coin I have friends that are in the lower socio-economic class who think that $20 an hour is a really good paying job, and they are completely happy and satisfied with their used Caravan…but… they too try to keep up with the Jones (who were able to send their kid to camp this year). So… the whole point of this rant is STOP TRYING TO KEEP UP WITH THE JONES because just as you think you’ve caught the Jones there is always another “Jones” family waiting to appear…so…sit down and really think about what will make you happy, and what you really need or want in your life. Once you figure out what you want, figure out how much that is going to cost you each year, and make a plan to get there.