Ever look at the friends around you and think “I WANT IT, NO… I NEED IT!!!” From the expensive designer clothes they wear, the trendy areas they live in, the high-end cars they drive, the after work drinks at roof top bars and the hotel dinners… all so that you can keep up appearances and let’s not forget those Instagram posts to show the rest of the world that you are out #LivingYourBestLife.
What if I told you that most of those friends are probably struggling to make ends meet? They bought the gorgeous BMW car with their first paycheck, but you’ll find some of them are sleeping in that car or they live with their boyfriend or girlfriend who pays rent (not them) or sleeping on someone’s couch?
What if I told you that those designer clothes and trendy upmarket apartments they live in keeps them from being able to survive every month and that they are living paycheck to paycheck?
A while ago an article was posted that said twenty-something year olds/professionals are the “Urban Poor”.
“Objective and relative to a vast number of other people around them, they aren’t “POOR” at all. But they certainly are BROKE”
The urban living twenty-somethings have internalized the pressures surrounding them and spend a majority of their salaries on keeping up lifestyles and appearances that they believe are essential to earning the salaries they get, which leads them to getting into debt.
“Too many young twenty-something professionals have internalized the lesson that to earn any money, you’ve got to spend a lot of it.”
Expenses that seem to rack up and are non-negotiable; the clothes, grooming, bar nights, dinners, Uber rides because you are “networking” till late at night. The Starbucks/Vida coffee you buy every morning on your way to work, the lunches at the restaurant a block away from your office (because it is not cool to bring lunch from home), the heels and dresses… it all adds up because you would rather keep up appearances rather than living within your means.
Then soon you start going back into your shell as the bank balance crashes past zero by the 15th of the month and tell yourself that the math doesn’t work today but somehow you will survive the month and everything will be okay. You start thinking of ways out to make sure you will survive the month such as; Quick Loans, Payday Loans, Personal Loans, Credit Cards, Easy Loans, Instant Cash Loans and the list goes on.
What Influences Them to Think Like This?
Most young twenty-something professionals are influenced by the success stories of entrepreneurs who spent X amount of money to create their wealth and every time they spent that money it would multiply.
We hear and focus on stories of drug dealers ‘hustling’ to live their dreams; your Jay-Z’s and Rick Ross’ of the world that made it. We follow the stories of Donald Trump, whose father gave him a million dollars to start his company and made billions; instead of reading about rags-to-riches stories like Herman Mashaba, who created the cosmetics brand Black Like Me; and started selling products from the boot of his car before it became a multi-million Rand enterprise.
We read about how much Bonang Matheba’s weave/extensions cost and internalize the lesson that to earn money you’ve got to spend a lot of it. Or which brands their favourite celebs are rocking and where their favourite celebs are shopping.
“We dress for the job we want, forgetting that most salaries are tailored to afford dressing for the jobs we have.”
We are so fixated on social media trends that dictate who we want to be; how to dress, what to eat, where to eat, how to be successful. Trends that tell us which places you should spend your vacation or #vacay (because these places are Instagrammable [I know it’s not a real word]), the fragrances you should buy, which car you should probably drive. But do you know what? They NEVER TELL YOU HOW TO PAY FOR ANY OF IT.
So it is the 15th of the month and your bank account is slowly crashing past zero again and you feel like you need to get a payday loan; what do you do?
This is where your conscious will step in: the side with the tail and horns will say “GET A LOAN” and the side with a halo will say “GET HELP”.
The bottom line is don’t try and “Keep up with the Kardashians”, get financial advice and stop living beyond your means. The more you keep saving, face the harder you will spiral down and hit rock bottom.
“You can’t get out of DEBT while keeping the same lifestyle that got you there. Cut out everything except the basics.” – Dave Ramsey.