I don’t know about you, but personal finances and investing gets me hyped.
Maybe I’m just a finance nerd or now I’ve just reached some weird adult level where this is what happens.
Either way, there is no denying learning about finances and how you can save more money is extremely important. No matter your age.
It also has so many emotions: confusing, exciting, discouraging, but above all, it is all worth it when you look back at your struggles and see how far you might have come.
Seriously. Only four years ago I had little in my savings, no job (some freelance work at least), some debt, and no real understanding of investing or getting my finances together.
Pretty crazy where life can change.
Yet, when I started taking an interest in late 2014 in personal finance, overwhelmed was probably the best way to describe the feeling. I was also excited but knew there was a lot to understand.
What really kicked the concept of financial freedom in my mind was reading a few personal finance bloggers websites.
And while I only read a few, there are literally thousands of people doing this and in their own way. Yet, when you look at most of the popular ones in this space, the majority are making ridiculous money. Like a year’s salary or more every month!
Not even just that, but many are retired before 30, have million dollar investment portfolios, etc. While super cool and inspiring, it is also easy to get completely discouraged by it.
This happened to me at first, because I thought: “Hell, I’m not even close to that and it doesn’t even seem possible to get halfway to that level.”
Then you potentially feel down on yourself because your struggles and hurdles may be completely different. Or, you feel like you are an outsider looking in because you have so much catching up to do.
It’s easy to throw your hands up and not try because you feel there is no chance you’ll be there. Trust me, I felt that. But, use these bloggers’ success has motivation in your own personal finance journey.
While it may not seem attainable right now, you don’t know where your financial situation will be in a few years after you put forth some effort and ignore the urge to be discouraged.
While I don’t have six-figures saved or invested (I will soon), I thought to have $10,000 was impossible. Then I thought $25,000 was impossible and now I sit here with over $50,000.
If I kept feeling discouraged and decided to not care or try, I would probably still be sitting with no money invested and maybe my career would not have turned out the way it has. Who knows.
So if you are a newbie to personal finances or looking to learn more, do not compare yourself to others. Here’s why you shouldn’t.
Comparing yourself to other financial bloggers or people who are on a personal finance journey can be discouraging
I’ve already mentioned this above but if you start comparing yourself too much to others, you can feel discouraged. Thoughts of “Why bother,” “I wish,” “Must be nice,” or “That’ll never be me” will get in your head and potentially make you not try.
It’s easy and common to have these thoughts when you see others are crushing it.
But a lot of times, you don’t see all the hard work or even their full backstory. You are reading about them in the present when they have high net worth’s or invested six-figures, or are retired.
Many have sacrificed a lot of their time for 5+, 10+ years to get where they are. Use that as inspiration, not discouragement.
Everyone’s situation and choices are different, realize the bloggers who have done extremely well are nowhere near the norm
Although many bloggers or writers in personal finance may have done a lot of hard work, their incredible results are not the norm. Of course, hard work, dedication, and making smart money decisions got them where they are, but many of those results–while possible–are much harder than you realize.
Essentially, you are reaching for similar results that have the odds very well stacked against you. And this is not to be negative or create doubt for you. It’s reality. Should this stop you from pursuing a better life, obtaining financial freedom, and have less debt? Hell no.
Also, everyone’s situations are different. The choices we make with money or our careers are different. The timing of all these things is different. These are all aspects you need to keep in mind.
Negative thinking will consume you
Since you may already feel discouraged comparing yourself, a negative mindset may creep in. You may think because you aren’t at a certain level as someone else, that it will ensure you are financially stuck forever.
Being negative about something you are just starting or learning because it seems challenging, will certainly keep you right where you are.
Yet, this negativity doesn’t just apply to your finances as it can consume other aspects of your life. Being negative is easy and it’s something we all do. I’m guilty of it all the time and usually, I don’t even realize it!
Comparing yourself can keep you unhappy, even when you do achieve great things
You’ll always think you aren’t good enough. Remember, someone will always be doing something better than you, it’s the fact of life. Why let that ruin your happiness?
Comparing yourself can constantly be a let down for you, even if you accomplished something great. Maybe you saved 15% of your income this year where you were only 5% before. That’s big, but then a few people you know or other finance bloggers are at 45%. Now you are frustrated again and unhappy with the results.
Of course, you can always strive to get to the next level. But never feel down on yourself or any of your accomplishments, no matter how big or how small.
Making changes in your finances is a big step and one majority of people choose to ignore. Be happy with whatever changes you make, you’re doing it right.
A version of this post was previously published on InvestedWallet and is republished here with permission from the author.
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