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Share The Wealth

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If you are a frequent reader of Life and My Finances, I’d say it’s safe to assume you pay more attention to your finances than the average person. If that’s the case, this scenario will likely not relate to you but rather someone you may know.

Spot The Trend

“Jane” is 22 years old and has a full-time job making just over minimum wage. Her partner is in the same situation.  Jane was invited to an event with a friend, Kelly, which would cost $10/ticket. She shared that due to their tight financial situation, they couldn’t go. Kelly offers to pay and spots them $20 to attend the event.

The following week, Kelly asks Jane what her plans are for the upcoming weekend. Jane shares that her and her partner are going to a theme park (~$20/ticket) then proceeds to share pictures of the outfits they ordered online for the event (~$50 each outfit).

Soon after, Jane and Kelly attend a farewell dinner for a friend who is moving out of town. When the bill arrives, Jane leans over to Kelly and asks if she can spot her $5 since she doesn’t have enough money to use her debit card to pay for the bill.

A few weeks later, Jane ecstatically tells Kelly of her plans for this upcoming spring that involve a week-long vacation with her partner out of the country and a big concert they’ll be attending. They got a great deal and it will cost around $2,000 for their flight and hotel stay. They just need to start saving for the trip NOW. Kelly took the opportunity to share a resource for setting up a basic budget that will help Jane manage her income and work toward her financial goal without going into debt.

confused - 20131009Lesson NOT Learned

I hope you didn’t read that and thought nothing odd about the scenario. Each of us likely knows someone who lives paycheck to paycheck and doesn’t make the wisest decisions with spending that paycheck. My husband and I recently attended a financial seminar and learned that 90% of Canadians will not be successful in retirement. By “not successful” they mean not having enough money to last through retirement. It’s a sad statistic and I’m confident the US is not far off.

Share The Wealth

I heard a humorous quote by Dave Ramsey- “I thought my parents didn’t have sex or money because they never talked about it. Turns out they had both.” His point was that parents often neglect to teach basic financial lessons to their kids so they leave the nest ignorant and bound for financial disasters. This seems to be the case even among groups of friends. It’s not the sexiest topic to discuss, but I doubt 401ks, Roth IRAs, or any savings topic is brought up in many of your conversations. I share our journey to financial freedom at Budget for Health not to brag about paying off debt, topping off our emergency fund, or saving up for a down payment on a home. I do it because we are like many others who desire to manage their money rather than be enslaved by it. I love sharing simple resources with friends who just need some place to start. I hope that if you have a friend like Jane you will humbly share resources you’ve found helpful in your own financial journey.

Where to Start?

  • My site, Budget for Health, is always available! As a dietitian my expertise is in nutrition but you’ll find plenty of stories of an Average Joe’s journey to financial freedom as well.
  • This site! Derek knows way more about finances than me and he’s often sharing links to great articles from other savvy financial sites.
  • Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover has very basic concepts that helped my husband and I get started when we got married. Even if you don’t agree with all of his points, it’s still a great place to start.
  • Yakezie. You’ll find a list of financial blogs that offer a wealth of information on a variety of topics.
  • Bloglovin. This handy app allows me to follow a list of blogs all in one place so I learn mini financial lessons every day.

Do you have a friend like Jane? What red flags do you see in his/her financial habits?
What resources would you recommend to someone wanting to take their first step to financial freedom?

This has been a guest post from Jessica. She is a Registered Dietitian and shares practical, useful tips on food, fitness, and finance. Be sure to subscribe to her blog, Budget For Health.

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AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

12 Comments

  1. I was that Jane years ago and still have friends who are her. And I stopped bothering giving advice, since most of the time I’m being looked as the ‘weirdo’ who doesn’t have money problems or debt and, instead of trying to learn what they can do to be in this position, they’ll just get defensive and envious.

    • It’s a challenge to figure a humble way to offer help that won’t make people feel inferior. When we paid off $30k people attributed it to having a huge salary to do so but once I shared details of our story they realized that I was just an Average Joe sick of debt!

  2. Many many people live paycheck to paycheck and have no club what a good financial picture looks like. Luckily I have been reading pf blogs since before my first post college job. It has done wonders!

    • I’m in the same boat! I’m so thankful I kick-started good financial habits out of college. It’s a great feeling having money work for your rather than the other way around.

  3. I think most everyone has a friend or relative like Jane. I have both. Trouble is, I can’t talk much about personal finance without making them angry. I also tried giving a few books to one of my brothers who is not good with money. He got angry with me for that, too. About all I can do to help is keep posting on my blog, hope they see the posts on Facebook, and then actually take the time to read them. I think the reason that many people in financial difficulty don’t like it when a friend or relative, who they perceive as a peer, talks about financial best practices is that they are ashamed to be in their situation, and they don’t want to admit it to their peers.

    • I can see that, especially with the shame factor. Even if you are genuine in the offer to help, some people may interpret the offer it as you trying to make them feel inferior to you. It’s surely a case-by-case situation. Thanks for sharing, Bryan.

  4. I think that everyone has a friend like Jane, maybe they are not aware of it yet. It may be good to help each other out when one encounters some financial problems, but the best way you can help them is by teaching them and helping them improve their financial knowledge.

  5. The best you can do with people like that in your life is to be ready when they finally come to their senses.

    Unsolicited advice just gets refused. Leading by example can show the way, but only when they are ready to listen and learn.

    So be ready, and seize the opportunity when it arises.

    • I’d say you’re spot on. People will see the way you spend your money and questions may arise. It’s easier having them come to you when they’re ready to learn/change rather than trying to teach someone unwilling or ready to change.

  6. It was only 6 months ago when I was acting just like Jane. It is amazing how much I have changed with a little knowledge and a lot of hard work. Most of my friends are still living the Jane lifestyle and it can be hard to try and give them advice.

    It’s great when someone opens their eyes and you can enjoy financial success together though!

    • That’s awesome you can see all the change retrospectively! I bet you feel richer just from knowing where your money is rather than trying to guess where the heck it went each month!


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