Finance Stoic 29 – Does my social circle make me better or worse?

Daily Stoic Quote 1

Above all, keep a close watch on this – that you are never so tied to your former acquaintances and friends that you are pulled down to their level. If you don’t you’ll be ruined…You must choose whether to be loved by these friends and remain the same person, or to become a better person at the cost of those friends…if you try to have it both ways you will neither make progress nor keep what you once had.

Epictetus, Discourses, 4.2.1;4-5

Daily Stoic Quote 2

From good people you’ll learn good, but if you mingle with the bad you’ll destroy such soul as you had.

Musonius Rufus, Quoting Theognis of Megara, Lectures, 11.53.21-22

Daily Stoic Question

Does my social circle make me better or worse?

Daily Finance Stoic Response

I chose my friends well.

When you work at a big 4 accounting firm people tend to both be in relationships, and form close friendships, with colleagues, which happens when you spend a lot of time with the same people. It also happens when most of those people share the same values, work ethics and long term goals.

A challenge with the firm is that many people I knew, me included, lost many of the friendships we had before we started, because of the hours we tended to work. That is, we only tended to work and did not have time for life outside the office. But, if the friends we had at that stage of life were not making us better, then we may have been best without them. While, if the friends we had at that stage of life were making us better, then losing them was unfortunate.

As our friendships at the firm expanded, we had fewer friends outside the firm. Each year, with new starts in the firm, our friendship circle would expand.  While we added people to the group, we also dropped people who proved not to be true friends. Those that have remained long-term have attributes that I consider consistent with the FIRE community:

  1. Hard workers
  2. Career driven
  3. Team players
  4. Selfless with friends
  5. Willing to help others

These are people that I would setup with my sister if she were single. People that would reach out to family or friends to help you if you had a medial issue.

In the past year, I have added a friend that pushes me to the next level, and vice versa. We meet a couple times a week for exercise and conversation, and discuss career, entrepreneurship, and life. we’ve discussed our roles at the companies we are at and the potential to start a business together.

Implications on financial independence

Some of my friends live a life that is consistent with a financial independence lifestyle; however, others are more liberal with spending.

As I continue to strive for financial independence, I will need to ensure that I am able to insulate myself from the spending and continue to improve our savings rate.

Remember the people you surround yourself with are the people who will determine your future.

Until next time,


Finance Stoic

2 thoughts on “Finance Stoic 29 – Does my social circle make me better or worse?

  1. Very insightful post. One of the challenges I face as I get older is making new friends. It is a challenge for most men because they become so focused on career and family. I’m lucky that my partner keeps me grounded and pushes me to be more social. The funny thing is, I’ve created a whole new friend group since I discovered FI. I have a small group of folks at work where we geek out over finances and the economy. And the more I talk about finances openly with people, I attract those wanting to know more. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and look forward to reading more.


    1. As we age and have families, it’s harder and harder to make friends like you did when younger. I think passions and hobbies are a couple spots that help you to do so. Thanks for dropping by.


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