In my 30s, money has a different purpose than it did in my 20s — and I wish I had known sooner
woman eating cookie snack

Flickr/Martin Cooper

Whenever I get an invitation to a party — before I mark it on my calendar, before I RSVP — I Zillow the address. It’s become a habit, something I do without realizing it, even though I know that looking up the sale price of someone’s home is similar to peeking into their medicine cabinet when you’re over for dinner.

I’m aware it’s wrong, so why do it? Because it’s there, it’s tempting and it can be incredibly revealing.

To me, sales records found on Zillow (or Redfin, Trulia, Movoto, Streeteasy — you name it) are one of the few places where I can get a glimpse into the financial life of another person. And since money matters are often guarded even more tightly than sex life secrets, there’s something satisfying about being able to see a number in black and white.

But like peeking into a medicine cabinet, it never ends up making me feel amazing about myself. So why can’t I stop?

I haven’t always been obsessed with how much my friends have in the bank.

In my twenties, money just felt like a commodity, and my friends and I were pretty open about it. We regularly shared our salaries. Someone who made more would offer to float the bar tab, and someone who made less would host a BYOB potluck at her shared apartment.

Back then, money felt like a boat — essential to get you from point A to point B. As long as you had one, it didn’t matter if the boat was a kayak or a yacht.

But gradually, as we got older, moved up in our careers, settled down with partners and began having children, money started to stand for so much more — or at least it did to me. Money … Read More Here…

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