The awkwardly funny 90’s British sitcom, ‘Keeping Up Appearances’, is about Hyacinth Bucket’s (pronounced Bouquet) life mission to impress neighbours – and everyone else she meets.
When it comes to money, there is a lot of Keeping Up Appearances going on as well.
A change in circumstances often causes this phenomenon. The loss of a job, business downturn or a breakdown in a relationship. The money just isn’t there, but you don’t want to let those in your social circle know that you’re not as flush as you once were.
So, you carry on doing what you have been and hope that things will sort themselves out. The reality is, often they don’t and you end up going from bad to worse, which results in more debt. And that can be hard to come back from.
It effects all income earners
Keeping Up Appearances with your money is something that effects all income earners, from those on the Living wage to the high rollers. It’s all about meeting the expectations of others and your perception of how you want to be seen by others.
Keeping Up Appearances is closely aligned with ‘Keeping Up with the Joneses’. You peer over your neighbour’s fence and the green monster awakens in you. This can be driven by the, “I work hard so I deserve to have anything I want (whether I can afford it or not)” thought process. Or spending solely to maintain your social status.
The problem is, both phenomenons are putting your own financial wellbeing in jeopardy (and possibly you existence) when you have no idea of the circumstances in other peoples’ lives. For all you know the Joneses are broke!
Yes, it is hard to be the ‘bad guy’ and have to tell your children they can’t do all the activities they want or have the latest cool tech gadgets and the more fad clothes. You don’t want to feel as if you are letting your children down. Then there is the fear of what they might say to their friends and then it gets back to their parents.
As parents we want to be able to give our children the best of everything, just as our parents did with us. But there are times and circumstances when that just isn’t’ possible.
To counter this, have a money conversation with them that is age appropriate. You don’t need to pull out spreadsheets or discuss your household finances, but you can engage them in the process of changing spending behaviours and be honest with them about why.
As a parent, all this may seem a huge task but stick with it! When you see your children set up for life because of what you have taught them, it will be worth it.
Being the ostrich and not wanting to face your change in circumstances also leads to Keeping Up Appearances. We often see this in relationship breakups. One partner will carry on as if nothing has changed but their income is now stretched or even diminished.
A major life event is a very emotional time
We only have so much bandwidth in our brain to cope and quite often looking at our finances is a low priority when you are dealing with a myriad of other life issues.
Pulling your head out of the sand is the only way to deal with the ostrich. This can be difficult and a little humbling as your pride, self esteem and your confidence all take a hit. Having to cut back your spending (even if only temporarily) can add to the feeling of failure.
When you are in this space, get help from experts who can help you put a money plan in place. You may have to swallow your pride and tell those you are close to about the change in circumstances. They are probably sensing something is going on anyway and are waiting for you to ask for help, or they may offer help and support right off the bat.
The longer you Keep Up Appearances the more stress you put on yourself and your family. This stress can negatively impact your health, your relationships and your ability to generate the income you need to recover.
If you feel you are either, Keeping Up with the Joneses or Keeping Up Appearances, then you need to look at your numbers and take stock of where you are now. Ask yourself what small changes you could make today to stop going backwards?
You don’t want to get to the point where you are having to make obvious and significant changes, when that happens everyone will know that you have been Keeping Up Appearances.
If you are serious about discovering ways to change your behaviour so you can reach your financial goals and build a happy and successful life, then drop us an email or click on this link to find a day and time that suits you to have a chat with us. Best of all – it’s free!