Mar 3, 2023
You are only competing with yourself
It’s human nature to compare ourselves with others, but when it comes to money issues, remember that your financial plan is designed for you and nobody else.
When investing or trying to stick to a financial plan, it’s hard not to fall into the “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality. There is always someone who picked this amazing stock, made more money or found some amazing opportunity. However, don’t forget that someone else’s objectives may be vastly different than what you are trying to achieve. It’s important to have the right tools and mindset for handling these situations. Perhaps your curiosity about what they are doing will lead you to become better educated about it, or maybe you need to tune out the noise and stick with what works for you.
The same is true for a running or fitness routine. There is always someone who is faster, stronger and hitting PBs (personal bests). It’s hard for me not to wonder, “What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I achieve that pace, lift that weight or hit that new record?”
And it’s because my plan is not the same as theirs. Maybe they’ve been training longer, maybe they have a coach or maybe they focus on strength while I focus on speed, or vice versa.
This, again, is where having a personalized plan in place can really help you stay on track. If my plan for this month states that I should run an average of 20 miles and do two cross-training sessions per week, I need to stick to this plan to see the results I want. If I try to accomplish more or do something different, I run the risk of becoming injured or focusing too much on something.
The same is true for personal finance. Let’s say your plan indicates you should save $1,000 a month and put it into a diversified portfolio. If you rashly decide to pivot and speculate on cryptocurrency or real estate, be prepared to understand what that could mean for your financial plan. Are you knowledgeable and experienced enough to make the right decision? Will it take you off track if it doesn’t go well? What will it mean for your plan if it actually does go well?
I’m a big believer in having your actions help you first meet your initial goal, be it retiring by age 55, buying a second home or some other objective. In terms of fitness, do what needs to be done to run that first marathon. Once you’re in a position to retire at 55 or finish that marathon, then look at what else you can do next.
With personal finance and personal fitness, you are competing against only one person: you. Stick to your plan, and don’t worry about what your neighbor is investing in or what time she is running her mile in. Focus on what you can (and should) do, and be disciplined enough to keep going.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Abigail Rosen, MS Financial Planning
Abigail (Abby) Rosen is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional with over 17 years of experience in the financial industry. Prior to her career in finance, Abby was an officer in the United States Navy. Abby is responsible for managing client relationships and coordinating all aspects of client service for the team. Abby specializes in working with corporate executives to help them take full advantage of their available benefits, implement in respect to employer stock concentrations and manage their stock option strategies. She has a designation in Global Financial Planning.
She graduated with a Bachelors of Arts from the College of the Holy Cross, and received a Master of Science (distinction) in Financial Planning from Bentley University. She was 2020 Citizen of the Year for her work as Treasurer of the New Jersey Psychological Association, Foundation, is Treasurer of the Harding Township Educational Foundation (HTEF) and a Girl Scout Troop Leader.
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