plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

March 26, 2009

keeping down the Smiths

Filed under: Uncategorized — plonkee @ 2:03 pm

Less worry about what other people are doing.

If there’s one thing that’s more foolish than attempting to keep up with the Joneses, it’s trying to make sure that the Smiths can’t keep up with you.

I was out at dinner last night, and the conversation turned to my least favourite subject – immigrants are stealing all our benefits money. My sole contribution was to point out that born and bred Brits also make false benefit claims, and given that they are the vast majority of the population, they probably form the bigger problem.

Everyone was excised that if they had savings, they wouldn’t be able to get government help. And that it wasn’t fair that some people got more money than them. Whilst I get the point and don’t like people committing fraud either, I wasn’t happy with the conversation at all.

Seriously folks, life isn’t fair. There will probably always be people richer than you, and poorer than you. Instead of wondering how Ms Jones manages to afford a Mercedes and a luxury holiday, or worse, how to stop Mr Smith’s kids from getting free lunches at school, why not just practice sensible personal finance?

Spend less than you earn, save and invest the difference. Do things that contribute to your own happiness. Look after your health. Spend time with friends and family. Exercise your mind.

Quit worrying that benefit thieves are making off with all the money unless you either (a) have specific examples in mind and are willing to shop them, or (b) are about to vote in an election and this is the most important issue in the world to you.

Worry is bad for you, limit your worry to things that will affect you that you can do something about, and leave the rest well alone.

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