We all have those friends on social media. The ones who’s highlight reel is nothing but beautifully angled photos with perfect lighting of their fabulous new renovation, vehicle, or vacation. You know the ones. They are always so #blessed. Let’s call them the Insta-Joneses.

two-tourists-with-dolphin

It’s tempting to get caught up in the comparison game, but are you letting your desire for a “post worthy” life create unwanted risk in the form of debt or rob you of your ability to contribute to investments and accumulate real retirement savings and wealth?

I love social media. It’s a great way to keep up with friends, get ideas, a new recipe, or even express your political woes. You can look up anything in an instant and almost immediately connect with a tribe that has the same interests. With all that information at the swipe of a finger, it stands to reason that it will only improve quality of life. Right?

The truth is, national consumer debt is increasing and retirement investments are dwindling. It seems like the Insta-Joneses are helping spread discontentment while creating a whole new lifestyle standard to live up to.

Don’t I deserve that lifestyle too?

I could look at renovation and design on Instagram FOR HOURS. My husband and I have an old fixer upper home, and I love seeing all the beautiful things that people have done with theirs. There are times though, after scrolling through my feed, that I look up from my phone and I catch myself letting out a sigh of discontentment. Or worse, I feel a surge of entitlement. Don’t I deserve that too? Why should I wait? I find on days where my mindset is less than positive or I feel discouraged, there are a few things I need to remind myself of:

1. These friends or public figures you follow are posting their highlight reels

We can edit, cut and filter our way into showing only the very best part of our lives. We all do it, so keep that in mind.  Also, if we can’t be happy for our friends, we need to examine the quality of our friendships.

2. Overspending is not the answer

The insta-Joneses could have had a great year and are enjoying a well-deserved splurge or they could be making a poor financial choice. You will probably never know the details of their investment choices, and frankly it’s none of your business. Social media has become an inadvertent and very inaccurate measure of wealth in our society. Be careful not to let someone else’s choices influence your own ability to choose well.

3. Everyone has stress

Whether it be relationship, finances, or work stress. We all have bumps in the road. You are not alone in your real world struggles. Thank your lucky stars that not all of your friends share theirs online!

4. If I didn’t work for it I don’t deserve it

If I want a holiday or a luxury item bad enough, I can do what it takes to save for it. Just because someone will loan me the money for something I want doesn’t make it a good choice. Pulling funds from your RRSP investments to get the things you feel like you need right now will cost you much more in the long run in taxes and the opportunity of growth that the investment offered.

5. My goals and priorities may be different

Reminding myself that we have put off home renovations to put more money into investing for the future may not be post worthy, but I know it’s smart. Knowing my goals and how I am going to accomplish them can put a quick end to any feelings of needing to keep up with my friends on social media.

I will readily confess to pressing the unfollow button if someone else’s social media feeds my greed. Sometimes we connect with people online we wouldn’t even know well enough to say hello to in the grocery store.

I know my life is truly blessed and I don’t need a great picture or a hashtag to prove it. So the next time you are spurred on by social media to make a purchase, big or small, consider your plan and the investment you are making.

dolphin-financial-planning