If there’s one thing that has affected each and every one of us at some point in life, it has to be peer pressure. It’s nearly impossible to hang around people without absorbing a few things from them. Whether it be negative or positive things, we’ve all been caught up in peer pressure. It can affect many aspects of our lives, including our path to financial freedom.
Let’s start by talking about financial freedom. We all have different goals for our money – to buy a house, go on holidays yearly, take our children to good schools, or even invest in an emergency fund. In many instances, we have more than one goal. But ultimately, freedom implies that you are in control of your finances and your life choices. While financial freedom may have varied definitions, it boils down to the control and freedom to choose to do what you wish.
Now that we have an idea about peer pressure and financial freedom, let’s look at the correlation between the two. In life, you are guaranteed two things. There will always be someone in a better situation than yours, and a person in a worse situation than yours. There will always be a person with a bigger car, and one with a smaller house. There’ll be one with a better salary, and another living hand to mouth.
When you associate with people, whether family or friends, you can subconsciously start to envy them. Maybe they drive a bigger car, or maybe they earn more and do less. Because of this, conversations surrounding money start to become difficult and you do everything in your power to match up to their lifestyle. People have taken loans and dug deep into their pockets just to impress their peers.
I know of a story where someone went to greet his friends at a restaurant once and ordered one beer before everyone started winding up. When the bill came, they decided to split the total costs among one another and he had to cough out an unplanned 2,700 in order to settle the bill. He would’ve complained. He should have said something, but he chose not to. Why? Everyone was paying, and he didn’t want to look like the broke one. Soon after, they went to the club and coughed out another 2,000 shillings. He didn’t have the money for this, but his friends convinced him and he couldn’t say no.
But this is not an isolated case. According to a study, 40 percent of the millennial generation have not only overspent to keep up with their friends but have gone into debt to do so.
Peer pressure undoubtedly affects your finances. Your friends have the ability to change your mindset towards money and make you spend on things you don’t need and don’t plan on spending on. You have to learn to say no to outings, and you have to learn to be unaffected by the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). 4 Tips To Ensure That FOMO Does Not Rule Your Life
Maybe you’ve been planning on saving up for investment but people come and sway your way into thinking that financial freedom means having liquid money. Maybe, you’re saving up to go on holiday at the end of the year, but your friends are out every weekend and you can’t afford to miss out. So, you end up compromising on your financial freedom.
If there’s anything life has taught me it’s that the way people spend and handle their money is very different. You may see a friend overspending every weekend and start comparing yourself to them and trying to match up to their lifestyle. What you don’t know is that maybe they’re just careless with their expenses. Once you understand this, you learn to say no and to be unapologetic about your boundaries.
If you’re the guilty party, try to be more understanding. Don’t force people into using money in ways that they didn’t intend to. Once someone tells you that they don’t have the budget for something, leave it at that. Allow it, because you may be a hindrance to their financial freedom.
Nearly 30% of millennials feel discomfort at the idea of saying “no” when someone suggests an experience or activity that they really can’t afford. If someone really is pushing for you to spend money you can’t afford to spend, you don’t have to go into detail about your reasoning for declining.
Once you understand your core financial values, it becomes very easy to maintain boundaries. Remember that your definition of financial freedom cannot be exactly the same as anyone else. Focus on getting to the light at the end of the tunnel, and you will have everything to be thankful for.
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