Turning Financial Envy into Inspiration


I think all of us have been guilty of financial envy at one time or another. “I wish I could afford a car like that” or “I wish we could live in a house like theirs.” It’s not as much of “Keeping up the Joneses” as it is simply envying the Joneses. If I see someone driving down the road in a new BMW I don’t run out and buy one to keep up with them, but sometimes I secretly wish I had one of my own.

Growing up and being poor or middle class can often lead to envy for those who are “rich,” “well off,” or “wealthy.” (I put those terms in quotes because they are relative.) And envy isn’t a positive


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8 Responses to Turning Financial Envy into Inspiration

  1. Mike says:

    Rest assured many people bought those luxury items with their home equity….believe it or not!

  2. fathersez says:

    We are all entitled to envy others, so long as we do not wish that they did not deserve whatever is it that we envy.

    I think we need not try to figure out how they got the thingies.

    Just smile and follow your formula.


  3. Chris says:

    “We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.” ~Donald Horban

  4. SMB says:

    Who is Donald Horban? I’ve googled him, but all I come up with are quotes.

  5. Eleanor says:

    I guess that I never get jealous of other people and their stuff is because I know that all things have a price. Everthing has some kind of trade-off. A friend of mine has a really nice luxury car, but she works two jobs to pay for it. Another friend has a really big house, but she pays more than $10,000 per year in taxes on it. She has to work a very stressful job in order to just pay the taxes on it. Another friend wears $300 shoes, but she has no retirement savings.

    All of them made choices about how they wanted to use their life’s energy and it is a choice. But a price is always paid for it.

  6. baselle says:

    Envy is so corrosive. You really can’t be just a little envious – you’re either not envious or very envious. Worse, envy means that you are thinking about others in situations where you should be thinking about yourself. Its great that you are inspired as long as you stay that way, even during tough times.

    Schaudenfreude, on the other hand, is a pleasure we can all enjoy, 😀

  7. tom kumpf says:

    thoreau said ” a man is wealthy in direct proportion to the number of things he can leave alone

  8. Jason says:

    I think the comment about everything coming at a price is a little naive and just a way of rationalizing envy. I mean, some jobs are just better than others. There is no more stress being a dermatologist than being that dermatologist’s assistant nurse, yet the dermatologist goes home earlier, makes 10 times as much, and can afford more things. (Sure, there was extra school, but the opportunity cost is not enough to offset the huge difference in pay later.) I guess I’m trying to say that some people just get lucky or make better choices, and there is no “price” paid for that. People that are smarter or invest their money better than others are not paying an extra price. If you teach your kids to value education, rather than squandering it, and to think critically about the choices they make, then their success will come at no additional cost.

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