Many of us have had a form of the question, If all your friends jump off that bridge are you going to do it too? posed to us by a well-meaning parent. And rightfully so. Much research has been conducted and consistently supports the fact that peer influence weighs heavily for adolescents. But what happens after those formative years?
While peer influence may resonate differently after age 18, studies find that adults are still highly-susceptible to social pressure. In one experiment, social psychologists noted that subjects consistently changed answers they knew were correct to incorrect responses when they learned other participants gave an incorrect response. And in similar experiments, participants were more likely to keep their original answer if just one other participant joined them or agreed with them in making their case for the correct answer.
Which brings us back to why choosing friends wisely is a lesson most parents are resolute in teaching. Surrounding ourselves with people who share the same value system or whose values or behaviors are those to which we aspire will have a positive, lasting effect. In fact, researchers have concluded that we are four times more likely to be successful if three of our five closest social spheres are considered successful.
Financially speaking, the same applies. For most of us, three of our five primary social circles are comprised of family, friends and colleagues. Take a moment to consider who these people are in your life and ask yourself:
• Do we share similar financial goals and behavior?
• Do I feel a sense of “keeping up with the Joneses” when I’m with certain friends?
• Are the people who influence me wise, disciplined and focused in handling money?
• Are they impulsive, seeking instant gratification, or do they think long-term and plan for the future?
In 30 years of supporting clients in their pursuit of financial security, CWA financial planners frequently witness the power of social influence on our clients. We’ve seen negative influences obliterate retirement plans, but we’ve also seen clients thrive in relationships with like-minded individuals. These are the connections that we encourage and foster.
When clients share industry insights, best practices and vendor resources with us, we pass them on to other clients who we know will benefit from having that information. We encourage connections to CWA partner companies such as NDP, National Dental Placements, which supports buying and selling doctors as they transition in or out of practice ownership. Or with the advantage Best New Patients gives clients by leveraging buying power from within to provide savings at levels typically reserved for very large organizations on one of the most effective forms of marketing for dental practices. Most importantly, we see the impact of positive influence each time a client reaches the goal of 3:1 – financial freedom. Because we know their victory also extends to the many people who helped along the way in various capacities, large and small. Moreover, they become a model and inspiration for countless others. This is the real value in developing strong circles and it is critical to the success of CWA clients.
As a company, CWA is committed to developing these connections. To that end, this month marks the official launch of Who’s In Your Circle? – a people-driven campaign focused on creating and perpetuating spheres of influence that have positive, and long-lasting financial impact.
Who’s In Your Circle? encompasses CWA clients and extended network of dental professionals as well as community, business and industry connections, offering valuable learning tools and bringing unifying ideas, resources and people together through enriching interactions and forums that are both unique and relevant — all with the end goal of providing more resources and support for building a successful financial future.
Your next step? Identify the people who influence you most as well as the people upon which you have influence. Then ask yourself what positive or negative attitudes and behaviors about finances are flourishing within these circles. Are there people you should add or remove from your financial sphere of influence? Decide what you would like to gain from your circle and what you have to give.
In the coming weeks, you will see the themes and ideas that drive Who’s In Your Circle? thread through CWA consultations, client communications, social media and beyond and have the opportunity to start building and refining your own circles. Our work together is clear – let’s leverage the power of positive influence to support, educate, motivate, challenge and inspire each other on the journey to financial peace and security. It takes a village.