We spent last weekend visiting friends who live a few hours from us. My husband and I each have friends we’ve known for years who happen to live in the same town, so it’s always a two-for-one trip when we visit. It’s a beautiful resort (expensive) town in the mountains, and we love spending time there. We stayed with my friend in the new house she and her husband bought last year. It’s a $600,000 house with three bedrooms and all the upgrades. granite counters, hardwood floors, huge whirlpool tub, gourmet kitchen, radiant heating in the floors, heated garage… it’s a great house. They pay about $3,000/month for the mortgage on the house, which is well within their means. They have some student loans, but no consumer debt, and they have a healthy retirement portfolio.
I had a great time with my friend, and was glad that we got to spend the weekend with her. On the way home, I thought about all that she has, and all that I have, and I felt good about my life. Our counters are Formica, our carpet is a touch worn, and our appliances don’t all match, but we have a great life. Our expenses are well within our means, and we’re really happy most of the time. I’ve noticed that people with big houses and lots of nifty toys (including my friend) are no happier than we are, and often seem to be less happy. I can honestly say that I’d rather be me. That feels good.