“Hermits have no peer pressure.”
How many times when you were younger did you do something which you knew you shouldn’t have done, but you did it because all of your friends did it? I think about half of the ABC After School Specials I watched had to do with resisting peer pressure. The rest dealt with how a bill was made and Conjunction Junction. My mother had me convinced that all of my friends were going to run off of a cliff like lemmings, because she was always asking me how I’d react in a situation where all of my friends jumped off of a cliff or a bridge or some other such scenario involving finding out the hard way how gravity really worked. If I learned one lesson out of childhood (besides FIRE HOT), it was that peer pressure was bad and I should resist it and be my own person.
What if I were to tell you that peer pressure can actually do some good in your life? After all, as a study by the University of Rochester’s Eugene Kandel and the University of Chicago’s Edward Lazear shows, peer pressure is effective when the result of the pressure has an effect on the person being pressured and the peers applying the pressure actually have the ability to influence outcomes. However, the effect on the recipient of peer pressure, as we can all attest in thinking back to the middle school days of wanting to be a “cool kid,” doesn’t have to be financial. It can certainly be psychological and emotional, and often the ability to influence is similarly social or psychological.
Simply put, Monkey Brain likes to run in a pack, and he gets upset when he doesn’t get to show off in front of his friends.
How can you put this to use to your advantage?
We’ve already talked about using a personal finance accountabilibuddy and how it can benefit you in your life. Now, we’re going to come up with some concrete examples of how to leverage the concept.