"Keeping up with the Joneses" has been a catchphrase used most often to describe the feeling of material insecurity that drove people to accumulate something bigger or better than their neighbors.
I recently posted a short article on Brevard County real estate prices where I hypothesized that prices are not depressed but where they really should been all along.
Over the years I have observed people approach the purchase of automobiles and houses the same way – spend the maximum (loan approval) in order to “be the best” in their circle of friends (sphere of influence).
I am not a psychologist but I think this is an attitude that starts out as a child and just grows. And unless held in check at some point one will reach the point of over extension – financially.
When working with folks considering a home purchase in Brevard County Florida I have learned to encourage buyers to separate wants, needs and nice to have. The ability to focus on real needs within budget results in less chance of buyer remorse!
To paraphrase the great Socrates...Nothing is permanent - success or times of challenge. That is something that should keep us grounded and keep us from worrying about the Joneses!