Key steps to breaking away from the 'keeping up with the Jonses' syndrome

The Financial Folly of Following the Crowd

by Karen Kuebler

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How often do we find ourselves lured into the latest and greatest technology, attracted to the newest fashions, coaxed by a shopping partner to buy something, or heaven forbid, watching a home shopping channel? Believe me, I understand and live through all of these temptations! My sister gets the greatest buys from QVC and I love seeing her latest acquisitions. When nothing else is on TV, our channel often goes to QVC. And so it goes. We are all continually tempted by the barrage of shopping opportunities.

Years ago, my husband and I went antiquing with some friends whenever we visited, at least twice a year. A pattern developed. We always bought more antiques when we were with them than when we shopped alone. They were collectors and had inherited a good sum of money, so when they found something they liked, they bought it.

It was like gold fever! It was catchy. We came home from multiple visits with a wide variety of purchases. We commented and laughed about the situation with our friends, saying they were a bad influence on us because we spent money too easily when we were together. We simply were not in the position to make these purchases without serious consequences.

My husband and I were caught up in the classic "keeping up with the Joneses" syndrome without realizing it. This is a subtle "disease" because of its' insidious nature. The seeds are planted in our thoughts and feelings, and spread until it infects our physical assets. If serious enough, it can bring down your "financial house." Left uncontrolled and untreated, the infection will spread and kill any opportunity to achieve financial success and independence.

The following are key steps that I took to break away from "keeping up with the Joneses" syndrome:

  • Get in touch with what you really want. Make your decisions and choices based on what is important to you, not based on the opinions of others.
  • Replace self-defeating behaviors with positive alternatives. Examine your life and determine what behaviors hinder progress. We frequently do things that are at cross-purposes with what we really want. How often do we find ourselves watching too much television, sitting comfortably in our favorite chair too long, or stuck on our computer far past the time we should have gone to sleep? You'll find yourself making huge strides toward your goals by identifying self-destructive behaviors and replacing with positive activities.
  • Related: How to Break Bad Financial Habits

  • Set goals that serve as your roadmap to financial success. Once you've determined what you want to achieve, set your will to stay the course. Don't be deterred by what others might say, do, or think about you. When you reach your destination, how much will it matter what others may have thought?
  • Learn new ways of doing things. If you need to make significant changes in your life, it's never too late to learn. A wealth of resources is available to help you change dysfunctional behaviors. Search the Internet on subjects related to saving money and you'll have enough reading material to last the rest of your life! Find role models that have achieved what you want and ask lots of questions. What were the most important keys to their accomplishments? Successful people believe that there is abundance in this world to share and want to see others also thrive. Ask questions from every person you come in contact with who has knowledge or expertise in an area you want to learn more about. Read biographies and autobiographies of people you admire and make notes of the steps they took to achieve success. Their achievements might not be related to money, but you will grow by gleaning information from a variety of resourceful people who have accomplished their dreams.
  • Are you one of the many people heading for debt trouble without knowing it? This simple checklist can help you find out and tell you how to avoid it.

  • Be determined, remain strong, and be proud of the "new" you. It will require commitment and dedication on your part to stay the course to achieve your goals. Don't allow yourself to be affected by outside influences. Remind yourself daily by verbally stating your goals, creating visuals of your desired outcomes, putting your expected results in writing, and rewarding your successes along the way.

Set your resolve so deeply that your desired outcomes become a passion and you will invite those results into your life. You have the power within you to manifest whatever you want!

Updated February 2015

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