I flew to NYC to hang out with some friends this weekend. While we were out one night, my friend Kimen introduced me to one of her friends. We’re both bloggers, so we started having a nerdy conversation about readers, comments, etc. Then, when she found out I write about personal finance, we started talking about money.
I found our conversation totally fascinating.
She makes $80,000 a year. She did her taxes last week and just discovered how much money she really has: $245 in savings and $8,000 in credit-card debt.
Don’t gasp or laugh. From the thousands of people I’ve talked to through this site and around the country, it’s very, very typical.
What was really interesting was how perceptive she was. I asked her how come, and she said this:
“I live in New York and I go out all the time. Every time my friends and I go out, I usually buy a few rounds of drinks and dinner. (Points to a group of friends we’re all out with): I might even buy all the drinks tonight.”
This is the kind of thing you can easily dismiss as someone who’s just out of control, but I really urge you not to. I asked her why she did that, and she continued:
“I have a great job and I just always figured that I could. I was the kind of girl who bought everyone dinner because I could afford it.”
Becoming Rich isn’t just about rational choices and saving and investing. It’s about emotions. It’s about feeling like part of a group because you spend money. It’s about getting into a role with your money, finding it hard to change, and finding that spark that makes you think hard about what you’re doing. It’s about changing your spending behavior into something you admire about yourself.
Don’t dismiss this girl. She’s smart and eloquent and more self-aware than most people I know. There is something singularly interesting here to learn from, and I hope she does–and so do we.