Do You Provide Financial Advice to Friends, Family & Co-Workers?
As a personal finance blogger, and a part of the GPF (Greater Personal Finance) community I am surrounded by tidbits of advice on how to save more, spend less and achieve your financial goals. Sarah and I have our own opinions on what “the best way to go” is. These opinions are deeply rooted in what works for us. We acknowledge that what works for us, won’t necessarily work for other couples or singles. Personal finance is part of my life, but it isn’t all that defines me. A few close friends are aware that Sarah and I created this blog. For the most part it remains separate from the rest of my life. This is a personal choice that I have made for several reasons.
That’s My Family Kay, It’s Not Me
One of the reasons I have kept the knowledge I have gained, and the resources I have developed separate from my family is that the vast majority of my family have a much different financial picture than I do. My reasons are partially selfish, but also based on the viability of any advice I can give.
The reason why I question the viability is that the majority of my family have little to no financial resources. While I hold responsibility, it was that which likely had influence on my behavior as a young adult racking up over $10K in credit card debt. Growing up, several close members of my family didn’t allow a silly thing like not having any money prevent them from spending frivolously. Luckily I also had some good influences in my family as well to help with balance. My father for example, while not a shining light of financial wisdom, did teach me to be a hard worker. The experience I have with pounding down a mortgage is not applicable to people who do not own a house. My thoughts on dividend investing bears no importance to someone who lives paycheque to paycheque with no investment plans.
The selfish part is that some members of my family that are horrible with money have shown that they would gladly take advantage of any financial assistance available. A few relatives that have managed to put together a few extra dollars have seen loans turn into gifts; and help with debts going to cigarettes and junk. While there is nobility in helping family in need, I have to put my wife and daughter first. Sarah and I work hard for what we have, and I refuse to see that squandered. When we have money for charity, we give to charity – to people who really need help.
The Water Cooler
There is nothing wrong with developing personal connections with co-workers. Comradery can help with job satisfaction and makes for a more effective team atmosphere. It can also make it easier to get through those tough days with a few shoulders to lean on. There is a danger in getting too close, and it can hurt you professionally in some cases. One danger is that a friendship can sometimes take a hit. One person moves up in the company and changes from a co-worker to a boss. Maturity often prevents this from becoming a big issue but even full grown adults have a habit of letting their maturity slip.
I have developed a good rapport with a few of my co-workers and am comfortable enough to discuss some non-work related topics with them. I limit these interactions to more superficial topics like last night’s game, a TV show we both watch or how nice it would be to get out for a game of golf soon. When it comes to personal finance though, I draw the line. Part of this goes back to the viability of any advice I could provide. Of the people I have connected with, most are the sole bread winner in their family. I am also 15-20 years younger than them and in a very different stage in my personal and professional life. Stories of successes and failures are interesting, but not necessarily helpful when the personal situation is completely different.
This Isn’t What I Do For a Living
The last reason why I keep my blog life and personal life separate is that I am not the best resource to provide any advice that would be helpful. Personal finance is a definite interest of mine, and I likely have more knowledge than the average person simply because I immerse myself in the topic on a regular basis. The reason why I love being part of this community is that I am constantly learning new things, not because I know everything there is to know.
Whether it is friends, family or co-workers – I want to see them succeed in reaching their personal finance goals. If someone has a question that pertains to my career, I am more suited to answer them than I am to answer about a financial question. I feel it is in the best interest of those close to me to seek the best and most thorough advice possible. I do struggle sometimes with holding back when I hear someone making what I consider to be a huge mistake that I’m confident I can assist with.
For the other bloggers or if you are really interested in personal finance do you share your financial knowledge with those in your inner circle or keep the two worlds separate?