Hypothetical question - Which situation would you rather be in?

5 Replies

I have a hypothetical question for you guys. I was discussing this with a friend so I thought I see how members of BP community felt about it.

Assume you were making $500k per year. With $500k income, would you rather be the financially most successful, least successful or middle of the pack among your friends?

What would you guys choose and why?

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Great topic.. Chris Roth said you are the averages of the 5 people you surround yourself with most.. I'll rather be making 500K and hanging out with people who hold themselves to a million dollar standard everyday.

What @Nick Britton says makes sense from an aspirational standpoint, but the social science studies that have been done show pretty clearly that, statistically, people are happier when they are just a bit wealthier than the people they are surrounded with. Of course, that's statistics, and naturally it doesn't apply in every case. The gang here at BP tend to be "strivers" and would be likely to see their status as a temporary situation (whether that  ended up being the the case or not) 

But then again... it's pretty human to feel that we must be the exception to the rule, no matter what the rule is. Nobody really thinks they are average, do they? For instance, how many people think they are really good drivers, better than most of the others on the road? I bet it's well over half. But that's not statistically possible, is it?

So: if this hypothetical situation was permanent, then yes! I'd want to be the most successful. If it was fluid, I'd want to be at the bottom or middle, because I could probably convince my wealthier friends to fund some deals!

I just wanted to say that the 90/10 rule applies to drivers. 90 percent of people believe they are in the top 10 percent of drivers when in reality. This rule is in place almost everywhere. To the original question, I would love to make 500k a year. Doesn't really matter to me where everyone else is lol. But to be fair and actually answer, I'd rather be at the top. I never feel adequate unless I'm winning. Wait, that should mean I'd rather be at the bottom so that I wouldn't quit striving for more until I was making 1MM, right?

I would want to be slightly ahead of the people around me - studies show that happiness is very relative, and I've personally seen people who make well into six figures complaining about someone who makes slightly more. Why not way ahead of the people around me? It's good to be with people in similar financial situations, then you're not dealing with the awkwardness around planning things at nice restaurants, trips, etc. where it might be out of someone's league and hard to figure out what the right spend is...just my thoughts.

It wouldn't matter at all to me. I tend to hang out with people who have similar interests to mine. Don't know/don't care how much they make.

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