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Mr NRI don’t spend for “Keeping up with the Joneses”

Last week while having dinner with some close friends, conversing and discussing on various topics I stumbled upon a point which I thought I should share with you all.

Actually, my family and I were invited over dinner to a friend’s place after a very long time. We’ve been friends for quite some time now and have seen and known him closely. I was glad to see his warmth and hospitality and also how well he had maintained his life and status.

But amidst all that glitz and sparkle I could sense something else.

When I spoke to him at length he confessed that he really had to do all this to keep up appearances.

That was a moment I could actually relate to “DON’T SEND TO KEEP UP WITH JONESES”.

Keeping up with the Joneses

Let me give to you an explanation of the phrase ‘KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES.”

The philosophy of “keeping up with Joneses” came from The JONESES who represented:

  • Affluence and prosperity.
  • Grand Lifestyle.
  • Big mansions
  • High social connections and relations.

Keeping up with the Joneses is an idiom in many parts of the world that refers to the comparison to one’s neighbor as a benchmark for rich and well-established section of society or their accumulation of material goods.

Check – How Financial Planning for NRIs is different

The situation is more complex for NRIs

To fail to “keep up with the Joneses” is perceived as demonstrating socio-economic or cultural inferiority. This pressure of keeping up appearances often lead to you develop certain traits that can lead NRIs to;

  • Overspending
  • Buying and collecting things that are not of use.
  • Habit of getting validation from people and society and neighbours.
  • Loss of your peace of mind and happiness.

You may also become envious and in this spirit to beat and compete your neighbors you may lose your confidence, happiness, be in constant stress and You may take.

Certain wrong decisions in life may land you in a deep sea of debts and a sugar-coated expenses of EMIs.

I here don’t mean to say that you should not spend or buy things but let me repeat the phrase “DON’T SEND TO KEEP UP WITH JONESES”.

I know that most NRIs are people with enormous means and resources but spending could be irresistible that too when people around live more to add materials than to add Values in life.

The outside influences are always pouring in upon us, and we are always obeying their orders and accepting their verdicts. Well, let me tell you how you spend extravagantly without realising its repercussions.

Read – Easy steps for NRI Retirement Planning

Let us together rethink our basic spending habits and expenditures:

The quality of spending determines the kind of life you lead or shall have in future. 

Below points may look very basic stuff but the thing is – your allocation in each basket will determine your future.

Your Basic spending is:

  • Buying items of basic needs and utilities
    • Grocery items.
    • Mobile bills.
    • Rent.
    • Medical treatments.
  • Time in your family and relationships.
    • Vacations
  • To invest in your future.
    • Insurance & Investment
    • Financial planning.
    • Procurement of property.
    • Retirement schemes.
  • In self-improvement.
    • Yoga and gym
    • Dance and music
    • Learning musical instruments.
    • Extracurricular activities.
  • To keep up appearances.
    • Throwing parties
    • Buying memberships of clubs.
    • Buying cars
    • Branded clothes and accessories.

It is rightly said BEFORE YOU BUY ASK WHY.

Few points NRIs should keep in mind

  • YOUR NEED VS WANT

It’s important to know that whatever you have decided to pick is actually required or it’s just going to be another addition to the stuff of your house.

Impulsive shopping often leads to a collection of unwanted things that eventually leads to clutter.

For example in today’s fast-moving digital world our smartphones are as good as any camera, can’t replace professional cameras though. So one who is fond of photography can probably settle for a decent phone than paying through his nose in a DSLR.

You all must have heard about the movie “Confessions of a Shopaholic” where ideas like “shop till you drop” and “when I shop the world gets better” have been shown in a different light.

The indulgence of the protagonist into shopping drowns her into debts. But fortune favors her and she becomes successful by fluke.  But all of us may not be this lucky.

  • YOUR SPENDING PHILOSOPHY

You all must have heard the term YOLO which means YOU LIVE ONLY ONCE and “youth only comes once”. These are probably two young generation laws that guide you and me perhaps.

We believe in taking life one day at a time.

There is practically nothing wrong with this belief as many youtube videos and bloggers (including me) also advocate the same theory. But somewhere we are probably not able to comprehend the fact that ‘nothing is forever’ and this applies to the youth as well.

You all have the right to get and buy whatever they want but you should learn the importance of “THE NESTED EGGS”.

Crisis and emergencies are inevitable and occur without any warning.

The only thing that can support and save at such crucial juncture is money.

So the youth should be taught the importance of SAVINGS.

  • PEER PRESSURE AND SPENDINGS

As is the case with career so is the case with spending as well.

Young age is quite an impressionable age. The teenagers get impressed and influenced by their company and find spending the most enticing activity. They feel the need to have and carry latest mobile phones, gadgets , Xboxes to name a few.

Bening NRI if they are residents of a country where kids are on their own at an early age they prefer to spend whatever they earn on things which are not of much use. It gives them a sense of contentment which becomes an addiction in the long run.

They are not able to understand that overspending or being extravagant can have serious repercussions in the future.

Too many people are buying things they can’t afford, with money that they don’t have… to impress people that they don’t like!

Will Smith

  • YOUR FEEL GOOD FACTORS; THE DRIVING FORCE

It has been seen and observed in certain cases that spending gives high or kick to many of us.

We may spend to get validation of being economically stable in their society quite like any JONESES who live around us.

Not only spending acts as a defense mechanism to our emotional state, we may equate spending to our emotional well being. When you spend however frivolous it may seem

Spending makes you fill emptiness and sadness.

Spending also helps us to boost our self-esteem and give us a mask of pseudo confidence which is curbs our craving to get importance and recognition as our dear Joneses.

But as rightly said A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE. So if we are frugal, Sensible and strong enough not to fall prey to temptations we can both lead and leave a happy life for our family and kids.

The frugal and thrifty living is not mattered of choice but of wisdom and discretion.

While spending is important but taking professional expertise is more important as it gives person sense of security, support and emotional well being. With a small suggestion and advice of a professional, he not only lives in the present but also keeps himself ready for the future.

I would like to conclude with words said by BENJAMIN FRANKLIN:

“BEWARE OF LITTLE EXPENSES;

A SMALL LEAK WILL SINK

A GREAT SHIP”

I will love to hear your experience in the comment section.

About the Author

Hemant Beniwal is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and his Company Ark Primary Advisors Pvt Ltd is registered as an Investment Adviser with SEBI. Hemant is also a member of the Financial Planning Association, U.S.A and registered as a life planner with Kinder Institute of Life Planning, U.S.A. He started his Financial Planning Practice in 2009 & is among the first generation of financial planners in India. He also authored Bestseller book "Financial Life Planning".

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