I have frequently been on both sides of unsolicited financial advice. I’ve given unsolicited tips to others that I thought could use them. I’ve also had others share their unsolicited financial advice with me, sometimes in a way that I appreciate and sometimes less so.
Today let’s talk about receiving unsolicited financial advice and next week we can talk about giving it.
Is it really unsolicited?
At times I may not be directly asking someone what I can or should do to improve our finances, but I could still be inadvertently soliciting financial advice. I might be asking for advice without realizing it. Two examples I’ve seen in myself and others are:
- Sharing Financial Details– When I share details about our debt, income, spending, and goals, I open the door for others to give feedback.
Obviously we are comfortable (or at least purposely uncomfortable) sharing the good, bad, and ugly details of our finances. Usually people are gracious when they offer suggestions, but sometimes criticism isn’t very constructive. We were willing to take this risk, and actually think sharing and talking about debt is a good idea.
- Complaining– I try to avoid complaining to others about our finances, but it’s possible that some of my sharing might sound like complaining. I know that when I hear friends complaining, especially if it’s frequent complaining, about their financial situations, I am likely to share my advice. They may not even realize they are complaining (and I may not realize it when I do the same), but whether it’s their intention or not, complaints invite advice.
Do We Want Unsolicited Financial Advice?
Sometimes I might know I need help but I’m not sure what to ask or who to ask. A fresh perspective, in the form of unsolicited advice, can help. I have been the recipient of many ideas, advice, and warnings from those who love us and have our best interest at heart. Some of this has been enriching and so very helpful.
On the flip side, when I get advice that comes in the wrong way or from the wrong person, I might not receive it so well. Especially if I were feeling particularly prideful or sensitive, someone’s criticism of our financial decisions could be hurtful.
What Do You Think?
- What are ways you might be soliciting advice without realizing it?
- Have you had a particularly good or bad experience with unsolicited financial advice?
- What makes some unsolicited advice appreciated and some offensive?
- How do you handle times when you get unwanted financial advice?
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