You remember the lectures that your parents used to give you. We all got them. Don’t do drugs. Don’t drink. It doesn’t matter what the other kids are doing. Just because he is jumping off a bridge doesn’t mean that you should, too. We were told from a very young age that peer pressure was a bad thing. Once we grew up and became adults, we thought we could forget these lessons. We were too old to be a victim of peer pressure, we told ourselves. We were fine.
When it comes to our personal financial health, though, peer pressure may still be causing us all sorts of problems. Trying to keep up with our friends may be causing us more trouble than we may have ever thought.
Here’s an example. Pam has a good friend named Emily. They are the same age and they have many of the same interests. They have many of the same friend and they always end up at the same parties. Pam really admires how Emily dresses. Emily always wears boots and she always looks spectacular. She has four or five pairs of boots and they are all great. Pam likes boots, too, and she often goes shopping for new boots with Emily. But there’s a problem. Pam can’t afford to be buying new boots all the time. She wants to keep up with Emily, but keeping up is making her go broke.
What can we learn from this? Well, by giving in to peer pressure and buying boots she doesn’t really need and can’t really afford she is damaging her personal financial health. Just because Emily can afford to keep buying more boots doesn’t mean that Pam can or should. Maybe Emily makes more than Pam does, or maybe she has investment income or an allowance. Pam is trying to keep up to Emily, but she doesn’t have a chance.
There is something else to consider, too. Just because Emily is buying lots of boots doesn’t mean she can afford them, either. Maybe she is spending herself into debt, spending more than she has. Maybe she is giving in to peer pressure and trying to keep up with someone else, too. She might not be someone you want to pattern yourself after.
This is just one example. Your friends could try to get you to eat out more than you can afford, go to concerts or shows you can’t afford or spend money you don’t have in many ways. You’re an adult now, so it is okay to say no once in a while. You might be missing out on some fun now, but it is not fun at all to run out of money. Take care of yourself first.