Recently, I had a client call me to talk about her situation — which is honestly one of the most unique I’ve ever dealt with!
So, my client had been out to dinner with a good friend of hers, and while talking about her financial situation, the friend said: “Well, you should just do XYZ!” My client and I were talking about this, and she confessed that she loved her friend and wanted to listen to her… but just didn’t feel like her friend’s advice fit.
This was such an interesting point, and made me realize something: so many of us take advice from the people we love and trust, without thinking about the fact that they might not be the most qualified people to give advice!
Raise your hand if you’ve ever taken bad advice from someone close to you and completely regretted it? I know I have! So today, I want to talk to you about why it’s important to be careful who you get advice from, no matter how much you trust them.
Advice is a Reflection
There is SO much that goes into your financial picture. There’s your baseline budget, your salary, your earning potential, your larger financial picture, your savings and net worth…
So when you’re getting advice from people who aren’t your financial planner, it’s important to remember that there is so much nuance that goes into your financial life.
Of course, there are some financial principles that are pretty standard. Spend less then you make, don’t go into unnecessary debt, etc. Any advice you receive along those lines is likely going to be fairly sound.
However, beyond those standard principles, there are so many nuances. And when you take advice from someone who doesn’t know or understand every single one of these nuances, you’re not actually getting advice on your financial situation.
You’re getting advice that’s a reflection of THEIR financial situation.
It’s so important to get financial advice that’s completely custom to your situation.
Understanding Is Powerful
Recently, I was working with a young client buying their first home. Their parents were insisting they get a 15-year mortgage and pay down their debt faster.
However, my client decided to go with a 30-year mortgage to suit their needs and financial situation. But while doing so, they said that they understood exactly where their parents were coming from and why they were giving that advice.
To me, that is unbelievably powerful. When you can separate the advice from your situation and recognize that different advice is going to be given based on other people’s experience and history, you can really learn to apply only the advice that matches your specific situation.
How Do We GIVE Good Financial Advice?
One of the central themes of giving good financial advice is that your job is not to have the answer — it’s to have a really good question.
Don’t just give them advice straight out of the gate. Ask them about their goals, desires, and what their ideal life really looks like. When you can dig into the nuances of a person’s financial situation to paint the entire picture, you can give really sound advice that will actually work for a person.
Back It Up With Research
One of the advantages of working with a financial planner is that we will see so many different nuanced pictures of people’s financial lives. This allows me to get into the weeds with every single client I help and give them planning advice that will work for their situation and get them the desired results.
No good financial planner is going to give you random advice. We use so much data, analytics, and studies to informed every decision we make and every recommendation we give.
So any advice you receive from a financial planner should be backed by plenty of research.
One of the pieces of advice I give most often to clients is that they should try and hold off on retiring until after age 70. There’s so much research backing this, and so many numerical data points that show they’ll be collecting more from Social Security when waiting this long.
However, just because this is generally a good piece of advice doesn’t mean that it’s the right piece of advice for everyone! For example, I recently had a client who decided to take Social Security at 62. The reason behind this was that this client’s father had died after receiving only 1 Social Security check, and he didn’t want to have that same fate after working his entire life.
And you know what? I fully understood where he was coming from. My standard advice needed to adapt to this nuanced life and history. This is why I insist that there is so much depth and nuance to every individual’s financial situation.
Because at the end of the day, your life should be driving your money. Your money should not be driving your life.
Compare Every Piece of Advice
Now, do I think you should only get advice from a certified financial planner? Nope! I think that getting advice from the people around you is extremely important, especially when they’re people you trust, and people who might be impacted by your decisions.
But what’s important to remember is that you need to compare every piece of advice to your lifestyle, goals, and values.
Building your life around that? It’s absolute magic. And remember: always be intentional with your finances, and finding someone you trust to have these conversations with can mean a world of difference.
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