We live in a society where information overload is at an all-time high. If you have a smartphone and Wi-Fi, you can read hundreds of opinions on any given topic. Unlimited access to the opinions of others is a double-edged sword. Listening to too many voices will trip you up when you need sound advice on how to handle money. To help you tune out some of the noise, here are a few people I suggest you DON’T listen to.
I know…I’ve lost you already, haven’t I? For most of us, our parents are the ones who made us who we are today, which is great. They taught us to say our first words, do multiplication tables, ride a bike, and other invaluable life lessons. However, parents tend to give advice based on how life worked back in their day, which is way different than how it works now. Some parents aren’t savvy about investing, negotiating your salary, and paying off debt. They’ll have you believing the best way to grow your money is keeping it in a savings account earning less than 1% interest. In reality, that could cost you thousands of dollars over time. They mean well, but breaking the cycle of paycheck-to-paycheck living that plagues many families will require thinking outside the box.
Social Media Gurus
You know the ones: you’ve never seen them anywhere besides Facebook and Instagram. They give testimonials about how they paid off $80k of debt in 2 years, took $10k and flipped it into six figures, and now have a multimillion dollar business. They’ll show you how to do it too; all you have to do is pay $100 for their webinar that breaks it down in 10 easy steps. Don’t. Just don’t. We all know by now how easy it is to say or be anything on social media. Writing a mini novel on Facebook doesn’t mean someone knows what they’re talking about. Be sure to do your own research before you sip the Kool-Aid these social media “experts” are pouring.
An awesome co-worker can be a lifesaver at your 9-to-5 job. No one else understands what it’s like to deal with your annoying supervisor or the archaic company policies you’re required to abide by. When it comes to money matters, chances are your co-worker has access to the same knowledge that you do. If you both have similar roles, their level of education and income is probably about the same as yours. Not to say they won’t have some valuable nuggets to share, but again, research anything you talk about at the office, rather than taking their word as gospel.
Your Friend Living the “YOLO” Life
We all have that friend who’s a blast to be around. She seems to have no cares in the world, and you can find her at every major party/club event. Even when you’re strapped for cash, she somehow always has funds to go shopping or have lunch at some fancy restaurant. When you admit that going out this weekend just isn’t in your budget, she rolls her eyes and scolds you for acting bougie. Peer pressure is real, and you may be tempted to kick it, so you don’t look like a lame. Remember that only you can determine how much fun your bank account can handle, and a true friend will understand and respect that.
The Financially Inadequate
It seems like a no-brainer, but we often get sucked into listening to every opinion that’s thrown our way. This is a recipe for disaster. If you’re looking to build an emergency fund, why take advice from the cousin who’s always borrowing money? Folks love to give their two cents, even when you didn’t ask for it. It’s up to you to determine if it’s quality advice. I know it’s tough to get help with making big moves, but get creative and step outside your immediate circle. Seek out organizations focused on investing, entrepreneurship, or real estate. Look for a mentor who has a job in the field you’re trying to get into. Once you find yourself getting closer to your financial goals, you’ll realize how much better it is than clouding your mind with everyone’s unsolicited recommendations.
K. Wright was inspired to venture into blogging in 2008 after reading websites like MissJia.com and Necole Bitchie. (Both sites no longer up and running, may they rest in peace!) Fast forward to today, K. is focused on sharing her thoughts on personal finance from the perspective of a millennial woman of color. Read more of what she has to say at Money The Wright Way.