Are You Keeping Up with the Joneses?

One of the best things I was exposed to at my previous job was a behavioral science department. Behavioral science? I had never heard of such a thing. Our behavioral science department studied individual's habits with money. This included how they felt and thought about money, what their actions were around money, and ultimately what worked and what didn't around financial education. 

What they found out was typically the more people earned, the more they spent, and the more likely they were to get into debt. 

Sound like you? 

Do you ever think "If I just had more money I'd feel okay?"

Well, funny thing is, science says you wouldn't!

Why? You increase your lifestyle. You think surely you are making enough to pay your debts AND upgrade your life. However, it doesn't quite work like that. What typically happens is you upgrade your life and you ignore your debt or think you do not have to deal with it because of the increase in lifestyle. You think you can cover all your bases. After the debt has been ignored, it piles up, and becomes overwhelming. 

The second reason is the the more you earn the more you think you should have your life together. You think to yourself "there is no way someone with my income doesn't know what to do with their money." See the cycle in action? Earn more, more debt, no financial help, repeat. 

Here's one thing I want to be very clear on... your intelligence and your financial literacy are not related. It is entirely possible that you are brilliant yet do not know the first thing about your finances. In In fact, science says that it's more likely than not. Do not get caught up in the myth that you are not intelligent if you don't know how to handle your money. You just have never been taught. 

So, if you've found yourself unintentionally keeping up with the Joneses, I don't blame you. Come talk to me.