HOW TO HANDLE MAKING MORE—OR LESS—MONEY THAN YOUR FRIENDS | Kanebridge News
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HOW TO HANDLE MAKING MORE—OR LESS—MONEY THAN YOUR FRIENDS

By JULIA CARPENTER
Fri, Feb 9, 2024 12:20pmGrey Clock 4 min

Over the past year, I’ve watched as one friend lost a job, another scored a life-changing bonus, two took huge pay cuts and yet another sold a home at a large profit. As for me, my financial life sort of stayed the same. But what did all this mean for my friendships?  An individual change in someone’s financial situation can have ripple effects throughout our greater social groups and wider peer networks, researchers and therapists say. One person’s financial loss and another’s sudden windfall can affect the ways in which we stay connected with our friends, and fights about money can lead to personal money problems or even friend breakups.

“The perception is ‘Oh, we’re on the same path,’ and as you get older, that’s not the case,” says Blake Blankenbecler , a financial therapist and friendship educator. “There is space to talk about it with your friends. But can it be cringy to talk about? Yes. Is it important to talk about? Yes.”

Humans typically gravitate toward people who are similar to us in some way, and we cling to that sense of similarity as the friendship grows and changes, says Rebecca Adams , professor of social work at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Individual privileges like family money, inherited wealth and more don’t always mean that perception is accurate, of course; but at the onset of a friendship, this sameness breeds closeness.

A growing divide

When we meet in college (as I met the folks now making up one of my oldest and dearest friend groups) or deskside at a job (how I bonded with two of my newer besties) we perceive ourselves to be on equal financial footing with the people we hold close. We chased down bargain-store deals and planned ad hoc dinner parties of rent-week leftovers. During an internship in New York, my best friend and I crammed together in the world’s tiniest sublet, subsisting off Trader Joe’s coupons and our dreams for the future.  But more than a decade removed from those days, our financial lives have branched in all sorts of different directions. As we grow—or not—in our respective careers, these gaps in income and wealth will only widen, says Rhaina Cohen , a podcast producer and author of the coming book on friendship, “The Other Significant Others.” But we’re also loathe to change our behaviour or discuss how these individual ups and downs will affect the glue holding the friend group together.

“In my early mid-20s, people were pretty open about what they could and couldn’t afford, and things being expensive, but I think as people have risen up the career ladder, there is less conversation about that,” Cohen says. “The awkwardness of acknowledging that people are in really different places keeps people from having those conversations. But as we get older, these divides are more likely to crop up.”

Opening up the conversation

More often than not, the friend who’s suffered a financial setback feels the burden of communicating their new needs to the group—but doing so can be much, much harder to put in practice.  Ashley Appelman , a 36-year-old living in Washington, D.C., took a significant pay cut after making a big career transition a few years back. At the time, her social calendar stayed packed with numerous friends’ weddings and bachelorette parties. Rather than bow out of these commitments or suggest cheaper alternatives, she decided that putting flights on her credit card and forgoing her savings goals was worth avoiding awkward conversations and pitiful glances.

“You don’t want to disappoint people,” she says. “I have given into so many things where I didn’t really have the budget, and I just did it.”

In her four decades of financial advising, Eileen Freiburger , managing director of the Garrett Planning Network, says she has often seen people’s behaviour change after a big money move in either direction. The friend in a lower-paying job finds themselves spending far outside their means, or the pal with more in the bank feels guilty after picking the expensive restaurant for dinner.

“Who you surround yourself with and your own value system will actively impact the next stages of how you handle your money,” Freiburger says. “Are you picking up those tabs because suddenly you can? Are you trying to spend with the Joneses?”

From her perspective, she has seen immense value in holding on to people who can ground you in your original values system, the rules you lived by before these “life happens” moments rocked your financial life. Sometimes, these people are the old friends from before; other times, they’re new friends you make after.

Finding the path forward

Financial advisers and friendship educators agree: Whichever side of the financial divide you now find yourself, the way forward for many true friendships is having more open, honest conversations about money and how it affects our relationships.  These don’t have to be scary or stilted discussions, Cohen says, and they don’t have to happen in overtly formal, intimidating settings.

She recommends using a real-life example to open up a bigger conversation. For instance, if you’re buying tickets to an event, ask your friend how much money they plan to spend and why. That, in turn, can kick off a much deeper conversation about your relative finances. Cohen recommends a thoughtful line that struck me as especially empathetic and easy: “What would be helpful from me to make sure we’re on the same page about what we do together and how we spend money?’”

“There is so much that goes unsaid in friendship,” she says. “What I would want people to do is talk, to have open conversations with their friends about big transitions and big differences.”

Personally, I’ve been the friend in both positions: the richer friend and the definitely-not-rich one.  I recently passed on a luxe vacation with one set of dear friends. I agonised over the decision, fantasising about suddenly finding a great flight deal or stumbling upon a can’t-miss hotel deal. After enough hours staring at travel booking sites, though, I knew my budget just couldn’t stomach it. And even though my friends understood—and of course they did! They’re good friends for a reason!—I had to hype myself up to send the “Hey guys, I’ve been thinking about our trip…” text.

Admitting I had to back out felt like a tiny failure, like I wasn’t as committed to the friendship as I had been in years past.  But when another pal recently took a large pay cut as she pursued a more demanding—and lower-paying—career, I found myself on the other side of the table. After a handful of conversations about her reduced salary and inflexible schedule, I remembered my own struggle to send that text. I took the initiative to bring up the new discrepancy, suggesting we move our usual dinner-and-drinks hangouts to a lower-key TV night in.  Six months later, I have to say: Both of our budgets are happier for it.



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Saudi Arabia’s 2024 Summer TOURISM Plans Unveils New Incentives and Global Attractions

“Saudi Summer is Next Door” plans to boost tourism in the Kingdom over four months across seven destinations.

Wed, May 22, 2024 4 min

Saudi Arabia has unveiled its plan to attract international tourists this summer. The strategy includes appealing visa options, complimentary airline tickets for families, a lineup of major events, and opportunities for tax-free shopping.

The initiative, organized under the guidance of Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), is named “Saudi Summer is Next Door.”

Jeddah

Extensive Summer 2024 Tourism Activities

The initiative will span four months, ending in September, and will be hosted across seven key destinations: Aseer, Al Baha, Taif, the Red Sea, Jeddah, Riyadh, and AlUla.

It features over 550 tourism products and more than 150 specially tailored offers and packages for families and various interest groups including adventure enthusiasts, luxury seekers, and cultural and heritage buffs.

The launch event of the Saudi Summer Program 2024 was attended by notable figures such as Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, in addition to more than 250 key partners from both public and private sectors, prominent media personalities, and influential opinion leaders.

Showcasing Global Events and Cultural Richness

This year’s program will also welcome back the Jeddah Season and introduce the Aseer Season, each filled with various activities and events for families. The Kingdom will host several significant events as part of the summer program, including the first Esports World Cup in Riyadh, an eight-week competition featuring top esports athletes, and various boxing tournaments in Riyadh and Jeddah.

During the event, Al Khateeb highlighted the latest global tourism trends, the Kingdom’s growth in the tourism sector, and the record-high tourist numbers that have propelled Saudi Arabia to the top of the UN World Tourism list and the G20 nations list.

Al Baha

Al Khateeb emphasized, “Saudi Arabia is witnessing a transformative period in tourism, driven by our vision to position the Kingdom as a premier global destination. The Saudi Summer Program 2024 is our commitment to showcasing the rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and unparalleled hospitality that Saudi Arabia offers. “We invite local and international tourists to experience the diversity of our seven unique destinations and take advantage of the exceptional offers and packages designed to create unforgettable memories. “This initiative, supported by our strategic partnerships and groundbreaking efforts like the eVisa and increased flight connectivity, demonstrates our dedication to making Saudi Arabia more accessible and appealing to tourists worldwide. “We look forward to welcoming visitors from all corners of the globe to explore and enjoy the vibrant experiences that await them this summer.”

Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, also remarked, “Saudi tourism is witnessing unparalleled development at all levels, achieving great leaps in recent years, which I witnessed during my multiple visits to this hospitable country.”

Riyadh

“Saudi Arabia has global indicators related to the number of tourists, which has qualified it to top the UN World Tourism list of significant tourist destinations.”

“All of these great achievements for Saudi tourism would not have been possible without proper planning by those in charge of the sector in the Kingdom and the great potential it possesses in terms of diverse climates, stunning natural landmarks, and the generosity of Saudi people who are distinguished by their hospitality, raising the ceiling of ambitions for new achievements.”

STA CEO Fahd Hamidaddin said: “While temperatures in the region rise to high levels during summer, temperatures in the highlands of Saudi Arabia in the southern region decrease to the extent that we even witnessed snowfall in Al Soudah yesterday.” “Through the promotional campaign for the Saudi Summer Program 2024, we seek to highlight the uniqueness of our destinations and their climatic, natural, and cultural diversity, along with the exceptional events and activities happening during summer. “This year’s summer program includes more than 550 tourism products and 150 special offers designed in collaboration with STA’s partners, which include attractive offers from hotels, airlines offering free tickets for children in partnership with major travel, tourism, and aviation companies, and exceptional products in the Aseer Season and Jeddah Season like tax-free shopping offers and many new and exciting experiences such as private beaches for tourists and ladies’ beaches.”

“The campaign slogan “Saudi Summer is Next Door” embodies an open invitation to explore the magic of Saudi destinations and their diversity. This diversity is expressed with simple words that reflect the uniqueness of each destination, such as “Closer,” “Cooler,” “More Beautiful,” and “More Affordable.”

The private sector is a very important component of the success of tourism programs and initiatives, and the Saudi Tourism Authority is committed to empowering it by fostering demand for products and offers that align with the aspirations of tourists globally.

The launch of the Saudi Summer Program 2024 marks a period when visiting the Kingdom has become easier, smoother, and safer through measures such as the availability of the eVisa to citizens of 66 countries, a 20 percent reduction in eVisa prices, and a significant increase in the number of weekly flights from

Gulf cities to Saudi summer destinations, now totaling 1,100.

Residents of the GCC can also benefit from the GCC residents visa, which allows them multiple entries and a stay of up to 90 days in the Kingdom over a year. Moreover, the number of hotel rooms available to travelers is set to increase, with an additional 25,000 rooms expected to be added this year.

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