The 11 Types of Financial Friends

Having friends is an essential part of life. Not only are they there for support, laughs, and occasional late-night texting about how overrated adult life can be, but they also serve an important financial function — giving you a front-row look into how other people do money.

Despite the fact that we all have different friends, I suspect many of us have the same types of friends — at least where money is concerned. Below is my totally unscientific (and yet seriously accurate) list of the kinds of friends everyone will have at least once in their adult lives.

1: The “How Does She Do It?” Friend

This friend has a lifestyle that totally doesn’t match what you think her income is. She’s my friend K., an elementary school teacher who gets bi-weekly massages and drives a Lexus. She spends a part of every summer in France, while I stay home wondering if she has massive credit card debt, family money, or some sort of anonymous benefactor.

2: The “Suddenly He’s a Math Major” Friend

This friend pays his share — and ONLY his share — when you go for a group dinner. He’ll calculate his part of the bill down to the penny and tips exactly 16 percent every time. Some people find this friend annoying, but as a non-drinker who dislikes splitting the tab when everyone else gets wine, I can’t hate on this guy.

3: The “Whoa, Is She Rich?” Friend

My friend J. lives in a 1,500-square-foot house, drives a 10-year-old car, and loves to shop at the thrift store. She cuts her own hair and her biggest splurge is her family’s yearly membership at the science museum. She recently mentioned in passing that her financial advisor said that if she and her husband die within the next ten years the inheritance for her kids would be more than a million dollars. Wait, what now? I always knew she was frugal but I had no idea she was a millionaire.

4: The “I Saw This and Thought of You” Friend

This friend shows up for lunch with a shirt she saw at the store and thought would look cute on you. After you have lunch she grabs the check and, if you protest, tells you to take care of the tip and you can call it even. She is effortlessly generous and inspires you to be the same.

5: The “Family Money” Friend

He may be 35, but he’s still on his parents’ cellphone plan. His vacations are always to the family cabin, the family Europe trip, or the Disney cruise paid for by Mom and Dad. Does this friend have student loans? Of course not! His parents handled that too. This friend inspires both jealousy and judgment. (Dude, you have a job and a receding hairline. Maybe it’s time to pay your own car insurance?)

6: The “Financial Train Wreck” Friend

This friend is always broke. They’ve got credit card debt in the five figures and are one car repair away from being late with the rent. This is the friend that makes you rethink how you feel about lending money to people. You love them, but you also know that you are for sure going to be picking up the check when you go out for brunch.

7: The “Financial Nerd” Friend

This friend loves to talk about money. She’s got opinions about which budgeting system is best and will talk your ear off about why indexed mutual funds are the way to go. She’s got an emergency savings fund and a retirement fund and knows exactly what her credit score is. Given that you are reading this on The Billfold, there is a very good chance that YOU are this friend.

8: The “Bad Ideas” Friend

This friend just signed up for the latest multi-level marketing company and is about to start trying to sell you leggings on Facebook. She leases her car, has an adjustable rate mortgage, loves her annual vacation at the time-share, and probably bought Beanie Babies “as an investment” back in the day. If you are a type 7, this friendship is STRESSFUL.

9: The “You Should Get It” Friend

This friend can talk you into getting that cute-but-pricey sweater by pointing out that it’s totally on sale and that cashmere is a classic for a reason and that you’ve always looked beautiful in teal. She is great for your self-esteem and terrible for your budget.

10: The “Budget Ninja” Friend

She clips coupons like a boss. Her favorite color is Target clearance sticker orange. She’s knows exactly which credit card to use to get the most points for every purchase. She always remembers to use Ebates before buying things online and is a rewards/perks/points member everywhere she shops. She even remembers to bring her little punch card so her tenth coffee is free. If there is a way to save money, she is already doing it and has the referral code to share with you.

11: The “It’s Not Polite” Friend

This friend visibly stiffens if the conversation turns to money. He’d rather walk on glass than reveal what his salary is. Friend types 6 and 7 stress him out because both of them will probably want to talk about money, even though it just isn’t polite.

If, as a result of reading this list, you realize you are a 4, please feel free to send me a friend request. I’ve always got room in my life for more 4s and 7s!

Wendy Robinson is on Twitter as @wendyrmonkey and is usually a 7 but can turn into a 9 at Nordstrom Rack. She aspires to be a 3 someday.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash.

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