Whether your parents are rich or poor, stuffing money under their mattress or investing experts, at one point or another, you’ve probably asked them for financial advice.
A study by Fidelity Investments surveyed over 150 millennials and found that 33% considered their parents their go-to resource for trusted money advice.
Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily.
But when you take someone’s advice to heart completely without doing any fact-checking, you could be putting yourself in a dangerous situation.
Here are three things to consider if you’re currently a client of the Mom and Dad Financial Advice Firm:
The problem with our culture is that discussing money is so taboo, it can be hard to talk openly with people you admire about how they handle their finances. Often, the only people we do feel comfortable sharing with is our families.
That’s why it’s important to distinguish between hearing someone’s advice and taking their advice.
After listening to financial advice from the fam, try to get a different or opposing opinion. Fact-check what they’re saying. Think about whether their suggested course of action is a decision you would come to on your own.
Your parents can try to talk you into buying that investment property or talk you out of buying that timeshare in Hawaii, but at the end of the day – you’re going to be the one signing the check (or the bankruptcy documents).
If the investment property doesn’t turn out to be the goldmine your mom predicted, you can’t turn to her and say, “that’ll be twenty grand.”
It’s easy to give financial advice, it’s much harder to live with the consequences of it.
[clickToTweet tweet=”It’s easy to give financial advice, its much harder to live with the consequences of it.” quote=”It’s easy to give financial advice, its much harder to live with the consequences of it.”]
So go ahead and seek advice from anyone and everyone if that’s what you want, but make sure that you’re the one actually making the decision – because you’re going to have to live with it.
I’ve heard some crazy financial stories. The friend who borrowed against her retirement fund to pay to produce her own one woman show. The relative who had never opened up a credit card because credit is ‘pointless’ (well, good luck finding an apartment in NYC without it). Oh, and let’s not forget that former coworker who was all about leasing brand new BMWs.
If you need an easy way to vet a financial advice giver, ask yourself if you want their financial situation.
As unpleasant as it might be to judge your parent’s (or friend’s, or partner’s) financial situation, it’s imperative that you do if you’re considering taking their financial advice.
Have they struggled for years with consumer debt? Or did they retire at 55 after building a nice nest egg?
Has money been a source of tension in their marriage? Or are they sitting down monthly to talk about financial goals?
If your friends and family are living in ways that align with your values and have a financial situation that you admire their advice might hold more value to you. But if their finances are a mess and they’re living in ways that don’t reflect the lifestyle you want, use caution.
Help! My parents think I should invest all my money in beanie babies. What do I do?!
Part of becoming an adult is learning how to manage your own finances.
That doesn’t just mean making money and saving money. It also means making thoughtful, informed decisions about your finances and feeling confident that you can handle whatever financial curveball comes your way.
Your parents can serve as your guides, but in the end, you’re the one who should determine the destination, because you’re the one who has to live there once you arrive.