July 15, 2024
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‘High potential with my career but it’s just hard to see right now’: I feel behind as my friends buy homes while I struggle to find hope. How do I stop comparing myself?

‘High potential with my career but it’s just hard to see right now’: I feel behind as my friends buy homes while I struggle to find hope. How do I stop comparing myself?

Hi Money Minder

Hey Money Minder,

I’m a 24-year-old guy, and I grew up pretty poor. Right now, I’m working an entry-level job that pays me $50,000 a year. I live with my folks, paying them rent, and I’m in grad school studying accounting. I’ve got $20,000 saved up, $20,000 in student loans, and $14,000 left to pay on my car. My career has a lot of potential, but it’s hard to see that right now.

Most of my friends are nurses or engineers raking in cash, living on their own, had their parents cover their tuition, and are now thinking about buying homes. I haven’t had any of that and can’t shake the feeling like I’m falling behind. I want a partner to share my journey with, but I feel like no one will want to be with me unless I have money. How do I stay focused on my own path and stay hopeful?

Confused and Hopeful

Any advice to boost my spirits and guide me would really help!

Response from THE MONEY MINDER:

"Hello There,"

First, let me congratulate you on the impressive strides you’ve made in your life and career. Growing up in poverty and working your way to a 50k salary while attending grad school is no small feat. You should be immensely proud of your dedication and perseverance.

It’s completely natural to feel a sense of comparison when you see others around you seemingly ahead on the traditional markers of success. First, understand that everyone’s journey is unique, and circumstances vary greatly. The fact that your friends have their educations paid for or landed high-paying jobs earlier on doesn’t diminish the value and potential of your own path. Remember, they had different starting points and resources available to them.

Here’s a practical approach to help you focus on your path and build hope for the future:

  1. Financial Health Check: You’ve already done a great job saving $20k. To alleviate the stress of debt, consider making a budget that allows you to gradually pay down your student loans and car debt. Use your accounting skills to track your expenditures meticulously and look for areas where you can save more or eliminate unnecessary costs.

  2. Career Focus: Completing your accounting degree will open many doors. Accountancy is known for its robust career prospects and potential for significant salary increases. Maintain a positive perspective about the future of your career. Connect with mentors in your field and seek internship opportunities that may offer long-term growth potential.

  3. Comparisons: Acknowledge that comparing yourself to others is a natural human tendency but can often be unproductive. Your friends’ successes do not diminish your own achievements. Focus on your progress, no matter the pace. Every step you take is progress.

  4. Networking: Surround yourself with positive influences and individuals who uplift you. Build a network with like-minded people in your field. Join professional associations for accountants or online forums where you can get advice, resources, and potential job leads.

  5. Personal Growth: Emphasize personal development by acknowledging your accomplishments, however small they may seem. Reflect on how far you’ve come rather than focusing solely on the distance left to cover.

  6. Relationships and Self-worth: It’s important to remember that a lasting relationship is built on mutual respect, shared values, and emotional support, not just financial status. Work on being the best version of yourself and trust that the right person will appreciate you for who you are and what you bring to the table beyond finances.

Finally, give yourself grace. Building a stable and successful life takes time and resilience. You have already shown an immense capacity for hard work and determination. Keep moving forward with confidence in your unique path, and the right opportunities will come your way.

Best of luck with your journey. Stay focused and hopeful.


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