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What If People Knew How Much Debt You Have?

What if people knew how much debt you have? How would that change your actions?

It’s funny isn’t it, we are always trying to keep up with the Joneses. Our neighbors have nice cars, beautiful homes and go on luxurious vacations… and we are jealous.

We wish we could keep up with them, we wish we had more money or were paid a better salary. But, what if you knew how much debt someone had?

Would things be different?

If you knew how much debt people were carrying, you might think twice about wishing their lifestyle on yourself. Sure, they go on three vacations per year, but they also have $50,000 of personal debt looming over their head.

Doesn’t seem so glamorous now does it?

It’s easy to compare the material things in our life with our friends, co-workers, and neighbors; and we do so without knowing any other circumstances in their life. We do this because it is far easier to compare something that we can see. But that doesn’t mean their life is any better than yours (or any worse, for that matter)! They might have a nice car, but they may have difficulties falling asleep every night because they aren’t sure if they will be able to make their next payment.

So before you rush and jump to conclusions sit back and think about how they might be funding their lifestyle, it may not be what you expect.

Then, take a step back and think bout how your lifestyle is perceived by others.

Are you one of the people that tries to imply you live a life of luxury when in fact you have thousands of dollars in debt? Start aggressively attacking your debt, so that you don’t end up in a position where you really can’t afford your lifestyle. Cut back on your expenses, and get to a point where you are living comfortably but not excessively. You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone with the house you own and the shoes you wear.

At the end of the day, it is going to be you and your bank account.

It doesn’t matter how many people you impress with your extravagant things, you are going to have to pay the piper eventually…. and where will all those people that you impressed be then? They probably won’t be standing beside you helping you come to terms with your debt load.

So take a step back and think, before you buy. What if people knew how much debt you have? Would they be surprised?

About the Author

Janine Eccleston

Janine is a tax specialist and personal finance blogger for Calgary, AB. She is actively pursuing her CPA designation while fighting her way to financial freedom. She is the Vice-President External for the not-for-profit Her Success and enjoys sharing her financial knowledge with her peers. When she is not at work or studying Janine enjoys traveling, baking, yoga and ending off the day with a glass of wine.