Giving Advice: Is It A Good Or Bad Idea?

Not too long ago I posted a blog about debt consolidation and the dangers of it. I went on MyTMMO forums to try and get people to share their thoughts on my blog about debt consolidation. Since those forums were private I mentioned that someone close to me was considering using debt consolidation themselves. I got blasted from all angles with people telling me that I should keep my nose out of others business. I later posted a poll on those same forums asking people what they would do, to try and see if there were differing opinions.

So far the results of the poll (MyTMMO Forums) seem to be the opposite of the advice I got when I posted my blog about Debt Consolidation. Most people told me to stay out of it unless my opinion or advice was asked for. In fact people seemed to get really upset that I would even consider such a thing. I am happy to announce that most of you would at least say something and let the chips fall where they may. Here are the results of the poll. When asked if a friend or family member was about to do something stupid, would they give their advice?

65% said they would say something and let the person decide whether or not to use the advice.

32.5% said they would ONLY say something if asked.

2.5% said they wouldn’t get involved that it wasn’t their business.

I have to say I am glad to see these results even though I am still bothered that some of you (32.5%) would sit back and watch loved ones make bad decisions knowing that they were bad. I feel the same as I did when I posted my blog. I love my family enough to at least TRY and warn them of the details of any decision they might be making. I of course couldn’t force them to act on my advice but at least I would have tried to inform them. To not say anything because of fear that he/she might get upset is crazy to me. I think that people need to stop worrying about hurting other people’s feelings so much, and just let the truth be heard. Too much political correctness is numbing the next generation to think that constructive criticism is a bad thing. As long as it is constructive and done in love there should be no problem.

I absolutely hate political correctness. I think it is a thorn in our society, but I do realize that there are times when something is not appropriate to engage in so I am not speaking of these instances. I specifically asked the question about siblings because usually these circumstances do not involve powdered butt syndrome (As Dave Ramsey calls it) like with a parent or something. I would handle the money talk with my mother or father completely different and I know my boundaries. However if they came to me and didn’t ask my opinion but did start a conversation about it I would be completely okay with giving my opinion without fear of damaging the relationship.

I hope that most people would find themselves to actually handle the situation differently if they found that there brother or sister needed help. I just can’t comprehend letting a loved one make a mistake simply because they didn’t ask for advice. The truth is that some people don’t ask questions out of fear of what it implies of them for not knowing. Some people simply don’t ask questions period. I think the risk is definitely worth it in the end. I also realize that the type of relationship one has with their sibling or friend would figure into the equation as well.

If anyone reading this finds themselves in a situation where they can help a family member or a friend from doing something stupid, I hope you at least try. I am not saying to be in their face and yell and scream. I am saying that if they tell you in conversation what they plan to do, there is NOTHING wrong with giving them your take on things. Ultimately they have to decide what to do but at least you gave them something else to consider before making that decision. I know there are people out there that are uncomfortable about giving advice when it comes to money, and if that is you simply tell them about a book that has helped you out. Tell them about The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. Help arm them with the knowledge to make better informed decisions not based on what everyone else would do.

I suppose that if some of the people that got stupid loans that caused this mortgage crisis had been told by someone that loved them that it was a bad idea, maybe the rest of us wouldn’t be bailing them out. All I am saying is that it is something to think about. Sometimes, even though the truth hurts, it needs to be said. Truth is knowledge, as well as power!

What would you do? Have you done something stupid and wished that someone had stopped you? Leave a comment.

About Brad Chaffee

5 Responses to “Giving Advice: Is It A Good Or Bad Idea?”

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  1. Kathleen says:

    I was not given advice when I decided to get married about 2 months after meeting someone. We didn’t actually get married until 7 months later, but decided within 2 months, planned a wedding, mom helped finance it. All my cousins were in it. Nobody thought it was a good idea, but nobody said anything — until much later, like 13 years later!

    It was one of the worst decisions of my life. I’m not sure I would have heard the advice I believe my closest loved ones should have given me, but I’ll never now!

    Because I think I might have preferred to know their true opinion, when I hear my close family members make some, IMO, crazy comments to me about something they want to do, plan to do, or think they should do, I take those public comments as my opportunity to offer an opinion, if I have one. I sometimes preface those comments with “It it were me…” or “Here is something to think about while you decide” or “I know you think I am the voice of doom and gloom, but…” (my older son tends to hear that last comment the most!)

    Kathleen´s last blog post..Good for Friday

  2. Brad Chaffee says:

    Hi Kathleen! Thanks for commenting. I agree. there is always the chance that we wont listen to the advice we get but there is also a chance we will.

    When I was younger I never listened. LOL as I got older I understood the stupidity in not listening. There are things I wished I would have listened to and things I wish someone would have tried to stop me.

    No matter how you look at it there is always the what if but when it comes to family I think speaking the truth is a good place to start. If they listen then great, and if they don’t then it was as if you never said anything so it is still worth the shot.

    My experience tells me that people are way less likely to listen when it comes to relationships but I suppose someone could be just as blind when their financial responsibility comes into question.

    What a great comment, thanks again!

  3. Tanya says:

    Great post! I love the opportunity to give advice when there is an open conversation going on. I think that’s what relationship is all about. We can offer our thoughts, experience or expertise that may help someone from making a big mistake.

    When I was forced into independence at the early age of 16, I never had anyone give me advice on anything, from financial matters to getting into college. I was so hungry for guidance but it was not to be found. All the knowledge I received on becoming an adult, I got from life experiences and reading books, not from an example set by my parents. My biggest struggle has been in the area of finances. I have sought out friends, family, financial gurus to help me, but no one wanted to ‘butt in’ even though I initiated the request.

    I never wanted to leave someone helpless if I could offer assistance. So, if someone asks, I will help. If the request is not made, but I see someone going down a path I’ve been on, I would butt in. I guess it depends on the relationship and the approach. I think people would welcome loving, non-judgmental advice.

    Now, I make sure to make my daughter aware of financial matters, especially, but I am also very conscious of setting an example as a responsible adult so she can grow up to continue that role as an example to her children…

  4. Darla says:

    I think you have to know the personality you are dealing with you tread there.

    I know someone right now who is filing bankruptcy and I know that no matter what I would have said it would not have changed their mind.

    The one thing I am learning the slow and hard way is that you can’t save the world, you can only save those who are ready and your instincts will tell you who is ready and who is not.

    Darla´s last blog post..Sweet & Sour Chicken Recipe

  5. Brad Chaffee says:

    Tanya: Thank you! I am glad you liked it. I have been wanting to write it for a while. Life experience and reading books here too,, and finance has been my struggle which is exactly why I created this website. Being a great example is more powerful than anything. Dave often tells people that your kids will do with money what you do with money. My example of trying to live debt free by using Dave’s plan has helped some of my co-workers with their financial decisions. My boss was so excited when he paid of his first credit card. I was excited for him too. I never shut my mouth at work about money and I pass out Dave’s Dumping Debt audio lesson to anyone that breathes. LOL I am a freak! Our turn around has been so uplifting for us. Our hope went from “what’s hope?” to “we can actually do this!” We are $16,000 lighter in just 10 months with $7,000 left to destroy. That feeling is so amazing. For me, not sharing that with someone else is incomprehensible, whether they asked for it or not. You are right though, the relationship and the approach are really important. No one has ever got mad at me for sharing my new found knowledge.

    Darla: Yeah the bankruptcy thing is probably a pretty sensitive subject, so offering advice would be risky. For me it would first depend on how I found out about the bankruptcy, because if I wasn’t supposed to know I would probably encourage the one who WAS told to simply recommend Dave’s book before they made their final decision. Good judgment is a must have. I can’t save everyone but I can sure try to save those that come into my path. 🙂 If they don’t listen I’m okay with that because there will be a time when they are right back into a bad situation and they will be more likely to remember something I said to them.

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