Surround yourself with like minded people

Indian body building village
The argument of nature versus nurture - which one is more important is ongoing. I think that both sides of the argument have valid points. Mental illness, hereditary diseases and physical traits can all be passed along by genetics and in some cases it can produce children that have natural physical abilities that put them ahead of others.

The other side of the coin is who you surround yourself with. I have no doubt in my mind that the development of my personality was heavily influenced by the friends I went to high school with (and yes, I am still good friends with them to this day). Have you ever noticed how good friends have the same sense of humor, sometimes that's what draws them to each other, but other times that part of themselves grows with that other person.

I couldn't tell you which one has a larger influence on the human development. I personally believe that each person is different, some may be more affected by their surroundings than others while some people will remain basically the same no matter what their surroundings are.

But I do think that both nature and nurture plays a part in our lives. Since unfortunately fortuntately we don't get much of a say in our genetics, the only thing that is really within our control is who we surround ourselves with. So it behooves us to surround ourselves with the change you want to see in yourself.

The a village of Asola-Farehpur Beri, India has a population of about 3,500 people. But about 90% of the men from that village aged 18 thru 55 work as bouncers or security guards in New Delhi. Throughout the town all of the boys are careful with their bodies from a very young age, they watch what they eat, and once their bodies are ready many of them bulk up to become body builders or wrestlers.

Perhaps it's the genetics in this village, something in their brain or their bodies makes them want to become body builders, but I think it's more along the lines of what they are surrounded by. Since all of their friends and family think it's normal to bulk up and become body builders they want to do it too. It's actually quite amazing how dedicated their town is to getting their bodies into tremendous physical shape.

I feel that personal finances are much of the same. If you spend most of your time with shopaholics then you are bound to view spending money on things you don't really need as a normal practice. But if you have friends that are more mindful of their money then you will naturally want to think that way too, not necessarily because you want to save money, but because you'll be wanting to stay at the same level as your friends.

The good thing about all of this though, is that with the internet at our fingertips these days you can start to surround yourself with like minded people even if you've never met them. I don't know that many people in my everyday life that are that concerned with their finances in the way that I am. The people that I usually relate to are about 20 years older than I am and most of them don't take me very seriously when I talk about retirement. They just think that I'm young and that I don't know what I'm really talking about because I have another 30 years of work ahead of me to get close to retirement age. Maybe they will be less dismissive of my input if I can really reach my goals in the next 8 to 10 years... But that's a separate topic.

The personal finance community is one of the most supportive groups of people I've come across online. Before I found the personal finance community I thought that all comments on the internet were trolls. I thought that people wrote articles, and no one gave thoughtful feedback on them. That was, until I found the personal finance community, where yes, there still are people that troll, but for the most part people are genuinely trying to help each other out. It's the biggest support group that I have ever been involved with and reading their thoughts daily helps keep me on the right track.

So find the change that you want to see in your life and immerse yourself in it. It doesn't have to be your finances, but since that's what I write about here that's what I've focused on. Find that support group and keep at it.

And to all of the readers out there that contribute to my comments thank you for all of your support. If you happen to have your own personal finance blog then thank you for strengthening our community. You are part of the reason that I am here today.


  1. Zee,

    Even though I have quite a lot of friends that have the same views as I have, they hardly ever share my personal finance views. Mostly it's because they don't know better, but sometimes they flat-out disagree, which hardly ever happens on other topics.

    That's why I took to the internet and started my own blog, like you said. It's really quite refreshing to find an active and supportive community of like-minded people! I'm really glad to be part of it.

    Best wishes,

    1. NMW,

      I think it's fairly common for people to share a lot of the common views but differ in some areas, for me that is personal finance too. It's not that my friends don't care, but I think it might be that they don't dislike their jobs as much as I do. I feel shackled to doing something that I dislike for much more time than I would rather be doing it. I also think that for my friends they don't look at personal finances in the same way because many of them are not really in a position to save as much as I can. I'm sure they save some but most of them could probably not get by on half of what they earned so the perspective is different. I don't think any differently of my friends because of this, but we just have different long term goals... or perhaps more accurately I don't want my long term goal to take as long as most people.


  2. Hi Zee, great post. I'm sorry to hear that certain older folk seem dismissive of your input because of your youth - perhaps in some cases, it's just down to jealousy that they didn't do as you did when they were young. As an 'older person', I bear no age discrimination - good advice/input comes from people of all ages and I certainly value what you write in this blog and your comments on my own blog.

    As with No More Waffles, many of my friends share the same views as I do but all seem to be at different stages of their lives financially, be it saving for a house, trying to pay off debts, saving for weddings, saving for their children. So it was most refreshing to discover the PF community of like-minded souls!

    1. Weenie,

      I don't really take things personally, so older people being dismissive when I talk about retirement just sort of rolls off me like water off a ducks back. I've definitely heard "How can you be thinking of retirement when you've barely even worked?"

      I guess for me I've worked enough to know that I don't want to do it for another 35 years!


  3. Hi Zee,
    That is a pretty cool story how mind set is probably stronger than genetics. I do think it applies very well in the personal finance community, I think that reading other blogs can give motivation and also great ideas at saving money. For some reason, you may need to hear a concept a few different ways for it to sink in your head sometimes.
    As with others, it can be lonely with family and friends sharing financial views and the internet is a great way to surround ourselves with like minded people in this area.

    1. Kipp,

      I think that all support groups really help with strength in numbers. I'm sure that's why there are groups for weight watchers or alcoholics anonymous exist. There's a sense of accountability that happens when you know other people are out there paying attention and when you know that other people really want to see you succeed then that positivity can really help.


  4. Hello Zee,
    It is interesting that you mentioned that you are friends with the same people from high school and then commented on not having a support system around money until you searched online. I remember my dad used to say something similar to you which was to surround myself with people who are equally as smart or smarter than me, equally driven or more driven than me, etc. The point was to be around people who motivate and inspire you, not bring you down or hold you still. I too have friends from my school days, but I have found that most of my success and drive has come when I was around people who were not those same friends. I have been more inspired by my "adult" friends, so to speak. As for relating to people older than you-I have found that at least in the tech field I know a lot of individuals who are really interested in their finances, read financial blogs, invest, etc. and these people are generally in their mid 20s to mid 30s. The tech industry has allowed younger people to become much more financially secure than in the past, and the internet has allowed people a place to research and understand more about their finances. Now perhaps their goal isn't retirement, but they do save and invest. I say this because perhaps it is not so much that the online community is more supportive, but that this is where you have put your time and energy into meeting these like minded people.

    1. Rags2Riches,

      You really have some great observations to my writing. I can't believe I overlooked the fact that I mentioned my friends from high school but also alluded to that they weren't supportive of my financial views. That's not entirely true on my behalf, yes I'm still great friends with the people I have known since high school. They make my life richer in many, many ways, which is why I would never give them up for anything. I haven't really told many people in my real life about this blog so I can't say if they would or would not be supportive of my efforts, my guess is that they would though.

      But they are not a group of people that I can discuss investing with since I have had a few conversations where investing was mentioned and I heard the response, "I need to start doing that." While I'm sure I could try to help guide them it's really up to them to want to do it first.

      They say you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. I'd rather not push something on my friends that they are not ready to really dive into yet. I know that they are aware that I'm ahead of the game on this so hopefully when the time comes they will reach out to me and I can point them in the right direction.

      While I still have some friends that might need to do a little maturation in some aspects of their lives they still know how to play like it's their job. And that is something I like being around too. Life shouldn't always be to serious.

      I also realize that within the tech industry there are number of people that are interested in their finances. But I've always had a weird relationship with work and friends. I think this could come from my parents who never really hung out with friends from work outside of work. In a way I understand why, I see these people for over 8 hours a day for 5 days a week, I don't necessarily feel like I need to see them in my free time too. I don't doubt that there are people I could find at work that have a similar interest in finances but due to this blog I would much rather they never know about it.

      But you are also right about where I'm investing my time to try to find these people. It's easier to find communities on the internet, all you have to do is search an interest and 'Jackpot!' but in everyday life you have to get to know people and find those common interests after. Also, when it comes to the internet, I'm probably only getting to know one or two sides of a person, I don't necessarily have to know all of them. Some PF bloggers have some great financial ideas but then have other beliefs or views that I don't agree with. Online it's easy for me to tune out the parts I don't agree with whereas in real life I don't know if I can just ignore parts of someones personality.

      Thanks for stopping by!


    2. I am curious how the high school friends will play out in your life once you retire. At that point they may be looking to save while you are now able to, well, play. I guess time will tell.

      I agree with the work thing though. I never really hung out with people from my work either. This was usually because I like to excel and I often found myself in a position of management and that just doesn't mix with people you supervise. Not only that, but work can get messy if you start to really see someone's personality and realize you don't really care for them, then there is this weird tension. Not to mention if you try to date a person from work-Not a good idea in my book of "Having a Drama Free Life".

      On a side note: I currently have a pretty good amount in retirement, but the majority is because my partner put it there. Saving 9% of earnings for the past 8 years and it is matched at 6%. If we were to divorce, I would get 1/2 of that. I would be interested in a post in regard to how retirement/ pension, SS, etc. is affected by divorce because there are ways to protect yourself if you get married and want to protect your retirement. There is also a lot of difficulty if you divorce after 50 (so I've read) and didn't do the work to protect this up front. Food for thought!

    3. Just because I'm not working for money doesn't mean I won't find other things to occupy my time. I may become a master of needlepoint and spend my days crafting (not likely). Or I may volunteer at an animal shelter being a dog walker or puppy socializer (much more likely), so my time would still be occupied, but not by the pursuit of money. I will be able to do the things that I want without the concern of how do I pay my bills every month.

      I know that even if I don't work many of my friends still will so I'll have to find something else for that time. But I don't know if my actual relationships with my friends will change too much, if for some reason they resent me because I was able to sacrafice more early on and give up many conveniences in life that others indulge in then perhaps it wasn't the best friendship anyways.

      I think that all divorces are settled differently depending on your circumstances so I wouldn't really know where to begin. Also social security is based off of an individuals working history, I don't plan to rely on this since I don't plan to work the full 30 something years that is expected for this to pay out in full. To me, anything I get will be bonus play money that I never really planned for. But if you have started taking SS already and then you get divorced I think it may be different than. Once again this is something that I've never really looked into because I never thought I would plan for it.