Adam Duritz -- Yeah, he sang Mr. Jones.I don’t like to think of myself as someone who does this sort of thing, but I must admit, I’ve been in a pretty active “lawn-care” competition with the people across the street for a few years now.

Sadly, I’ve been “pwned” in the green lawn department. I just haven’t been able to recover from the damage left by the contractors and it’s driven me crazy.

But I totally destroyed them in the leaf raking department. This year, they tried the mow and mulch method. It was disastrous for them. I’ve tried that method in the past too with limited success… Not sure *what* they were thinking…

In the meantime, we blew all of our leaves into a HUGE pile and had them picked up by a lawn care service. We’re done. They’re not.

So for 2008, I guess we’ll have to call it a draw so far.

In a few more weeks, though, we’ll be right back out on the field, snow shovels in hand, jockeying to have the best cleared driveway…

Of course, all of these actions are more time-oriented rather than finance-oriented…

The reason I bring up “keeping up with the Jones'” today, other than to continue the “Jones” theme I’ve got going this week, is because one of my ‘friends’ on Facebook recently posted some photos of his new house.

He’s a few years younger than I am, living in a more expensive area (Boston — where you can spend twice what I spend on the mortgage to rent a place half the size), he was recently married in a lavish ceremony, and he’s also fresh out of school — he took a number of years off to, um, find himself or something… It involved a lot of skiing — if that means anything.

Anyway, here is the entry way to his “new” house:

Entry room or kitchen?  Maybe both!

I know, it looks more like the kitchen to me too… What’s with the green monolith in the middle of the room? Maybe it’s an apartment… I dunno.

But regardless, it looks pretty nice. Pretty nice…

Especially when you compare it to my entry way — and being that I know this guy relatively well (my rule on Facebook is that if I don’t know you well enough to remember your middle name or the street address of your childhood home, you can’t be my friend) and that we grew up with essentially the same standard of living, I can’t help but compare my living situation to his and ask, “Where did I go wrong?”

But did I go wrong?

I’m not so sure.

No, I don’t know all of his “financial” details. I don’t know where he works. I don’t know what the rest of his house, err, apartment looks like. I don’t know if his new bride comes from money. Basically, there are a lot of things that I just don’t know.

At the same time, since I’m not willing to put my entry way photo on Facebook, he doesn’t know how crappy my house is, but he also doesn’t know that I own my cars, I have zero credit card debt, no student loans, and that my house is on schedule to be paid for in full within the next 6 years.

Perhaps I’m just not competition for him… But I can’t help but wonder, is he really ahead?

It might seem that way now, but looks can be deceiving…

I mean, I even own an airplane… That’s gotta be worth something?!

But seriously, I’d like to revisit my friendly competitive comparison in 2015 and see where we both stand… I have a very good feeling that our roles will be reversed.

I’m not keeping up with the Jones’ — I’m preparing to leapfrog right past them…


  1. I like your last line… the one about leapfrogging right past them. I plan to quote you… but people may be confused when I show the quote as “Brainy Smurf” on my website – lol! But I like that saying!

    I measure my life in different ways… depending on whom I’m comparing it to…
    If I compare it to my friends that graduated high school, skipped college and are still making minimum wage… I know I’m far past them. If I compare it to my friends that did go to college and are still paying $300 a month tuition loan payments after 10 years and not even using the degrees they got… I know I’m lightyears ahead. If I compare it to my friends that were on a drinking binge from age 15 to age 27… I know that I have better skin, my natural haircolor that isn’t grey and look much younger than them, therefore being ahead. If I compare it to my friends with 5 kids and a husband that has been loyal for 10 years+… there is the only place I feel behind! Financially… there isn’t a single person better off than me – except Brainy himself :). My friends with kids are in debt to pay for food and clothing or childcare, my friends that did go to school are paying student loans and my friends that are making minimum wage are still living with mommy at age 35… and probably in debt up to their ears because they have to have the latest and greatest technology stuff.

    It just all depends on your standpoint… and Brainy… I think you are SO far past your Facebook friend they will NEVER catch you at this point! 🙂 You got the house, the cars, the wife, the little one on it’s way… financial freedom… what more could you want? Ok, the Beetles White Album and winning lotter numbers would indeed be nice!

  2. Re: Do you think your life is measured by your financial standing?

    Not 100% — I’m just comparing my friend’s life and standard of living with my own.

    For the first 20 years, based on our childhoods, we could have been under the same roof, but now, comparing my house with his, it appears that we are *very* different and I’ve little doubt that our differing financial strategies and personal choices in our 20’s are largely to blame.

    Measuring my life through the quality of my relationships is a little too much like something a beauty queen would say for my tastes, but even going that route, we’re both married and we both like our families enough to have our Facebook photo albums plastered with photos of them.

    So, in that respect, I’d say we’re dead even too…

    But, no worries, I’m not one to say something like, “He who dies with the most toys wins…”

    I might think that, but I certainly don’t believe it… And I’m pretty sure my friend doesn’t either — though I am somewhat jealous of that unusual green monolith thing… I don’t know what it is, but I want one too…

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