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How to Plan a Trip or Dinner with Friends of Different Income Levels

Over the summer, a TikTok post by investor Tom Cruise made its way to Twitter, where it went viral. In a video that has since been deleted (it’s protected on twitterHowever), Cruz explains how he and his fellow wealthy people plan their luxury vacations.

in the clipCruise shows a spreadsheet that outlines each friend’s respective income – his highest-earning friend makes $5 million per year while his “poor” friend, “Brock Bob”, draws in about $125,000 a year — Their allotted PTO, how much they’re willing to spend on a trip and their gambling habits.

The spreadsheet, obnoxiously titled “Forbes Friend List,” got people talking. Sure, the rich-man antics in general are amusing, and Cruise was no exception, but there was something more to it: If you’ve ever endured the lawless stress of planning a group trip, you’ve seen the video. And thought, “Wow, that’s a really cool idea.”

These awkward moments—where one friend makes significantly more money than the others or one friend can’t sustain financially—are incredibly common among mixed-income friends and family members. (Sometimes it’s the dinner plans that are stressful. Not everyone can afford a cool $200 for small plates and several rounds of drinks.)

Mishana, a 27-year-old software sales account executive who lives in North Carolina, thought the video was mouth-watering, but she also found it: She travels about once a month (in her spare time, she travels as a travel guide). blogger) and participates in this issue with her friends all the time.

She’ll start planning a trip where everyone is game, then narrow the group down to a handful of people as the trip draws to a close. (Mishana, who only asked to use her first name for privacy, said she earns significantly more than her friends, most of whom work in retail, quality control, and customer support roles.)

She told HuffPost, “Before COVID shut everything down, I had planned a birthday group trip to Bali and the group started with six or seven friends and ended with just two of us Was.” (With this particular trip, the tardiness of his friends was also to blame – four people arrived at the airport but two missed their flights.)

Given all the money-related drama in her time, Mishana is more inclined to do solo trips these days.

“I also have travel friends with whom I travel, but we don’t have much relationships outside of travel,” she said.

Openly discuss what you can afford before making a reservation at the pricey new Italian hotspot in your neighborhood.

Nyka, a 22-year-old student in New York, said that on her most recent trips, everyone was able to afford the hotel and flight upfront costs, but one person didn’t bring enough cash to do anything. Hotel stay. (Nika did its due diligence and asked everyone what they were comfortable spending before the trip.)

“I, along with everyone else, took care of it because we wouldn’t let a friend miss dinner or go out,” she told HuffPost. “But the people on the trip were immediately irritated.”

When the group came back, Nayaka said she had a heart-to-heart with the cash-strapped friend.

“They told me they were too embarrassed to say they didn’t have enough money to spend,” she said. “The thing is, my friend group didn’t mind covering her; The main issue was the lack of honest communication. He’s never said anything before and it surprised us.”

Daria Viktorov, financial advisor at Abacus Wealth, said, although it’s frustrating to have a friend who’s been called upon to find another, it’s just as hard – if not harder – to feel like they’ve ever been Can’t afford travel or night. partner.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have my income go up a lot in my career, but I’ve been in a different position as well,” she told HuffPost. “My own experiences have inspired me to explore ways to ensure that others don’t have similar feelings of shame or anxiety.”

Below, he and other money experts share their best advice for making sure pay disparities like these don’t come up between you and your besties.

Be transparent about your expectations and budget from the very beginning.

Jump on a Zoom Hangout or prefer Cheese and Wine Night to discuss budget, expectations, and activities ahead of time. (To get the most out of the get-together, encourage everyone to do a little research beforehand so they can voluntarily choose hotel suggestions and restaurants. Maybe even start some shared Pinterest boards.)

Be inclusive. Ready Everyone As budget expert Andrea Voroch said, you might think you like to go, and not just people you know can swing it financially.

“This initial planning session allows for transparency and helps everyone feel included rather than one friend from the get-go because you believe they won’t be able to afford it,” she told HuffPost. “Throw it out there and let your friends make their financial decisions.

At the beginning of the trip planning process, jump on Zoom or meet in person to discuss each person's budget and expectations for the trip.

Luis Alvarez via Getty Images

At the beginning of the trip planning process, jump on Zoom or meet in person to discuss each person’s budget and expectations for the trip.

Use Google Docs and yes, use a spreadsheet like the rich guy mentioned above.

In-person planning sessions are great, but try to coordinate costs and budgets ahead of time in a digital format, for example, by private message or Google Sheets, Viktorov said.

“It would give people a chance to answer and think about it in privacy and not commit to something they would later regret,” she said.

Don’t put yourself in debt just to keep up with your better-paid or more affluent friends.

It can be really tempting to say “yes” to every birthday dinner and trip, but be realistic about what you can afford.

Patrice Washington, a public speaker, said, “It’s natural to be attracted to the things a friend may have, but that doesn’t mean you should try to maintain their lifestyle, especially when they are completely be in a different tax bracket than and host of the podcast “Redefining Wealth with Patrice Washington.”

If you overextend yourself, you can easily get into debt in the long run.

“The debt my clients get comes from buying stuff they didn’t really need before, like shoes, purses, jewelry, home improvements, travel, and expensive cars,” Washington said. “While we work toward getting to the root of why they make purchases they don’t need and can’t afford, those who are honest are usually a close girlfriend, family member or neighbor. Mention what the customer wanted.”

If you are a friend who is struggling with money, then give suggestions that will work for you.

Conversations about income can be extremely uncomfortable, but luckily, you don’t always have to be explicit when it comes to discussing your money limits, Washington said.

“Even if you don’t want to go into too many details about your own situation, don’t be afraid to suggest alternative, cheaper hang-out options,” she said. “You can search for the best cheap eats in your city, or have your friends check out the brand new thrift stores you’ve found.”

If you know you're short on cash compared to your friends, it might not be a big deal for you to deposit some more when the bill comes.

Vladimir Vladimirov via Getty Images

If you know you’re short on cash compared to your friends, it might not be a big deal for you to deposit some more when the bill comes.

If you can swing it then incur some extra costs.

A flight and a $400-a-night hotel room mean different things to different people. If you know you’re short on cash compared to your friends, it might not be a big deal to hoard a little more money so that your money-strapped friend can travel.

“I think some friends and family who earn more than others may be willing to cover more costs, so discuss this with your group or decide whether you want to work on your own or those people. who are in a more comfortable position,” Voroch said. “For example, on one trip, my friends and I were prepared to split the cost of the hotel so that our other girlfriend could travel with us.”

But beware of IOUs.

It’s great to be generous, but be careful about IOUs between friends, especially if it becomes a habit. You don’t want to create awkward tension with friends who owe you money or vice versa.

“Getting into the regular habit of lending or borrowing money can create tension between family and friends,” Voroch said. “It’s better to split the bill directly on the table or pay for each of your plane tickets.”

Give friends options and the ability to choose or opt out of parts of the itinerary.

It would be great if travel planning was a collaborative effort, but let’s face it: It usually doesn’t happen. If you’re a real travel planner or that rare type of friend who Love Planning to (bless!) Give your friends a whole raft of options.

Take potential housing, for example. When Viktorov is the chief planner of a group trip, she usually makes three choices that range in location, amenities, and cost, and then gets a feel for her friends’ preferences.

“It is also worth considering alternative modes of transport,” she said. “It may not work for all destinations, but if possible, one way to save on travel is driving versus flying.”

Viktorov also fully opt-in or opt-out of activities planned for the trip.

“I always try to create itineraries with different activities so that there is no pressure on everyone to do everything together and spend the same amount,” she said. “For example, maybe some people will go on a hike because it’s free versus a food tour or boat rental, which can cost $100 or more per person.”

If, over time, you notice that you have a friend who can’t come on trips and you suspect it’s finance-related, make it a point to plan a few trips that won’t break the bank, Viktorov he said. Not every trip has to be international—even “Real Housewives” head to Bravo Go camping or weekend spa getaways every now and then.

The same goes for planning dinner. You can continue to make reservations at every expensive Michelin-starred restaurant in your city, but do the occasional taco truck and movie night.

Inclusivity is the name of the game here. to strengthen Everyone Being included and considered in your friend group is worth much more than a trip to St. Tropez that you can always go on separately.

Friendships have their ups and downs throughout our lives, but these days, it can feel like they are everything they go through. The Friend Zone is a HuffPost series that takes a look at the nature of our friendships and what we can do to maintain and strengthen them—plus, how to know when it’s time to let them go.

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