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dangerous comparisons

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Does anyone else compare their income to their friends?

my friends make more money than I do…

I just got off the phone with one of my closest friends. I guessed that she earned more than me these days because of the industry that she’s in and because she lives in London, but I didn’t realise it was as much as £10k more. She and her boyfriend are looking at buying a house and with some help from her mum, their budget is about three times as much as my house cost me.

I have to admit that I’m jealous.

I’m pretty certain that I’m not doing as well in the income stakes as many people I know. One of my other friends who is about 3 years older than me makes about £15k more than me. A guy I went to university with earns about twice as much as I do.

…but this is not really important

I’ve just accepted a new job, and it comes with a pay cut on paper. The overall package is actually very slightly better than my current overall package, and I even managed to negotiate the starting salary up by £1k (I knew in advance that there wasn’t going to be much wiggle room). But, when I was deciding whether or not to take this job the money was to a certain extent irrelevant because it was much more important that I choose the job that I thought would make me happy.

The only way I can do that is by keeping my spending as under control as possible. I’ve experienced a reasonable amount of lifestyle inflation since graduating. My spending has grown about 3% above inflation since I started my first graduate job, mostly because I’ve moved from a rented 2 bed flatshare to a 2 bedroom house owned and occupied by me alone.

Money isn’t everything, but keeping income and expenditure in balance is pretty important. Do that and you can build wealth, and happiness if you like, eventually.

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7 comments for “dangerous comparisons”

  1. Hey, congrats on the new job!

    Posted by guinness416 | April 3, 2009, 1:33 am
  2. ooh congrats on the job!
    I so agree about comparing; several of my friends opted to move into medicine after our undergrad, there is no comparison between our salaries; but I’m much happier never having to work a night shift!

    Posted by Looby | April 3, 2009, 4:37 am
  3. Nothing wrong with lifestyle inflation, as long as you are not robbing your future to pay for current spending.

    More info about the new job?

    Posted by Shadox | April 3, 2009, 11:08 am
  4. hi:) well, most of my friends earn more than I do or that my husband and I do combined but I watch them blowing it on huge houses and expensive restaurants and silly cars, and I think, I am happy and well adjusted enough not to blow half my salary at the mall each week, and then my jealousy dissipates. Don’t you think it’s lame that people post pictures of their CARS on social networking sites? tragic.

    Posted by neimanmarxist | April 3, 2009, 12:21 pm
  5. @Shadox:
    The new job is similar to paid blogging. It’s a proper career change.

    Posted by plonkee | April 3, 2009, 6:53 pm
  6. Good work on getting the new job…especially in this demented economy!

    IMHO, it’s far more important to have a job you enjoy (or at least one that doesn’t make you wince) than it is to make a ton of money. That’s assumes you’re earning enough to put food on the table.

    I think people are more likely to earn good money, over they long run, when they like their work. If you enjoy an activity, you excel at it. And for everything anyone does well, there’s someone who will pay for it. They pay more for the best.

    Posted by Funny about Money | April 4, 2009, 3:25 am
  7. Congratulations on the new job – have fun!!!

    Posted by Cathy @ Chief Family Officer | April 7, 2009, 4:21 am

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