How To Address Financial Stupidity

How To Address Financial Stupidity February 28, 2011

stupidityLet’s face it; we’ve all been there.  I’ve made some dumb moves financially and I’m sure you regret a decision or two that involved money.  I like when Dave Ramsey says “I’ve done stupid with zeros on the end,” because it reminds me that even though people make financially stupid decisions, they can come out from under it.

It’s not always easy to see when we’re doing something wrong with money, but boy it’s easy to call out others sometimes.  Usually our intentions are genuine and we just want to help the person who is about to make a poor financial decision, but how you approach them can make all the difference, agree?

Give Your Honest Opinion

If I was making a dumb financial decisions, I’d want someone to give me his or her honest opinion in a respectful way.  It can be  difficult to know when you’re welcome to give your opinion about someone’s finances – I wouldn’t just call someone out at the grocery store!  But if I knew someone was struggling and if they expressed their concern about money, I’d try to share my opinion in a respectful way. It’s always good to start with one or two things they’re doing right, but it’s almost a disservice to let someone think it’s all fine without addressing the problem from the get go.  Ex “Hey John, I noticed that you’re really good at saving money on big purchases, but do you ever consider it on smaller things?”  There’s no perfect way to address every person, you just have to use caution when giving your opinion.

Don’t Push Your Advice

How many people want to hear a salesperson give their pitch for an encyclopedia set…probably the same number of people who love to have someone’s financial advice shoved in their face when they’re doing something wrong.  You can be upfront with someone and address their problem without pushing advice on them.

It’s not about you and your expertise here.  Give the person a chance to realize that they could be doing something better, and let them ask for advice.  From my experience, advice given when asked goes much farther than advice given when uninvited.

Offer Your Support

Always be sure to offer your support if you’re going to give someone advice.  If you’re truly concerned about their bad financial decisions, you’ll naturally want them to start making smart choices.  Help them to be accountable and be there if they have questions or need advice.  I’m not saying that you need to lend them money or be on the phone with them every day; use your judgment.  The important thing is to be available when they need you.


Have you ever called someone out on a bad financial decision?  How did it go?  What would you do it the same again, or handle it differently?

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