No, I am not advocating that you go and take pictures of yourself in flirty or provocative poses and post them on Instagram in an effort to draw social media attention to yourself. However, I am advocating that you adopt an “Influencer” state of mind with respect to your investing and personal finances. Pick someone or a group of people that you love and/or respect in the field of finance and conduct your own finances such that you want to influence their own such conduct in a good way.
What Is An Influencer?
Pop culture influencers can get a bad reputation because they can seem self-centered, trendy, and/or not too deep. Yet, while there are bad influencers, there are also good influencers. Someone out there who is advocating a universal good such as being kind and respectful to other people is a good influencer. At their core, and influencer is someone who wants to use the example of their own life experience to attempt to sway other people to act in a similar fashion to their own.
Most people have an idea of what good financial advice consists of and who may have given them some good financial advice in the past. It may be someone in the media, a personal financial advisor or planner, or maybe an older relative such as a parent. Why might you have taken a financial influencer’s advice to heart? Probably because their words or actions over the years have earned your respect. If that is the case, maybe you should try to earn the respect of other people in your own lives, perhaps your own children, and conduct your finances in a way such that they will respect you and that you might influence them to do the right thing when the time comes and a decision has to be made.
In a way, by thinking about how others might look to you as an example when you make financial decisions, as long as you hope that people think of you in a good way, is a less self-centered approach. Rather than thinking just about yourself and what benefit you might accrue by making a new, big purchase, for example, perhaps you should think about what others may think, or even how you want to be a good example to your own kids when you make that purchase. Being more outward-thinking might help to temper your own rashness and make a better decision, which in turn might influence others to think and act more like you.
Example: A New Car
Let’s say you and your spouse need a new vehicle, but you also have multiple children who also have needs. You have ogled at the fancy new German crossover and you try to convince yourself that it would be practical for your family’s transportation. However, the kids are getting more expensive and you know you don’t really need the expensive crossover when a minivan will do the job just fine, maybe even better, at a fraction of the cost. At this point, consider what your own kids might learn if you do go for the German crossover. The kids might take it as a sign that there are no limits or other issues to consider when making spending decisions. The result might be that your family is headed for financial hardship for years to come. On the other hand, if you opt for the minivan, perhaps you might influence your own kids to make practical decisions within their own budgets when they grow up.
A number of social media addicts today see the Influencers that they follow on their platforms and think maybe they take a few of their own selfies that maybe some clothing or makeup company might sign them to a contract to peddle their wares. This isn’t inherently a bad type of influence, but it is not quite what I have in mind when I advocate that you become an Influencer yourself. Instead, I say that you should consider the people you most respect or love and act or make decisions such that you will gain their respect and perhaps be able to influence them now or in the future. Don’t make decisions or take actions in a vacuum. Instead, consider your decisions and actions as to what others will think about them. Such a mindset might cause you to make a better decision for yourself.