• Shelby Green

Your parents’/friends’ financial advice is probably the worst you’ll receive

Updated: May 7, 2020

Most people go to friends or family instead of going to a professional for financial advice. And although it’s maybe better than nothing, it’s probably not a good idea (unless you have family members who are financial professionals).

Think about it this way. It’s like sitting next to a random person in class and cheating off of their paper. You have no idea if they are qualified to know the answers. You are much better off asking the teacher (a professional) for help.

If one of your friends or members of your family tries to give you financial advice, here are a couple of things to think about first. Before you just take for granted that what they say is correct, ask yourself the following questions.

  1. How are they doing financially? If they are not doing very well themselves in their finances, they are in no position to give you advice about money.

  2. How do you know what they are recommending works? You need proof and facts. Make sure whatever information you accept has been verified and tested, and not just a theory with no actual proof that it works.

This extra step requires some effort. But sometimes as humans we tend to want to do what’s easy; go for the low hanging fruit.

Because it feels easier for us to accept the help of someone we trust and love over a stranger, even if our loved one has no idea what they are talking about.

Easy is safe. It is built into our biology. Our natural instincts always strive to help us to survive. In order to survive, safety is paramount.

Our family and friends provide a space of safety for us. And as modern humans, financial health is one of the core things at the center of our sense of security.

So, in some ‘organic’ way it may appear that it would be natural to take financial advice from our loved ones but... this doesn’t mean it will actually be good for our finances.

If the helper is innocently inaccurate but earnestly wants to help, it still does not equal a happy ending for the one that is being helped. If both of them are in the blind, it’s likely they won’t be able to get the help they actually need. It doesn’t need to be this way, but so many people are currently in this scenario.

A lot of people tend to have opinions and thoughts about things that they haven’t studied, and don’t know much about. Sometimes this is based on snippets of information they have gathered here and there. Passed on kind of like broken-telephone and ends up not making any cohesive sense.

If you don’t take these precautions and do end up taking the advice of unqualified family or friends - chances are you will end up hurting yourself more than helping yourself.

Let me ask you an honest question. Would you take the advice of your friends over the word of doctors and lawyers when it comes to health and the law? (If your friends were not doctors or lawyers.)

Of course not. So why do this with your finances?

It seems like basic common sense advice to tell someone that it’s in their best interest to listen to a professional vs. listening to the advice of someone who has no training or knowledge on a subject.

But our biological nature has a way of tricking our common-sense brain in the wrong direction.

We can see this playing out in our lives every day in so many mundane little ways.

Let's take your parents for example. Have they ever been wrong?

Do they always know what they’re talking about? No. And sometimes, even though they may not be qualified in a certain subject matter, they might still try to give you an answer anyway. Because they care about you and want to help.

It is well-intended, but it may not be well-informed.

This doesn’t mean that you have to invite an impersonal professional into your personal financial matters, and give them over your power either! Nothing of this sort is necessary.

You can totally find someone who has your best interest at heart AND is a financial professional. Who can work with you, and take care of you with great discernment and knowledge - not give you more stress.

But whatever you do - seek beyond your family unit for consultation on your finances.

You spend so much of your time and energy taking care of others. It’s important that you are being supported in the key aspects of your health and well-being too. Your finances are a part of that.

If you ever need someone to show you how to get started, and give you the support you need to get on the right track, I provide free financial health assessments for nurses and NPs. And if you like, you can book your complimentary consultation here.

No matter who you work with, what matters is that you get the support that serves you best.

Here’s to your financial success.

Shelby Green

Founder of S|A|G Financial Group

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