A lot of my friends contact me regarding financial advice because they know how passionate I am about finances and investing. But literally every single time they do, they always challenge me on the advice or accuse me of being completely wrong. In my younger days I would debate/argue with them but now I just smile and nod, while I let them tell me what they already know. They don’t want advice, they just want confirmation that they’re making the right decisions. I know it’s not the right thing a “friend” should do but I have found that this method conserves friendships while my other method destroyed them.
It absolutely baffles my mind how many people moan and gripe about their financial situation. Yet they never accept any sound financial advice that is given to them.
So today I want to write an open letter to those seeking financial advice in hopes that they will break out of their vicious cycle preventing them from achieving the financial knowledge they need in order to achieve their desired goals.
How do you obtain financial wisdom? How in the world can you improve your financial situation and/or your financial IQ?
In order to obtain financial wisdom, it is going to require massive and I mean MASSIVE amounts of humility. But please understand that humility does not come naturally, for some reason we are programmed to believe we are always right.
I want you to think about something for a minute. When you see a humble person compared to an arrogant person, which of the two do you find incredibly repulsive? The arrogant person right?! Yet there is something in most of us that wants to guard our opinions, defend our beliefs, while never being wrong and always being right. We either push back overtly or covertly, heck some people even do the whole passive aggressive thing. But I think you will agree that it is extremely difficult to submit ourselves to other people because it requires an extreme amount of humility.
So in order to obtain or receive wisdom you need to understand that wisdom leads to humility which actually leads to greater wisdom. Let me put it another way for you. When ever I meet a person who lacks humility, they typically lack wisdom. Because the only way to gain wisdom is to:
- Be open to new things
- Be open to the fact that you might be wrong
Hold your assumptions about all things out in the open and say…
- “Here is what I know”
- “Here is what I believe”
- “Here is what I’ve always thought”
- “But you know what I’m always open to learning something new.”
Only an arrogant person says “I know everything there is to know and I’m never wrong!” We’ve all met some of those people, in fact chances are you were that person at some point in time in your life. I certainly was, I knew everything about everything and I was never ever wrong. That’s part of the reason it took my wife so long to go out on a date with me 😉
But at some point you grow up enough to realize that you’re not as smart as you thought you were. Because if you were as smart as you thought you were you would be where you wanted to be. The only way to gain any sort of wisdom is to live with an open mind and tell yourself on a daily basis “There is more to learn, there is more knowledge to gain, and there is more understanding to acquire.” Your days of learning will never ever cease, if you acquire this mindset you will find that you learn something new every single day.
How to Apply This in Your Life
I believe that I am incredibly intelligent when it comes to personal finances and investing. In fact I am willing to bet that I have far greater knowledge than the average individual. With that being said no matter who it is, if somebody offers me a piece of free financial advice I always take the time to listen. No matter what! Sometimes the person is absolutely wrong and sometimes I actually learn something. But what often happens is the person will provide knowledge on a topic that I am already familiar with, further validating my beliefs.
On the flip hand side when I offer advice or if one of my friends discovers I have this blog. They’ll ask me what qualifies me to give financial advice or what university I attended in order to learn about finance. Basically they want to know why they should take advice from me, and now that I think about it, it’s not such an outlandish question. But my point is that instead of trying to validate my credentials they should be considerate, impartial, and sincere while listening to what I have to say. Then step back for a moment and consider the information they just received.
If you did this one simple thing I guarantee your financial I.Q. would increase dramatically. I can say this with extreme confidence because I do it everyday with other personal finance bloggers. I don’t always agree with everything they have to say but I am open to hearing what they have to say. Here are some of the best financial posts from this week:
- 7 Ways to Lower My Tax Bill
- The Happiest Homes in the World
- Why You’ll Never Be Rich: The American Dream Is Dead
- How To Be A Capitalist
- Norfolk Southern Dividend Stock Analysis
Have you had any similar experiences? Have you ever tried to get through to a friend or family member who just wasn’t trying to hear it?