Broke People – Stop Giving Me Financial Advice!
|May 21, 2012||Posted by Roshawn Watson under Uncategorized|
Dear Frugal Reader,
We’ve all heard it before: admonishments from broke (or soon-to-be broke) people telling us how we should spend OUR money. How often have you heard some variation of the following: “Don’t buy this kind of car; you should at least be driving that,” “You should live in this kind of house,” “Why don’t you go here for vacation?” The list goes on. My personal finance journey has lead me to keep others’ opinions out of my wallet. Here are 4 reasons to not allow broke people to influence your financial decisions.
When broke people start to make fun of your financial plan, you know you are on the right track. Dave Ramsey
They Don’t See Risks That You See
One of the biggest personal changes for us has been our decreased risk tolerance with respect to money management. First, illusions of security dissipated. For example, if you are in a traditional job, no amount of education or experience can guarantee you won’t be dismissed the following day. You’re constantly interviewing for your job. Of course, this awareness naturally leads one to not only work harder but also look for additional sources of income. Also, we could see how even relatively small missteps could derail future plans, so we began to value a fully-funded emergency fund above jet-setting, keeping up appearances, or owning the latest toy. For example, a sizable 42% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and 75% of Americans are a mere 3 paychecks away from bankruptcy. Essentially, our awareness of our precarious positions changed. It’s hard to unring this bell. Believe me, the burden of enlightenment can reduce frivolous spending like nothing else.
Tell the opinionated broke person: “Forgive me if I don’t spend like I have never known a care in the world. My awakening didn’t occur overnight, and I don’t expect for you to understand. I do ask that you respect that perhaps I have a better appreciation of the threats to my own financial solvency, comfort, and independence than you.”
Related Article: Broke People Afford Everything!
You Have Plans That They Don’t Realize
I rarely discuss stretch goals (a.k.a. really high goals). When I do, the conversations are typically with people who can offer some insights into achieving them. Opinions are like noses. Everyone has them, and most have two holes in them. That’s completely fine. However, achievers know that it can be counterproductive to explain stretch goals with those who are incapable of adding to them or even being encouraging.
Some people just don’t seem to have a positive bone in their bodies. I don’t know if I will forget telling someone career plans only to be told, you can’t do that. “certainly, not you!” To add insult to injury, that person then proceeded to convince my family of the same thing. It was a VERY negative experience for me. It’s a good thing that I don’t base my career ambitions on what others think.
After that point, whenever I get inquiries about my next step before I am ready, I merely remind myself that everyone connected to me is not on my team. They may ultimately be a part of the process. However, while I am developing and refining my priorities, they shouldn’t be offended if they’re not consulted.
Tell the opinionated broke person: “I qualify people for access. Thanks for your concern, and I mean no offense, but don’t worry about my next step. Once it is time, I will announce it.”
Related Article: 4 Reasons You Should Set Unrealistically High Goals
You Have the Same Amount of Disdain for Their Lifestyle as They Have for Yours
A Mercedes with a payment prompts my pity rather than envy. However, if you have a paid-for home, I will likely sing your praises. This again speaks to personal priorities.
I think there is an assumption by people who don’t control their spending that frugal people must not know how much fun it is to be them. What some spendthrifts fail to realize is that frugal people derive pleasure from different things. For example, most millionaires are frugal. When Thomas Stanley looked at the lifestyle activities of millionaires in the past 30 days, he found that 93% socialized with their children or grandchildren, 88% entertained close friends, 86% planned investments, 78% studied investment opportunities, and 67% took photographs. Those were their top six leisurely activities. If you are wondering where shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue ranked, that was a not so prominent number 20 (26%). You get the picture: there’s a clear trend for millionaires, most of whom are frugal, to spend time on activities that cost little to no money.
Simply put, I find some of the lifestyles of some broke people1 reckless, particularly those with strong opinions about how we should spend our money. Thus, the reason they don’t sense my admiration of their lifestyles is because there is none. In fact, if I spent the way they spent, it would literally cause me pain. I think they are squandering resources, yet I say nothing directly unless invited. After all, I don’t want to be “that” person. However, I am always looking for an open door to discuss THEIR finances so that I can stop them from doing what I perceive to be mistakes. Judgement is a two-way street, but at least I am quiet about it.
Tell the opinionated broke person: “I don’t share my judgements with you, please politely keep yours to yourself too.”
Related Article: Tightwads or Spendthrift
You Are Not Controlled by Your Possessions
You have ZERO idea what I have. All you do is presume to know, which is fine by me. My possessions don’t dictate my life. Materialism is when “things have you” instead of “you having things.” It is particularly dangerous to be owned by conspicuous consumption. We don’t want to confine our lives to what labels we have on or makes of vehicles we drive. Personally, I prefer to be unassuming and unpretentious, especially compared with being perceived as “big hat, no cattle.” For example, I wonder how many people drive expensive European imports yet are part of the 42% living paycheck to paycheck. I am likewise curious how many people go on fabulous vacations but are part of the 75% of Americans that are 3 paychecks away from bankruptcy.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with nice stuff and experiences. I also have no ill-will for those living by a different philosophy, except when their burdens becomes societies burdens. However, financial independence is a much more laudable objective to us than any thrills I would derive from purchasing pretty much anything. We have the endgame in mind. That’s what occupies our interests and passions.
Tell the opinionated broke person: “Stuff is nice. Financial independence is better.”
Related Article: The Phony Rich
To frugal people, the opinions of broke people about what they have, don’t have, or how they spend should be immaterial. It is NOT an issue of love of lack of reverence for the relationships. However,it is time to act like grown ups. Don’t be controlled by a herd mentality. That’s so elementary school. Therefore, so what, if you don’t fancy spending $100 per month on a cell phone plan. You know what, you’ll survive. Don’t bow down to pressure, even if it is from a loved one. Whatever bow down to keep, you will likely eventually lose anyway. Don’t apologize for being you. Agree to disagree and prosper!
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1Of course, it would be irresponsible for me to suggest all broke people are reckless. We know that’s not the case.