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Do you truly know if you are doing ok financially? Well, according to a new survey conducted in October 2013, if you’re a millennial, just ask a friend. Millennials, reportedly, rely on friends’ financial habits to determine their own.

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“Nearly three quarters of 25- to 34-year-olds look to their friends’ financial habits to determine their own,” the survey, released by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Ad Council found. “Two-thirds say they’re stretching to keep up with where their friends live, where they go to eat, what they wear, and what gadgets they carry.” But keeping up doesn’t keep you from falling behind. The survey also suggests:

•40% still need money from mom, dad or other family members to make ends meet

•42% used a credit card to cover necessities in the past year

•34% were contacted by a bill collector in the past year

•25% missed a credit card or other debt payment

Along with these results, the AICPA and Ad Council launched a new series of Feed the Pig public service advertisements to help young women forge their own path to financial security. According to the Feed the Pig, “too many people adopt a ‘tomorrow’ attitude when it comes to their money. Or worse, they panic because yesterday has already come and gone leaving in its wake a whole lot of shoulda, coulda and woulda.”

In an effort to become more financially stable, FTP offers the following tips:

Step 1. Budget your money…because planning is the new spending.

Step 2. Set your goals…it’s how realists make financial dreams come true.

Step 3. Get smart about spending…i.e., avoid overspending and employ comparison spending.

Step 4. Give Uncle Sam his due…with the no-grumble guide to paying taxes.

As many of us tend to share our financial stability only with our closest friends, I find this to survey to hold some validity. I have often times heard stories of the amount of debt carried by some of my girlfriends and have cringed thinking, “Well, my debt isn’t as bad as theirs.”

I have also felt that I was at the time of my life where I should own a home because some of my girlfriends owned homes; I was in my 30s and that is what single girls in their 30s did, they became homeowners! le sigh

So, I have made decisions and have had financial epiphanies based upon where my friends are financially as well. However, here is a nugget of advice. If you are going to compare yourself financially to someone else, sit closer to that girlfriend who is debt-free and/or working towards it, even if she isn’t dining out every evening, wearing a designer shoe or traveling internationally…..yet.

Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.

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