As you know, the company you keep and spend the most time with heavily influences your habits and overall life. As the saying goes, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If you had to assess the financial awareness and responsibility of the people you hang around the most, what would you conclude? Would you say your circle of influence is financially healthy or financially unhealthy?
Not everyone you hang out with has to have the same goals or aspirations of financial freedom like; getting/staying out of debt, living within their means or building real wealth, just because you do (although, let’s be honest, who really does not want those things?). You just need to be aware of how their actions and behaviors may possibly affect you. While we would all like to think we are above peer pressure, unless you understand the subconscious influence others have on you, it will be difficult for you to stay the course on your path. Furthermore, how much harder is it for you to reach your goals without the encouragement and camaraderie from the people you love and respect the most?
If after you asses your circle of friends/family you realize they are not aligned with your goals and are practicing disastrous financial habits, what should you do? Drop them like a bag of hot potatoes? No. Distance yourself from them? No, not necessarily. Here are a couple of steps you can take to improve your financial circle of influence while retaining the relationships you value the most.
1. Reassess your goals and recommit to them
If you don’t have a clear understanding and reason as to why you want to achieve financial freedom, you will be more likely deterred from your path. Having a clear set of goals and knowing why you want to achieve them gives you better resolve to stay true to what’s important. It’s harder to be influenced by the actions and behaviors of others when you have the eye of the tiger.
2. Virtually Expand Your Circle of Influence
You don’t need to drop your immediate circle of friends and family just because they aren’t on board to financial freedom. In fact, think about just expanding your circle of influence, even if it’s virtually. There are tons of online groups, message boards and blogs you can join that will give you support and encouragement to stay on your path.
Here are just a few I like to visit:
Miracle Mornings Facebook Group (this is more of a goal setting, wake up with intentions group)
Also, blogs like this one and others blogging their way out of debt and into financial wellbeing are as simple to find as a quick google search.
I can’t tell you how much my mindset has expanded due to the new ideas and inspiration I have found on the websites above. Things that you think are impossible are getting done by tons of other people out there.
3. Don’t be afraid to just say no
If your friends are inviting you out and want you to participate in spending habits that are not aligned with your goals, it’s ok to say no and pass up on the invite. I sometimes simply just say, “No, that doesn’t work for me” if I get invited to an expensive dinner or outing that just doesn’t fit in with my goals. If passing up on the fun is not something you want to do, make sure you budget accordingly for the times you do go out and spend. In our budget, our blow money and our restaurant budget line items are used towards going out with friends.
4. Share your plans but keep it simple
I am not advocating that you show your friends and family your budget and go into details about your plans. Also, you don’t have to offer up any unsolicited advice but you’d be surprised how many of your close family and friends you can positively influence by generally sharing money-saving techniques you learn. Just don’t turn into that guy/girl who becomes the know it all and judges them for their actions if they differ from the way you do things. Instead, stand firm in your choices and don’t be judgmental. You never know who might become inspired by your journey and who may want to join you.