Everyone from your grandmother to your mechanic and dentist has an opinion on how you can save money and obtain financial freedom.
It’s always been one of my pet hates, the people who are financially secure, whom have never ever been in a serious financial situation before, suddenly feel the need to dispense debt advice to people who are…it makes my blood boil.
These self-labelled financial advisors, these financial gurus, are happy to tell you which stocks to pick or lecture you on the importance of retirement & savings; or even how to manage your money.
However, when it comes to the real hard questions, and real sound financial advice, they more often than not fall short.
Would you tell your mechanic how to fix your gearbox? So what would he know about financial advise unless you have the world’s first qualified financial advising mechanic. Then please send me his number, I’d like to run a marketing strategy by him.
When you’re battling financially, it can be a difficult to know whom to turn to, who to trust. We love our friends and family, but their financial knowledge can have limits and more often than not be completely off the mark. Like your grandmother who still slips you a R10 note and tells you to go out and buy something nice for yourself.
Look, friends and family have the best of intentions, but we deal with over-indebted people on a daily basis and its most often bad advice that got the consumer further into debt in the first place.
For example I’ve had a client tell me that their friend told them, because they were battling to cover all of their debt instalments for the last 4 months, to make sure that they pay all of their “other accounts” and not worry about their bond…seriously!?! Was this friend intoxicated and high at the same time!?! THAT’S TERRIBLE ADVICE, WAS HE TRYING TO GET HIS FRIENDS HOUSE REPOSSED!!!
In a bad debt situation you’re going to need someone with just a little bit more knowledge than Martha next door or Ted your financial advising mechanic.
When you have a close friend, you often feel completely comfortable sharing anything and everything, even personal details about finances and money with them.
Your friends might even have a good idea of your cash flow and expenses, based on their close observance of your lifestyle and spending habits.
Being the best observers of your lifestyle however, doesn’t qualify them to offer you financial advice. If anything, their close relationship with you and their desire to see you financially comfortable could prevent them from giving you an honest assessment of your situation.
If you’re working a regular 8 to 5 job, you probably are spending a lot of time with your co-workers, even more so than you do with your family. This of course can lead to a lot of confiding and trust with the people you work closely with, it’s completely natural and it happens all the time.
Trust alone however, does not make your co-worker naturally qualified to give you financial & monetary advice.
It is however true, that those co-workers often have a better idea of your salary and the general security status of your employment than your friends. This doesn’t equate to full knowledge of your life goals, savings and finances. They may have some inclining as to your financial status, but they don’t know enough, and definitely aren’t qualified enough; to be offering financial advice to you though.
Hands down family members probably know the most about you. Furthermore, they’re probably the most likely of people in your life to be privy to any financial misfortunes you’ve experienced in the past. Although, this familiarity doesn’t mean they know everything about the way you conduct your finances and how you want your monetary future to look.
Often family members have high expectations about what your financial future should be looking like. Expectations that don’t consider what you actually want to achieve. In a manner of speaking, family members are almost too close to you, so they can’t be objective enough to show you all your available options.
As the adage goes, “don’t mix family with money”.
People with More Money than You
Ah my favourite, the financial gurus!
Once people are “well off,” they usually feel as if they have discovered the “secret path” to financial success. Unfortunately, the truth is that they don’t have all the right answers; I speak from experience when I say that they very rarely ever do.
Just because one method worked out for them to achieve their financial goals, doesn’t mean the same method will work for you. “Different strokes for different folks”, everybody doesn’t function the same way and never practice methods in the same way.
Furthermore, being well off does not automatically grant someone the knowledge to lead others to a bright and shiny financial future. I’ve listened to many stories where these self made gurus have dispensed their “teachings” upon unsuspecting others, who have in turn followed them blindly into financial ruin in the hope of a richer tomorrow.
Let’s just be reasonable here, If “how to be rich” was an actual academic course we all would have taken it at school and been laughing about it on a sunny tropical beach somewhere.
It’s fundamentally important to remember that looks can be deceiving. Just because someone looks wealthy, doesn’t mean that they are don’t be fooled.
That person could have large amounts of debt, nice clothes (store account), nice car (vehicle finance), dines out a lot and take fancy weekend getaways (credit card).
Here’s a life truth I’ll tell you from years of experience in my trade, true wealth is measured by the amount of monetary value you own, but don’t have to pay off. If you know tomorrow that if you lost
your job you have enough savings in the bank to carry you for a couple of months while you look for another job, and no accounts to worry about paying during, or a car or house that can be taken away…well then, welcome to true wealth my friend.
So while it’s very easy to do, and most do, never assume someone with more money also has more financial knowledge or the secret to success.
Remember it takes money to make money, and most of those “successes”, had financial backing to begin with.
So, whom can you trust?
When in a monetary crisis, the simplest option often seems to be to turn to those closest to us, such as friends, co-workers and family.
However, trust does not even begin to compare to a rich knowledge of financial management and planning. The best solution is to find a Debt Counsellor who understands your financial position and can advise you in the smartest and most objective way possible moving forward.
Of course, finding the right Debt Counsellor can also seem like a daunting task, you need to be able to trust this person explicitly right!
However, as with most major decisions, research before making a decision is always a good idea.
So make sure that your potential Debt Counsellor is registered by the National Credit Regulator, and see if they maybe aren’t also a member of the Debt Counsellors Association of South Africa (DCASA) for extra peace of mind.
It’s important that you find someone with whom you feel comfortable talking to, and taking financial advice from. So review their experience it’s important to know that they can do the job properly.
You’ll need to find someone with a strong legal & psychology background and most importantly with years of industry related experience; like us at Oyisa United Debt Specialists.