How did your friends influence you this year? Did they help you achieve your financial goals, or were they the reason you fell short of your saving goals? It is impossible to treat your friendship and finances as oil and water. They are bound to mix at some point.
Your friends can have significant influences on your finances. They can either help you grow financially or be the reason you are constantly in a financial crisis. The types of friends you deserve are those who push you to achieve your goals, provide support and guidance, and share your money values.
Managing money expectations in friendships is not easy. Money is taboo, and you'll always feel comfortable discussing other subjects. However, ignoring this subject can have implications. Your friendship will be lost, or you will be forced to adopt your friend's financial habits.
What role did your friends play in your financial life this year? Did they positively influence you? The types of friends you choose can have significant effects on your finances. With that in mind, here are five types of friends you needed this year and why.
When it comes to personal finance, everyone is their own boss. You are responsible for the decisions you make and can do anything you want to. But it's easy to misuse this freedom or be blinded by it. And when that happens, you deserve someone, a friend, to point it out or criticise you.
Friends who can keep you accountable are hard to come by. Yes, you can have friends, but they know their boundaries. For them to keep you accountable, you need to give them that permission. You need to identify a few friends within your circle and give them the ability to question your financial habits and actions.
Friends who keep you financially accountants are essential for various reasons, including:
They Advice You: Before you make any financial decision, like, for instance, loaning someone money, you can seek their advice. They'll help you understand the effects, pitfalls you can afford, etc. Their perspective can help you make better decisions.
They Correct you: An accountability friend's main job is to point out your mistakes and flaws. To tell you when you are overspending, have a debt problem, or are living beyond your means. You can then use the criticism to get on the right path.
They Motivate you: An accountability friend can help you celebrate your wins, remind you of your goals, and help you stay focused. They congratulate you when you have done the right thing and pull you from the wrong path by reminding you you have financial goals to achieve.
Money is a very touchy subject. It can easily break friendships and lead to resentment. And no matter how best you try, you can't keep money out of your friendship. After all, you'll need to discuss splitting bills when you are out, among other things. And that is why you need friends who can respect your financial boundaries.
Financial boundaries are rules and limits to balance the relationship between your finances and your friends. They're important in friendships because they help prevent codependency, ensure no one feels left out, and curb wasting money.
Friends who respect your boundaries won't turn into leeches and treat you as a walking ATM, won't invite you to places you can't afford, and won't pressure you into spending money or changing your lifestyle to resemble theirs.
Rather, friends who respect your boundary will:
Trust is one of the main pillars that hold friendships, and when it's broken, the entire relationship crumbles. Connections will be lost, you will drift apart, and slowly the friendship will die. When you mix friendship with money, trust takes centre stage. You expect your friends to keep their promises and play their part.
Earlier this year, Kioko and Atieno had to end some friendships after their friends couldn't keep their money promises.
In Kioko's case, her friend, let's call her Linda, had turned into a leech. Every time they were out together, she could force Kioko to settle all the bills despite spending the most. She always made promises like, "I'll pay for dinner next time," "I forgot my wallet today, but we will split next time," etc. Linda managed to get away with it a few times.
Every time she was reminded, she had another excuse—delayed salary, bank problems, etc. Kioko finally realised that her friend had a problem keeping promises. So she stopped inviting her out, and when Linda initiated a hangout, she'll give excuses about not being available. Slowly, the friendship died.
In Atieno's case, it was much worse. Atieno and her friend Lucas are in the same SACCO. It was Lucas who invited her to join. Lucas took a personal loan 2x his savings from SACCO and asked Atieno to be his guarantor. Although she was sceptical initially, Atieno eventually caved in and signed the documents after Lucas offered his car as collateral and put it in writing.
Five months later, the SACCO called in Atieno and informed her Lucas was struggling to pay the loan and she was still liable to pay Ksh208,000 if Lucas defaulted. She did a little research and realised Lucas had lied about how he was to use the money. Instead of farming his rural land, he invested in cryptocurrencies, and the market collapsed.
Since the trust that held their friendship was broken, Atieno sued her friend. To avoid further losses in legal fees, Lucas quickly liquidated by selling his car and land and paid the SACCO loan. Atieno was off the hook, but she promised herself she'll never mix money and friendships to that extent again.
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This friend strongly understands financial concepts, practices, and principles. They are knowledgeable about various financial products and services and can make informed decisions about their own personal finances and investments. They can also communicate effectively about financial matters and provide guidance and advice. This type of friend can help you manage your money, pay your debt, or create a financial plan.
A financially informed can be useful in many ways, including:
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When you are experiencing instability or other financial problems, you deserve a friend who will help you weather the storm. And who is better than one who understands your struggle? Such a friend is less likely to abandon you and can help you till you get back on your feet.
When Nancy, a 33-year-old, lost her job earlier this year, she needed a friend who was going to be supportive. And she found that friend in her neighbour, Cindy. Cindy has been fired twice, and she understood how to navigate everything Nancy was experiencing.
Cindy provided anything a friend in Nancy's position could need. She was there emotionally, letting her friend know everything would be well. She was understanding and listened to Nancy. She cautioned her about making impulsive decisions she could regret later.
For instance, Cindy told Nancy about a time she rushed to open a business after she lost her job. She did it without enough planning and ended up losing all her savings. She did this because it was the type of impulsive decision Nancy wanted to make. Cindy advised her friend to be patient and approach every decision with a clear mind.
A friend who understands your financial struggles can be valuable. They can help you make better decisions, steer you away from pitfalls, offer you practical solutions that work for you, and ultimately help you back on your feet faster.
As you go into 2023, it's essential that you surround yourself with friends who share the same money values as you. That means you should avoid friends who drain you financially by either depending on you or pressuring you to overspend to please them. Friends who are financially on the same page as you can be good accountability partners and positively influence you.
You should also ensure that you pick friends who are responding with their money. If your friend is constantly in a financial crisis and doing nothing to change, they might pass their bad habits to you. Responsible friends are open about their money and are more likely to respect your boundaries.
Finally, you should be the friend you want to attract. As much as friends can help keep you accountable and financially educated, nothing triumphs over personal responsibility. That means you should get your finances in order, be self-dependent, and hire a financial expert when you need advice. You should also be assertive and not let friends control how you spend your money.