Social Media’s Grip on Your Money: Tuning Out Influencers to Increase Your Financial Well-Being
I used to fly every month from Atlanta to London to have my hair done by one of the world’s top stylists. I was a full-time student, working full-time for my family’s business, growing my own mortgage company, and conscientiously creating wealth. One day, I was feeling extra tired and had the sense that everyone around me looked more relaxed and put together than I did. Like they were enjoying themselves more, living the good life. Why wasn’t that me? I worked hard and deserved more fun and all the things, right?
I started treating myself. Traveling monthly to London. And amassing so many shoes. In my mind, I deserved all of this. But in my spree, I lost focus on my goals and neglected my mortgage business. My want of what others seemed to have derailed my progress towards true wealth. Influenced by others, I blew my savings and then had to rebuild my financial well-being. Difficult lesson learned. While not wealthy at that time, I had been on a solid path toward wealth. I was building assets for early retirement. Yet I allowed envy to hijack my personal financial goals. I learned firsthand how others can negatively impact our financial well-being.
The Influence of “SocieTHEY”
We are influenced by friends, acquaintances, and people we follow on social media. Whether conscious or not, we receive their messages about what to wear, what to drive, where to live. We crave the professionally curated closets, homes, and lives of Instagram influencers. We permit those whom I dub “SocieTHEY” to dictate what we do and buy when we seek acceptance and validation. But guess what? What you see on Insta isn’t always real. Often, it’s people fronting, pretending to be wealthy.
Social media lies to us every day. SocieTHEY (backed by substantial marketing dollars) shows us what our lives could be if we spent some cash. Social can fuel our imaginations and our ever-evolving wants, harming us financially. We chase happiness by buying what we don’t need. Our credit card balances rise, and our savings shrink. But there is hope. By learning to mute influencers and regulate our wants, we can control our money instead of it controlling us.
I tuned out SocieTHEY because they had me spending on things that don’t matter to me. For real, who are THEY to command my thoughts and actions? THEY don’t pay my bills, so I don’t pay them any mind. And THEY are bankrolled by marketers who want us all to spend more, no matter the cost to our financial mental health.
I’m not suggesting you give up your material belongings. I am suggesting you grow your financial mindfulness by focusing on what you need to do for your financial future. I’m suggesting you grow emergency funds that cover you when you get laid off, injured, or sick. I am asking you to start creating wealth now, surrounding yourself with like-minded friends for support (where are my fruGALs out there?), and defining for yourself what is truly important. I’m asking you to crawl before you ball (#CB4UB), saving before spending.
Growing Wealth: Do What You Need to Do Now So You Can Do What You Want to Do Later
Growing wealth is a commitment that requires making difficult choices, exercising discipline, and perhaps even finding new friends. This sounds like no fun, I know. But you know what is super fun? Financial freedom! So before you fly to Miami for that Instagrammable bachelorette party complete with spa days, luxury yacht rental, and matching swimsuits, I urge you to understand the impact of this spending on your long-term wealth. The bride will understand. And if not, I promise that you’ll survive and your bank account with thrive. The truly wealthy aren’t posting pics with mojitos off of Key Biscayne because, while money talks, wealth whispers. So let’s commit to lowering our voices. I want you to enjoy financial wellness and achieve financial freedom, so here are three actions you can take now.
Three Keys to Financial Freedom
First, invest in your financial personal development. Reallocate time spent on social media to learn more about personal finance. Clevergirlfinance.com, nerdwallet.com, and wisebread.com are useful starting points.
Second, talk with people you know who are in control of their money. Find out what keeps them motivated, how they manage their spending, and how they have overcome financial mistakes.
Third, track your progress. The journey to wealth can sometimes feel like a marathon – because it usually is. Growing wealth takes time. Track your accounts to view and celebrate your progress. You can start small, so long as you start.
With these steps – and an understanding of how tuning out influencers, SocieTHEY, and social media can improve your financial well-being – your path to wealth begins now.
Ms. Career Girl strives to provide valuable insights you can use. To see more from our columnists and guest authors, check these out!
This guest post was authored by Buffie Purselle
Buffie is an entrepreneur with over twenty years of expertise in the financial field. As the founder of Buffie, LLC, her success derives from her professional and innate ability to demystify the daunting world of taxes, personal finance, and small business management with skilled, practical, and sometimes sassy guidance with her clients. She is passionate about teaching financial literacy with her book and e-course, Crawl Before You Ball.
Buffie is a true southern belle and is most commonly recognized as a third-generation taxpractitioner from a family of tax pros. Buffie joined the ladies of Bravo’s “Married to Medicine” in their 7th season. She is also recognized as a highly sought-after national tax and personal finance expert seen on HLN, CNN, and CNBC.
Her philanthropic endeavors include being Vice-Chair of IYAI+ (Introducing Youth to Careers in American Infrastructure). IYAI+ is a nonprofit founded by Dr. Beverly Scott. Eight years ago, Buffie became severely ill. In the blink of an eye, Buffie’s bubbly personality that her friends knew and loved seemed to disappear. She was overcome with chronic fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, mouth sores, and hair loss. After a year of testing, she was diagnosed with Lupus. Buffie is a National Ambassador for The Lupus Foundation of America. She supports initiatives to raise awareness and funds for Lupus research.
Buffie is happily married to the love of her life, Dr. David Purselle. They have two fur babies, Louie, a four-year-old toy poodle, and Prada, a two-year-old Labradoodle. She lives by the motto, “If you look for the bad in people, you will surely find it,” so she chooses to look for the good.