We who are in the personal finance blogging world, whether as writers or as readers, know how heartbreaking it is to see family and friends struggling continually in financial distress. We’re eager to share all that we’ve learned and experienced about how to work toward debt free and financial independence, and see our loved ones get out of their financial hellholes. But when should we share our money advice with loved ones, and when should we keep our mouths shut?
Don’t Bother With Money Advice to Those in Denial
We all have people in our lives who are in a money mess but are not willing to see it: Those who piddle away money like it grows on trees and then
complain constantly pour their hearts out to you about their never-ending money problems that are “completely out of my control”. They refuse to admit that if they’d managed their money well from the beginning, or at least start managing their money well now, that they’d have a plush savings account that would ensure that financial emergencies were nothing more than a quick blip on their financial screen.
You gently (or not so gently) try and explain to them that all of those dinners out, little trips to the store and other non-necessity spending really does add up. You try and explain the difference to them between what is truly a need and truly a want, but they don’t want to hear it and have an excuse for why they “had” to spend A, B and C.
My friends, don’t waste your time. These folks are caught up in a world of not being able to discipline themselves and of focusing too much on what they want, and you’re likely not going to have much luck in changing their minds. Like any type of person in a self-destructive habit or addiction, they’re just going to have to get to that rock bottom place before they seek out real change.
Then There are Simply Those Who Want to Spend
Another case in point are those who know what they’re doing, but simply don’t want to stop. They know they’re in a heck of a mess, but that immediate gratification and need to keep up with the Joneses is more important to them than financial stability, and there’s nothing you can do to convince them otherwise.
Those Who Won’t Hear Constructive Criticism
Those who get offended or are unwilling to consider what you’ve got to share on money matters also are not ones you’ll want to bother giving money advice to. Why? Because it’s clear they don’t want to hear it, and it will only create strife in your relationship. Better that you keep yourself quiet on money matters if you’re met with an unwilling ear and let them learn for themselves.
What You Can Do
There are some things that you can do for those who need the wisdom you’ve learned regarding money. First, take opportunities when money talks arise to share what you’ve done to eliminate or handle a similar situation. Second, share – humbly – your money successes and how you came about them. Make sure this doesn’t come off as bragging, though, and make sure those you are sharing with know that your success didn’t come without a ton of sacrifice and hard work. Third, be there when the chips fall and their ears are open. They may be more eager to take your advice when they’ve hit that rock bottom place, but don’t give it until you’re asked.
P.S. My friend Hayley from over at Disease Called Debt has an awesome new e-book out entitled Achieving Debt Freedom: How to Recognize and Overcome the Emotions Linked to Paying off Debt. It’s free through Sunday, July 20 on Amazon. Maybe if you have a loved one who’s somewhat open to your advice, they’d be willing to read this fantastic book.
Do you have loved ones in your life who are making major money mistakes? How do handle their complaints about money?
*Photo by Free Digital Photos