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Picture this: you’re going to meet up with your friends for a nice and relaxing dinner. After a nice meal, your friends decide that they want to go and get some ice cream for dessert. You glance down at your wallet and discover that you’re running low on funds. Still, you shrug your shoulders and buy the ice cream, even though you feel that you could’ve saved some cash. The question is: what happened to your financial responsibility?
Financial responsibility sounds simple, but it’s a much deeper concept than you realize. Many people assume that financial responsibility is all about saving money and building wealth. While that is true, there is a more profound purpose for financial responsibility: long-term investment.
To clarify, financial responsibility is not a matter of building up a bigger piggy bank. The purpose is to keep your long-term finances secured and stable for future plans. For example, being financially responsible can help you pay for all expenses every month while still saving money to buy a new house. It’s about paying for your future in either cash or in kind.
The beauty of financial responsibility is that it works in several different ways. You can reduce your expenses to save more money. You can make investments and insurance plans to avoid potential costs. And, in the case of friends, you can learn how to have fun without using up all your money.
Given how important financial responsibility is, you might be wondering why it’s so hard. It all boils down to one answer: peer pressure. Whether your friends knowingly do so or not, you feel pressured to meet their expectations. That includes how much you spend. Here’s how peer pressure can make you lose financial responsibility:
Are you familiar with the term FOMO? Simply put, it’s the Fear Of Missing Out, wherein you feel isolated because you’re not following the trends. For example, you might feel left out whenever you’re not with your friends at a party. FOMO isn’t just a catchy phrase, though; studies show that 69% of millennials suffer FOMO. What’s worse is that over 60% make impulse purchases to try and fit in.
If you’re trying to gain financial responsibility, the first thing you have to confront is FOMO. You might think that “keeping up with the Joneses” is worthwhile, but it isn’t. Buying a new phone or TV shouldn’t happen if you only care about matching your friends. Not only does it drain your wallet, but it also makes impulse buying a lifelong habit!
Studies on indulgence show that many people fall for the “what the hell” effect. In their minds, they shrug and make a purchase because they want immediate gratification. In other words, they lose their financial responsibility because they want to enjoy the now.
Here’s the problem, though: 84% of Americans have gone over budget. Many of them focus so much on satisfying what they want that they neglect the future. For them, it’s easier to spend $50 a day instead of worrying about a $3000 monthly bill. However, financial responsibility requires your attention to both the present and the future. Otherwise, you’ll keep pushing your expenses higher until it’s too late.
Peer pressure can also make your expenses feel like an illusion. For you, spending $100 is worthwhile when you’re with friends. It’s only when the adventure ends that you realize how many of those bills you spent. What feels like a fun, short hangout turns into heavy expenses that eat your savings away!
Remember that financial responsibility requires your frequent attention. You shouldn’t neglect how much you spend, even if it’s only $1. Without constant supervision and attention, you risk going over the budget. Plus, with FOMO lurking around, you might spend twice as much cash to make your friends happy.
By understanding how peer pressure and friendship can affect your finances, it’s time to fight back! That said, it’s not only about the friends you have. You also have to know how to approach financial responsibility from your end. To help you out, here are seven steps to learn financial responsibility with your friends..
Many people keep their budgets or financial constraints to themselves. When surrounded by friends, they want to avoid looking like they have a shoestring budget. However, if you want to master financial responsibility, you must be clear on your limits. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends what your budget is. More importantly, be clear on where you draw the line. The more you stick to your limits, the easier it will be to get your friends to understand.
Let’s say that your friends are recommending activities or food places. However, you notice that the choices cost a pretty penny. Show your financial responsibility by offering budget-friendly alternatives. Not every hangout has to be expensive.
For example, you and your friends can enjoy a nice walk around a beach instead of traveling to Ibiza. You’ll get the same experience and you save money. Plus, you might even help out those who feel the same financial constraints you have.
Studies on budgeting show that one out of six Americans say they don’t overspend. These people show financial responsibility by doing their best to avoid going past their limits. One reason why is that they hold themselves accountable. These people understand that it’s their choice, not the choice of their friends or family.
If you want to achieve financial responsibility, you must also be willing to step up and take responsibility. You are the one who holds the wallet and the bank account. That means you are the final say in every expense you make. By taking control and accepting this responsibility, you can gain the power to say “no” and set your priorities straight.
So far, the steps to gain financial responsibility focus on your actions. This step, however, can be a team effort that builds your relationships further. There’s no reason to make financial responsibility a lonely island. Instead, try to share these lessons and openly discuss your financial goals with friends.
For example, you might be the first of your friends who wants to buy a house. When you open up the subject, you’d be surprised how many of them desire the same thing. Together, you can all work on how to build financial responsibility and help each other succeed. Better yet, you can even use this to help one another stay accountable for spending!
Trying to match the trends and luxuries of your friends is only begging for financial disaster. You might be doing it to feed your confidence or to be appealing to friends and loved ones. However, financial responsibility means caring about what you need instead of how you appear.
For instance, imagine if your friends all buy the latest iPhone model. It looks slick, shiny, and spectacular. You might be tempted to buy the same kind for yourself. However, consider this: does your phone still work? If so, why should you change it? Remember that financial responsibility should be about what works for the long-term future. You don’t need to buy every iPhone model when the one you have works fine.
It’s not easy to broach the subject of money and financial responsibility with your friends. Some might accuse you of being a killjoy. Others might think you’re too stingy or tight-fisted with your cash. However, that’s their opinion. If you want to master financial responsibility, you should also learn to stand up for yourself. Don’t put them in charge of your money.
That said, keep in mind to be respectful in what you say. Even if you disagree with them, don’t sling mud or air dirty laundry. Financial responsibility is about being firm in your money choices, and that doesn’t have to burn bridges. Always be honest and tactful about your spending decisions and stick with them.
In 2019, a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) survey revealed that only 34% of respondents could answer four out of five basic financial literacy questions. This shows how financial responsibility and literacy have fallen over the years. The last thing you’d want is to be around friends who can’t even budget their groceries, right?
To gain financial responsibility, you should surround yourself with people who know or are willing to learn about money habits. Don’t settle for people who want to spend without worry. Look for those who share the same financial goals and want to develop financial responsibility alongside you. Those are the ones who deserve your time and attention.
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