COLUMN: Don’t let social media glitz deter you from making sound financial decisions

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Not to wax all Dickens on you, but there is certainly something that rings very true to the opening words of The Tale of Two Cities:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.”

When you look around in 2022, it’s hard not to relate to what Dickens was feeling when he wrote this novel in the setting of the French Revolution.

We have more amenities than most of us ever thought possible. Every ounce of information at our fingertips. Cars that drive/park themselves. Food that shows up at your doorstep. Easily accomplished travel to faraway places. Remote work opportunities. This list goes on.

But with it all comes a daily deluge of tweets, chats, pics and views into the lives of others. Or at least the lives they choose to portray and show us.

When working on yourself, your finances, and your financial planning, it is all too easy to feel that you aren’t measuring up to all the “successful” people you see on social media. We see clients fall prey to this and it starts to negatively affect them in several ways.

To combat that, here’s a few things to keep in mind about it all.

First, very little is as it seems. The glam and success you are seeing on the Facechat Ticky-Tock, is, very often, nonsense. Picture Matthew McConaughey in Wolf of Wall Street when he said “It’s a Fugazi, It’s a wazi, It’s a woozy, It’s fairy dust. It doesn’t exist, it’s never landed, it is no matter, it’s not real!”

Apply this to what you are seeing on social media. Very often it’s fairy dust. It’s not real. Don’t let it deter you from your financial plan or let it make you feel less than.

Toys and glitzy photo ops don’t equate to wealth. To the contrary, the balance sheets of many of these folks are bleeding more than Chuck Wepner against Sonny Liston. Certainly nothing to emulate.

Another thing to keep in mind is not everyone has had the same opportunities or starting points. Some are born on third base and think they hit a triple.

Comparing yourself to those that inherited generational wealth serves no value for you. That is their journey. You do you.

Focus on your goals and your fundamentals. Save first, spend second. Save until it hurts. Establish that emergency fund. Fully fund your workplace retirement plan.

A few dollars left over? Put it in an individual investment account and systematically add to it.

Think of your finances no differently than a fitness plan. Nothing happens overnight. It takes repeated, systematic, quality investments over a long period of time to see real results.

In fitness, there is always going to be someone faster and stronger than you. Does that diminish the improvements and gains you’ve made personally? Of course not.

The same goes for your finances. Stay in your own lane and keep your focus on you and your immediate family. Blinders on, keep grinding.

Long term, your wealth and your physical and mental health, will be better for it.

NOTE: Original content provided by Gregory Mattacola, Esq., financial adviser at Strategic Financial Services. Content is provided for educational purposes only and should not be used as the basis upon which to make investment or financial decisions. Investments involve risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed.  Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

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