By Gloria Musau
With just the happily ever after part left, I am almost done re-reading The Smart Money Woman on Zuri’s six-month financial cleansing journey and I can relate. I don’t have a very posh car or a high-end apartment yet but I am getting there and like Zuri, I am revisiting my friends’ list.
It is said that you are an average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with. Thus, I am quickly becoming aware of how my friendships might be influencing my financial choices. As a true Kenyan, I would have to wait for the start of a new year to completely cut off toxic people. Nonetheless, with my fresh enlightenment, I can keep my distance from those who constantly sabotage my efforts at financial freedom.
Firstly, our conversations need to change. For instance, it is difficult to ditch debt when friends keep sharing coupons for mobile loan app sign up. While they get a few bucks from that, such mindset is too shallow for me now. In a recent report by Enwealth Financial services, Kenyans are saving for big purchases like houses, retirement, emergency expenses and leisure in that order. So, if these plans are not a popular discussion within my circle, then I am off.
Secondly, social activities often pressure one to spend money whether it is eating out, attending a concert or a weekend road trip. There is nothing wrong with spending on entertainment but it easily gets out of hand. For instance, you may be surrounded by over-spenders who constantly seek out the most expensive of these activities. You could even be earning more than them but you end up feeling poor because of their expensive taste. They may treat you to fancy restaurants and expensive gifts and as a good person who repays good with good, you fall into a financial trap.
Social connections are an essential part of life but if the circle is constantly pressuring you to spend, you may need to talk to them. It is okay to tell them that your entertainment allocation for the month is depleted. If they don’t keep a budget, they may not understand. In this case, you may have to view their vacation pictures on WhatsApp with a lump in your throat but keep your eyes on your goal. Allow yourself to grow apart from such acquaintances and eventually let go of them. Friends who value spending time with you will support your goals and suggest hangouts that are within your set means. For instance, you could challenge each other to complete one personal finance or personal development book a month.
While we have demonized the spendthrifts, let’s examine the misers. The miserly lot can do some damage as well. They hoard their money without spending or investing in anything significant. As a result, your money will stagnate over the years if you let this habit influence you. The way to build wealth is through saving and investing. If you combine the penny-pincher’s ways of avoiding lavish spending with seeking profitable investment opportunities, you will have found the key to financial freedom.
Certainly, life without friends is plain boring! Even if you have good money habits, your friends’ poor management habits may start rubbing off on you sooner than later. Their contagious extravagance or always leaning on you for financial support could land you in trouble. Therefore, if you find a need to shift your circle, please do. Keep in mind that this does not mean picking fights and ghosting people for no reason. Instead, it means identifying the type of people you want to spend more time with and intentionally spending less time with those who have little to contribute to your progress.
Gloria is the Senior Officer, Business Development, Sales and Training at Enwealth Financial Services.
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