What if your family is the Joneses?


You’re doing what?

On Monday, my hubby wrote about the steps that we have taken to cut cable in our house. A couple of weeks back, I shared with my mom that we were cutting our cable and a few hours later, she took me aside to ask if we were having money troubles. I said, “Why would you think we have money troubles?” She said that because we mentioned we were cutting cable. And I laughed for about five minutes. It’s funny to think that we were making a financially responsible choice to lower our monthly bills and yet, my mom viewed us as having financial troubles. After all, how can she brag to her friends about how successful her kid is when the kid is cutting off cable?

Family Judgment

My family is not the Jones family by any stretch of the imagination; however, there have definitely been times in my life where the family judged us for some of the financial decisions that we made.

When I had my job in investment banking, my stepfather didn’t understand why I drove a Honda instead of a Lexus.

 We moved into our home two years ago, and it was built in 1985. Although some upgrades have been made, others are on hold until they become a true “need.” Last Thanksgiving, though, I had a few aunts and uncles ask when we planned to update the kitchen or the bathroom. There was definitely judgment as to why we hadn’t made those changes yet.

 My hubby was thinking about trading in his hybrid and getting a cheaper car and his mom was disappointed that he was not getting a “nicer” car.

 What would it be like in the Jones house?

If we faced judgment like this from our non-Jones family, it makes me wonder what it would be like to live a financially responsible lifestyle within the Jones household. Is the level of judgment the same or worse? Even though our families mean well (at least I think they do), they do have a habit of influencing our financial choices similar to our neighbors, the Joneses.

I think whether or not this is your family, it’s important for you to remember that your financial health is more important than any family judgment. If the choices you are making are financially sound and take you and your family closer to your life goals, then it doesn’t matter what anyone says.

It is complicated when you have to face the Joneses for holidays and other family celebrations, but just as you would face any other Jones, hold your head high and know that in the end, you are the smart one in the room for choosing financial health over the opinions of others, even if they are family. I certainly don’t like to be judged, especially by family, but the more I see the financial results of my smart choices, the less I care about the judgment.

Have you felt judged by your family for some of the financially responsible choices you have made?

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.

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