Being an auditor means travelling alot with work. Such trips are often at your employer’s costs including flight tickets, hotel costs, daily allowance and most of the time car rentals. But it does not always appears that way to outsiders. When we post photos boarding planes every other months or staying in fancy hotels, people perceive us as rich.
Perceptions is how something or someone is viewed. These are often outsiders views that are not even close to the facts. When you are trying to work on finances, you need to be mindful of perceptions and what impact it has on your financial progress journey.
Some of the commons myths I have heard about perceptions are as follows:
- People who works in particular company (e.g Namport) earn a lot of money. This is something that has been established by society but can become a burden to someone just starting out. I’ve had a conversation with someone being judge for coming with a taxi to Namport because people in that company earn a lot. It creates an expectations that everyone can afford a car and sometimes people end up buying cars that are out of their reach to keep up the image.
- A car is seen as status of wealth. I do not blame a lot of people that hold this view because starting out, I also judged certain car types. This could be the reason why I never bought a polo vivo despite being the only car I could afford at that time. It did not suit the perception I had about wealth and it is sad to think that most of us are made to believe the better the car you drive, the more money you have. Some even go to an extent of taking cars out on balloon payments. Remember that the only reason why you are taking out a car on a balloon payment simply means you can not afford that car and you need a little push to get through with the monthly installments.
- The bank card you have is a sign of your wealth. Banks have become clever these days by categorizing card colors with the level of your monthly income. They have come up with all sorts of fancy way to lure the young people is going for such by branding it with terms that are synonymous to wealth. Hidden behind these cards are high bank fees for upgraded services
The list can continue but the crux of the matter is never be to concerned about how people will think of you. At the end of the day, only you know where you stand with your finances. You can be working in that company where everyone is well paid but you are only starting out and you do not qualify yet for those benefits that others have. That is fine, you do not have to live up to the perceptions. The people in your company all stay in a certain neighborhood but it is ok to go look for rent where you can afford. Your friends might all be driving fancy cars but it is also fine because you probably have other costs such as black tax that they do not need to worry about.
I have been asked a few things that made me become more aware of perceptions hence I took a stand to never consider perceptions when making financial decisions:
- People have asked me why as I chartered accountant I opted to buy a house in Kuisebmund – I ask them why not?
- They have wondered why I have bought a second hand car – Again why not?
- Why I’ve had the same phone since forever – it still works.
Remember the goal is to sleep well at night. And with this, I want to say,
“Do not buy things you do not need , with money you do not have, to impress people you do not like”