A lot of times, overspending on things we don’t need is brought about by succumbing to peer pressure. I can’t blame you. How can you resist the fun of being in the company of your peers after a hard days work? How can you resist the praise and adoration of your peers when they see your new phone or gadget? We all want to belong and sometimes the best way we know how, just like everyone else does, is to have the latest gadget. We all want to be cool and be liked, and most of the times, the only way we know how is to spend and show that we can afford cool things. A lot of times, though, without noticing, succumbing to peer pressure gets you into a deep financial hole.
So here are a few tips I learned that could help you overcome financial peer pressure:
Know your big picture. What are your goals? What are your dreams? If you are not clear with your goals then it might be a good time to visualize and find clarity in your ‘big picture.’ Your big picture is what will drive you. It will be your reminder that will get you back on to the right track. Once you are clear with this, create an action plan that will get you closer to achieving your goals. This plan will serve as your guide. Any other action that will move you further away from the plan is a distraction, and as much as possible, stay away from the distractions because your goals and dreams are more important to you.
Be the leader. One way to overcome the financial peer pressure is to be a catalyst for change. Lead the way in educating your friends about the value of saving and investing. Start with yourself by focusing on budgeting and saving. What ever you learn in the process, share them with your friends. I’m sure at first they will resist this as it is a topic that may be out of their comfort zone, but at a certain point, they will appreciate you for sharing something that will benefit them.
Save. For some, spending is a way to boost self-confidence. It is a way to show our peers that we are financially successful because we can afford things. This, however, is not the right measure of financial success. The best measure of true success is through saving. And if you think spending will give you confidence, try saving and you will realize that it is when we save that we find real self-confidence.
Show vulnerability and humility. One thing I notice about good savers is that they are not afraid to show some vulnerability and humility. If they can’t afford it, they are not shy to admit it. Understand that saying “no” will not ruin your friendship. Well, this is where you see who your real friends are. Learn to say “no.” Not only that, but understand that in doing so, friendships are strengthened because your true friends will understand your circumstance and respect you for being true and not pretentious about your financial situation.
Look for good saver friends. In your barkada, chances are, there will be one or two who are good savers. Be with them more often so they can influence and support you. Learn how they do it so you can do the same. Eventually you will also be an influencer as others will also look to you for support. And trust me, it’s more fulfilling knowing you’ve helped your friends get to that right track.
Remember, money is important, but if your friends value money as the measure of true friendship, then you might be hanging out with the wrong set of friends and it might be a good time to look for new ones—friends that will help you achieve your goals and not get you broke.
Jeremy Jessley Tan is a Registered Financial Planner of RFP Philippines. Learn more about personal financial planning, attend the 59th RFP program this Jan 28. To register, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or text <name><e-mail><RFP> at 0917-9689774.