We all have different aspirations in life. From career goals to family values, our motivations vary, and can change throughout our lives. But in the growing world of technology and social media, it can be hard not to compare our achievements and wealth with those of others. Making comparisons is normal, and it’s not wrong to want to boost your bank balance. But social comparisons based on wealth can hurt our financial wellbeing and overall life satisfaction.1
There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to financial contentment. Here are a few approaches you might want to consider when trying to find peace with your financial status.
Spend less time on social media
From a new car to family holidays and fancy dinners, we only see what people want us to see online. This might cause unhappiness if we constantly see others leading what we perceive to be a more luxurious life than our own. Take action and remove yourself from social media pages and accounts that cause you to feel distress or unhappiness with your financial situation. Also remember that what we see online isn’t always real. So, if you’re scrolling social and yearning for someone else’s way of life, remember things may not always be as they seem.
Social media can be a great way to stay connected with family and friends, so it’s unrealistic that you’ll avoid it entirely. But spending less time online and avoiding those accounts that trigger negative comparisons, might be helpful to finding your own peace of mind.
Swap negative comparisons for positive ones
It’s normal to compare ourselves to others – we’re only human after all. While we can’t stop these instincts, we can substitute negative comparisons for positive ones.2 Rather than comparing ourselves to someone whose wealth seems out of reach, look for a more attainable role model.
Find someone similar to you who lives locally, is roughly the same age and whose success you think you can achieve. When it comes to financial decisions, think about what that person would think and do. If you can adopt this mindset and work towards achievable, realistic goals, this could help you to feel more comfortable with your financial status.
Consider a financial adviser
Financial advisers are experts in their fields. They can help provide you with reassurance about your finances – and work towards improving them. Our research found that people who currently or have previously used a financial adviser, felt more joy, satisfaction and peace with respect to their finances.3
While an adviser can’t guarantee to make your investments rise, their support might give you that confidence boost you need when it comes to money management. You can find an adviser on MoneyHelper – there’s likely to be a cost for financial advice.
Remember that times of adversity are to be expected
While noting down your progress is important, it’s also crucial to remember there might be times where your financial status isn’t always on an upward track. This is normal and happens to many of us. Over the course of your life, you’re likely to face:
- Financial crises (markets will go down)
- Economic crises (many people might lose their jobs)
- Personal crises (divorce, redundancy, illness etc)
- Other crises (for example of political or public health nature, etc)
If you find yourself in one or more of these scenarios, remember that you won’t be the only one experiencing this, and that you’re not alone.
Learn to make the most of the money you have in these times. Do things you enjoy as a reminder that you can still have fun, even with slightly less in the bank. You can find more information on surviving a crisis and beating investment panic in our Financial wellbeing flipbook.
Look at how far you’ve come
1 in 5 of us compare our financial situation to those better off than us – regardless of how much we earn.3 But have you stopped and looked back at how far you’ve come? Reflecting on an earlier time – maybe when you just left school or were heavily in debt – can be a good way to recognise the progress you’ve made.
Are you earning more money than a few years ago, or simply saving more than you used to? Have you put down a deposit for a house or made a significant purchase? No matter how small, noting down your progress and accomplishments will give you something to reflect on in moments where you find yourself unhappy with your finances.
Gratitude is also an important factor in finding financial peace. While we’re constantly comparing upwards, have you ever stopped to think about how much better off you might be than others? Keeping a ‘gratitude journal’ is a good way to recognise all the good in your life and has been proven to increase optimism levels.4
Find peace to enjoy the present
There’s nothing wrong with wanting more in life, and it’s healthy to have attainable goals. But don’t let this stop you from appreciating what you have in the present. It’s easier to change a habit than to stop it entirely. Take small actions to improve your mindset over time, and you could find peace with your financial status.