I often get asked, “What’s the best financial advice you can give someone?”
When I’m asked this question, I’ve noticed- over the past few months- the answer comes out involuntarily…
No, I’m not kidding. The best financial advice you can give is none at all. Even when it seems like someone is asking for advice about money, what they’re really asking for are ideas, options and perspective. They’re looking for you to point out things they haven’t seen or thought of yet.
Most people don’t want (or like) to be told what to do.
Think about this point for a moment. What happens when someone gives you advice? Do you actually follow it? Probably not. You might be polite and thank them for it. But chances are, once you walk away, you roll your eyes, make snide comments under your breath or, at the very least, regret saying anything to them in the first place.
When someone is dealing with a financial conflict (or any kind of difficult situation), the last thing they need is advice. Advice is what’s known as a Communication Blocker.
People avoid telling others about financial problems because they’re afraid of being:
These are all Communication Blockers which stall productive communication and positive action. Although the other person may have their best interests at heart, it is not perceived as a positive interaction by the individual with the problem.
The moment someone tells them what to do or gives them instructions on what they should do- they disengage or shut down.
The best option is to give knowledge instead of advice. Help them come up with several different options and let them make a decision.
Rather than tell them what to do- share a personal story or experience from a similar situation in your life. Explain what you learned and what you did to make things better. Tell them how you felt and how you dealt with those feelings. Don’t make it seem like your experience was worse or more important- make the situations as similar and equal as possible.
You can also provide potential resources for them to use. Point them to websites, books or other people who might be able to offer some insight.
By working with them to come up with several different options and choices, you’re still assisting them with their problem. However, you’re letting them decide what to do and when to do it. You’re giving them independence, power and control over their decisions.
Think of it this way- they’re asking you for directions to get somewhere. Instead of telling them to take the path you always take to get there, you show them a map with several different routes. You might not like to take the road through the forest because you’re allergic to the tree pollen, but that doesn’t mean they are too. They might enjoy the scenery. Let them decide.
Do you like to receive financial advice or do you normally ignore it? What kind of financial advice have you given to others? Did they take your advice or ignore it?
Ready to work with me, have questions or want to talk before you make a commitment? Call me at 972-900-6185, email me at coach AT financialconflictcoach DOT com or fill out the Contact Form.