Be Careful on Giving Unsolicited Advice

By | December 28, 2006
I love reading up on financial news and learning more about personal finance. And I like helping people as well. Sometimes, I give advice to my family and friends. Although they would listen for the most part, they almost never act on what I tell them to do. It’s interesting that despite my honest advice to help them, they would push away everything I say. They would always have some kind of doubt or excuse.

Recently my friend is running low on money. He’s a real estate agent and he hasn’t closed any deals lately. Since I know a few extra bucks would help him, I told him about signing up for credit cards or bank accounts with cash bonus. Or he can play the 0% balance transfer. He thinks it’s too much hassle.

I have spoken to several friends in the past two years about contributing to retirement accounts, such as 401k and IRA accounts. They give me the usual answer, “I have no money.” I tell them the importance of saving up for retirement. Moreover, I provide them with important financial messages – pay off debt, have emergency money, save up for retirement, invest, etc. They don’t seem interested and don’t listen. Yet they like to complain about not having money.

Sometimes I feel that they don’t want financial advice — they want MONEY. What they want me to do is not to teach them how to make money, but to hand them cash. Everybody wants to be a millionaire but nobody wants to work for it anymore. It’s all about get rich quick.

They tell me they don’t have time, and it’s not worth making a few extra hundred bucks. If you have a lot of money, I would understand, but if you need money and have the opportunity to do it, why not?
It’s hard to teach family as well. They don’t seem interested in learning. I tell them to start ROTH IRAs because it really helps if you have low income, the government even give you tax benefits if you qualify. But they say they rather have the money now.

While I’m no certified professional, I know my advice can help my friends and family. They just don’t see it. Perhaps they need to learn their own way. I just thought maybe I can give them a shortcut, but sometimes people need to learn the hard way.

I figure I’ll save my energy on going out of my way to help people. People just don’t appreciate. Instead, I’ll focus on those who wants my help.

It’s a lose-lose situation if they don’t appreciate your advice. Because if they miss the opportunity, they would blame you. If they execute your advice improperly and the results come out bad, they would blame you.

The moral of the story is never give unsolicited advice.

3 thoughts on “Be Careful on Giving Unsolicited Advice

  1. jim

    Get new friends because your friends just like to complain, they don’t want to do anything about it. As for family, let them do what makes them happy, even if it’s not fiscally prudent. 🙂

  2. Flexo

    Unless your friends have hired you as a financial advisor, don’t tell them what to do. Just let them complain. Most people who complain about money aren’t looking for advice, they’re looking for sympathy whether deserved or not. A friend provides sympathy, a hired professional provides advice.

  3. pfstock

    I would extend your statement to say “be careful on giving solicited advice” too. One time, a co-worker came by to ask me about buying a particular stock. While I did not make any specific recommendation, I did acknowledge that I owned shares of that stock. To make a long story short, the stock was depressed for a extended period of time (years) and I lost money too. But, things were never quite the same between us.

    On the 0% credit card thing, I would agree that it seems like quite a bit of hassle. I can’t see voluntarily wanting to deal with the credit card companies to make an extra few hundred dollars per year. My brain turns to mush every time I call the credit card, and wade through a series of phone menus, only to be put on hold.

    On the other hand, if you are able to get a few IPOs and play your cards right, you can turn a quick profit. Good luck in that endeavor!


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