Working Wealthy – How Do I Compare?

March 17, 2020

The aspect of my job I enjoy the most is the opportunity to work with so many different people and their personal financial planning. Each client has a totally unique background, personal experience and path.

But there is one common thread that weaves through all of my interactions.

Whether it gets asked or remains unspoken, almost everyone wants to know how they’re doing.

If you’ve never wondered this, you’re lucky. Stop reading now and enjoy the rest of your morning.

Human beings, and especially those motivated by achievements, goals, providing for others or personal growth, naturally want to know how they compare to others.

While we may not want to admit we seek affirmation of this, I’m always careful how I answer the question when it’s posed to me.

Here are a few ideas to consider the next time it crosses your mind.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! – We all start off in different ways.
Some of us came from the same city or town or attended the same school or university, but that really doesn’t mean much for the sake of comparison.
I’m in that stage of life where I compare myself to every other parent I see that has a 3 or 6-year-old—and then drive myself nuts comparing my parenting to theirs.
Try to avoid confusing shared characteristics with an appropriate comparison. Having common backgrounds and assuming this means two people are the same is like assuming everyone from Ohio cheers for Ohio State.

While it may be true for some, it’s likely not the case for most.

The Road Less Traveled – The path we take in life means a lot to where we end up.

But again, even if that path is similar, it doesn’t mean the outcomes will be the same. Perhaps someone attended the same law school, joined a similarly sized firm but took two years longer to become a partner than their comparative peer.

The knee jerk reaction would be to assume one lawyer performed better than the other and rose faster.

False.

While the paths were similar, they could have been impacted by all types of factors like the type of law being practiced, opportunities provided by senior partners, personal drive or work ethic.

The path all of us take might be like others but is never the same.

Don’t Make Assumptions – I’m terrible when it comes to this one.

When you hear that a colleague at work goes on vacation 3 times per year and you only go once, the immediate assumption might be that your colleague is doing better than you.

Unless you know exactly how your colleague takes their trips or whether they have help from other family members in funding those vacations, you’re chasing a dangerous thought process. Try to avoid it.

Nick Cosky, CFP® is a Wealth Manager and Owner at BDF and is responsible for educating and introducing prospective clients that are considering hiring BDF for their wealth management needs. In previous roles, Nick has served as the head of BDF’s Financial Planning Committee and has participated on the Business Owner Team and Women’s Service Team. Nick is passionate about the planning that BDF does for its clients and enjoys every aspect of the client-advisor relationship. Nick graduated from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and English. He is a CFP® professional and is a member of the Auxiliary Board at the Art Institute of Chicago.