- Friendships are an important part of life, but if you’re draining your bank account to spend time with your pals, you may want to reconsider the people around you.
- Your friends may be too expensive for you if you’re getting into credit card debt to spend time with them, or they disparage your material possessions.
- If you’re trying to save money or pay off debt and your friends don’t support you or understand your goals, they might not be the best people to keep around.
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As much as meeting financial goals is a personal endeavour, whether we know it or not, the people we surround ourselves with play a role in our financial well-being. Loved ones can influence not just how we feel about money, but how we spend and save.
That’s why it’s important to consider whether or not our closest relationships are helping us or hindering us. Do you have a sneaking suspicion you may not be able to afford your friends? Here are a few tell-tale signs they’re too expensive for you.
Their idea of having fun invariably involves spending
Can’t remember the last time you saw a friend outside of Happy Hour or a trip to the mall? It may be time to consider whether that relationship is costing you more than it’s benefiting you.
“If your friends’ idea of leisure is always tied to spending a lot of money, they might not be a good fit for your long-term financial well-being,” says Mike Earl, a certified financial planner with The Wealth Group.
They make disparaging comments about your car (or any of your possessions)
Another tell-tale sign of an unhealthy financial disparity between friends: You frequently feel belittled or criticised for your lifestyle.
“If a friend somehow sees you as inferior for having a more modest car, clothing, or travel destinations, that person is not really your friend,” says Earl. “Your friends should root for your financial success, not root for you to have fancy stuff.”
They don’t respect your budget
If your friend pressures you to spend outside your budget, that’s an obvious sign of financial strain in your relationship. But a not-so-obvious indicator is a friend who simply doesn’t honour your choices. Your budget reflects your values as a person, so if a friend doesn’t respect your spending limits, think about whether or not they respect you.
“You should be able to tell your friends you have a spending plan in place,” says Earl. “If going out with them doesn’t fit in your plan for that month, you should be able to politely decline and say you’ll be in the next time.”
You’re going into debt for them
Be extra cautious if you are racking up credit card debt to spend time with your friends.
While the short-term joy can be gratifying, the long-term effects can be detrimental to your financial health if you’re not planning for those dinners out or weekends away.
“If spending time with your friends is something important, make sure you’re putting money aside for just that reason,” says CFP Scott R. Cohen of Northwestern Mutual. “That way, you’re not dipping into funds allocated for other expenses, like paying off your credit card, your emergency fund, or your savings. “
You’re constantly loaning them money
If a friend is constantly asking you for money, is the friendship really worth the cost? Yes, it’s important to help friends, but it’s even more important to take care of your financial health.
Cohen recommends tracking your “donations” to friends closely and making sure they remain within your balanced budget.
“I’d suggest using your best judgement … and being clear about whether it’s a loan or a gift and setting expectations accordingly,” he says.
They don’t support your financial goals
True friends want to see you succeed, even if it means an adjustment in the ways you spend time together. If you are limiting your spending on meals out in order to more quickly pay off student loans, your close friends should be supportive of that move.
“That doesn’t mean you won’t eat out at all together, but it might mean finding the one-dollar-sign or two-dollar-sign Thai food restaurant, rather than the three-dollar-sign hot new restaurant,” says Earl.
They show no commitment to saving for the future
Your friends don’t need to have the same savings and investing goals as you do, but if you’re committed to investing in your future, pay attention to relationships that might be holding you back.
“We become like the people we spend time with, so you want friends that set aside money to pay off debt and save/invest for the future,” Earl says.
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