Personal Finance

Impressing Others: Why Americans Are Broke

impressing others

Too many Americans are broke because they spend too much money in their quest of impressing others. That is a bold statement, I know, but I also seen this done time and time again in my lifetime.

A Little Background Why I Wrote This Post

Last Friday after work, I walked to my car in the parking lot. Parked next to me was my coworker in a car that was not his normal car.

I started thinking about what could have happened: Did he borrow someone else’s car because he’s having problem with his normal car? Did he rent the car? Well, my coworker saw me looking weirdly at him and called me over. Then he told me he got a new car.

Now my coworkers know my feelings about spending money all willy nilly, so my coworker tried to explain his purchase. He bought a used 2011 BMW sedan with leather interior. I didn’t ask him how much it cost because it’s none of my business, and he didn’t tell me. All I told my coworker was to not complain about money in the future.

I said this because I know why he traded in his Toyota Corolla for a sleek BMW. It’s the same reason he moved out of a shared apartment into his own private apartment: He wants to “live” but really he wants to show off his access to money. Thus, this leads to impressing others.

Why Impressing Others Is Bad

Too many Americans want to be rich, spend the money to look like they’re rich, but are drowning in debt (and probably won’t be rich for that reason).

When you go down this route, your mindset changes from living frugally and creating wealth to spending lavishly and obtaining debt. Too many Americans do not realize how much money (but really debt) they spend to look good toward others. They buy more house than they can really afford, do the same buying a car, go shopping for the latest fashion, eat out all the time, and buy the newest electronics / gadgets.

What eventually happens is this facade decays or totally crumbles when a person loses their job, has their hours cut, or their sources of credit dries up. Instead of impressing others, those individuals depress others by their constant complaining and negative attitude.

Ways To Avoid The Trap Of Impressing Others (Or Escape From It)

I’ve talked about this before on my blog, but you must protect yourself from Lifestyle Creep at all costs. If you can stop yourself from wanting more and more as your income increases, you will not have the urge to spend money in the quest of impressing people.

Learn to be comfortable in what you have. You will see people all around you (be it family, friends, coworkers, etc.) buying new things. That can prompt you to want to upgrade too. Fight that urge! Look at the things you already have: Your house / apartment, your car, your phone, whatever it is and see how it still works. I’ve had three different people ask me within the last month when I was going to get a new car. There’s nothing wrong with my car but I’ve had it for nearly 8 years now. Some people think I need to upgrade.

Finally, if you are in that trap of impressing others, unfortunately, you need to sit down and really think about why you seek admiration from others. Do you have low self-esteem or self-worth? Is there a void in your life? This part may require the help of a therapist, so seek one if needed.

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