Being judgmental on others’ personal finances

Recently, an acquaintance of mine -let’s name her Jane- was complaining that she owed Canada Revenue Agency $ 2 000 in income tax.

I did not bemoan with her….but not for the reasons you might think.

Here is what I know about this acquaintance, on a financial level:

  • Her husband is a partner at a law firm and makes a 6-figure salary; she is an interior designer and also makes good money.
  • They rent in a swanky Vancouver neighborhood for over $ 4 000/month
  • They both drive luxury cars
  • They spend about $ 2 000/month at restaurants
  • They outsource everything, even their laundry
  • She has no problem spending $ 1 000 on a single piece of clothing

Based on the above, it would very easy for me -and quite a lot of people- to take on the robe and gravel and render judgment. 

When doing this, we are assigning our own values and experiences to people we probably know very little about. We are also irrational. We just make a judgment call without any in-depth analysis, solely based on assumptions.

Back to  my acquaintances, I don’t know anything about their debt level or saving rate. Maybe they are debt-free and maxing-out both TFSA & RRSP contributions…or not.

Personally, I would never spend $ 2 000/a month on restaurants, but I have no problem spending over $ 3 000 a year to go on vacation, while still in debt. My acquaintances, on the other hand, never travel.

I am sure some of you already think I am crazy to spend that much on vacation, and that I should pay down my debt and/or save. What makes you think I am not doing the latter as well?

Before becoming “judge, jury and executioner”, why not take a look in the mirror of our own finances? The reflection may not be as pretty as we think:

  • have we ever been in debt -or still are-?
  • have we ever lived beyond our means?
  • are we saving enough?
  • have we ever wasted money -or still are-?
  • are we earning the maximum we can?

We are all guilty of “judging”, including myself. Being judgmental is negative and just a waste of time and energy.

Back to my initial comment above, I did not bemoan with Jane for 2 reasons: based on their income, they can definitely afford to pay $ 2 000 to CRA, but most importantly I didn’t care that much.

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