You are your only financial measuring stick

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, you’re the only financial measuring stick worth comparing against.

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Rolled up banknotes in soil to symbolise wealth growth and dividencs

I think the only person worth comparing yourself against is you.

It doesn’t matter if someone else has achieved more financial success than you or indeed less financial success than you. Using energy to compare yourself isn’t useful in any way in my opinion.

The only thing you should compare yourself against is whether you’re in a better financial place than a year ago, or even last month. And it only matters what you think about how you’re going.

It doesn’t matter what your neighbour has, it doesn’t matter what your best friend has, it doesn’t matter what your family are doing. It doesn’t matter how many times they go to a Crown Resorts Ltd (ASX: CWN) hotel, fly via Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) to an exotic destination or how often they go shopping to a Scentre Group (ASX: SCG) centre.

I believe the only thing that truly matters is whether you get personal fulfillment out of your life, and your close family’s life.

How much progress you’ve made with your own life is the best measure. When you compare against other people you might be doing yourself a disservice. Maybe their family helped them out, maybe you’ve been unlucky with health issues, maybe they have better genes, or maybe they’ve just been lucky. Trying to keep up with the Joneses could be a bad idea, you could go broke trying to look rich. 

For example, half of the famous and rich people we know had a helping hand of some sort. That’s not to say they haven’t worked extremely hard, and many of them are talented at what they do, but something has helped them have the good foundations to go after their goals. Warren Buffett’s father was a congressman. Taylor Swift received a lot of family support (with money) to become a famous musician. Donald Trump’s father was a huge property developer and gave him a large loan.  

I’m not trying to take away from their success, but don’t be harsh on yourself either. The only comparison that’s fair is you.

If you said you’d be exactly the same person with the same finances in a decade from now, you’d probably be disappointed. Your improvements up until now have been down to your efforts, so keep it up!

What to do now?

One of the best ways to measure and motivate yourself is to track it. Start today. Particularly something like your net worth or weight if it’s a goal. Be honest with yourself, the numbers are just the facts – they don’t lie.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Crown Resorts Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Scentre Group. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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