You’ve probably heard it said that your net worth is the probably the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time. Is this true for you?

Look around you. Who are your five closest friends, family, or business acquaintances? With whom to you spend the most time at work, or on evenings, weekends, and holidays. Notice whose company takes up the bulk of your time.

You probably have a good idea of the income level of all these folks. Chances are they are in a similar tax bracket to you.

Pay attention.

Here are a couple of exercises you can do to see how the people you associate affect your income:

  • Pay attention to the language they use around the subject of money. Do phrases like, “sky high prices”, “I can’t afford that”, or “that’s too expensive” pepper their conversations?
  • Pay attention to your own language when you’re around them, and when you’re not. Do you say the same things, or think the same way?
  • Pay attention to what they value. Are they spending money on short-term pleasures like the latest toys, or social events like partying but don’t have enough money for a better car or lessons for their kids? Does anyone talk about saving, investing, or giving?

What do you value?

It’s far easier to go along with your crowd than to choose a different path. But if you don’t know what you truly value and have never taken time to consider what you really want to do with your money, you will drift with the crowd and continue to stay in the same boat.

Pick a different crowd.

Perhaps you realize that what you want from your life is different from what your friends want but you continue to spend time with them because you always have. If you want to change your financial trajectory, you may have to face the fact that it’s time to find new friends.

What you need to do now is decide what level of financial success you want for your life. Then start looking for a new crowd. They may be found at local business functions, service groups, or networking clubs.

Join and get to know people.

You may have to limit the time you spend with your old friends to occasionally, or not at all. It depends on how determined you are to change your life.

The important thing to remember is that you need to hang around people who will cheer you on, not the ones who will hold you back.

When you pay attention to how your relationships impact your bottom line, it becomes obvious who will lift you up and who will keep you down.

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