How to Give Unsolicited Money Advice

26854562_sWe all have that one friend or relative.

They spend recklessly, don’t save anything yet complain none stop about being broke. They chalk up their financial situation to not making enough money, moan about needing a pay raise and totally give up on saving until they get one.

A stark contrast to you.

You’ve finally gotten your financial house in order by budgeting and cutting out excess luxuries. Sure you’re teased for cutting cable or being the last to upgrade to a smart phone, but you’re well on your way to financial stability – something the people around you are struggling with.

You’re ready to scream with pride from the rooftops. Yet you know doing so will cause more harm than good. So what’s the best way to educate someone without money knowledge and not come off infuriatingly pretentious?

Try these tips below to break it down to them easy.

Money See Money Do

Lead your friends by example and nudge them subliminally in the right direction without words. Show them how you choose the most affordable item on the menu. Then explain to them how you’ve been growing your nest egg only if they draw attention to your extreme frugality. When they approach you first with questions about saving you can use it as an opportunity to explain where they’re making mistakes.

And practice what you preach. Once you give advice stick to it. There’s nothing more annoying than having someone lecture you about something that they don’t always do themselves. Don’t ask your friend on a vacation if you know they’re supposed to be saving money. Don’t choose an expensive bar for your next outing when you know they can’t afford it. You’re in a much more comfortable situation than them because of your budgeting endurance. Remember it takes time!

Help them work towards being able to afford a few luxuries here and there. Avoid dangling things they really want in front of them like a fishing line.

Share Selflessly

Don’t be quiet about what motivates you. Seeds don’t get planted without larger inspiration. Identify your personal finance motivators and share them. Including money gurus, bloggers, websites, or e-books. Even more personal, try finding guru personalities that match the likeness of your friend. It’s more probable that they’ll be able to connect with them.

If you’re willing to be really selfless – reveal your salary and budget to others (such a taboo idea). Sure it’s uncomfortable, but people around you will better understand the possibility to make an average salary work. I’ve done this before for an acquaintance that reached out for money advice. I never regretted it.

The Band Aid Approach

Sometimes it works to be blunt – ripping off the big spender band aid really quickly. The most important tactic for this approach is choosing the right time and right words. Don’t make snide comments when your cousin orders the lobster dinner. Don’t be condescending when your friend wants to buy another new outfit for a date.

Instead this tactic is more directly asking if they want to sit down and discuss their financial situation. Tell them you’ve considered their money complaints and fruitless attempts at getting a raise in salary. Explain that you’ve found a way to find financial independence without earning a large salary. Are they interested in finding out how? If they say yes. Go for it! If it’s a no? Wait a few months and ask again. In time a more dire situation may spark willingness to change.

Do you have any other ways to give money advice? Have you given advice that was received well or poorly? Share below!



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  1. A few years ago, I had a friend who always borrowed money from me because she was short of her budget, where in fact she’s making more money by that time compared to me. So, I shared with her how much money did I made and how to budget correctly. I know I helped her in that simple way because started that day she never borrowed money from me anymore.

  2. Taylor says:

    That’s great! It’s so fascinating that people who make more money don’t necessarily have their finances together. Awesome that you were able to help her!

  3. Kaathy says:

    My husband’s favorite saying is “Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.” That’s the philosophy I use in giving people unasked for advice. I don’t do it.

    • Taylor says:

      Good point. Some people may be stuck in their money ways. And pointing out the obvious won’t help any. For others it may just be a learning curve and they could benefit from a little nudge. Totally dependent on the situation.

  4. If someone I know chats to me about their finances I will listen to them and offer any tips I feel might help them out. I don’t personally tell people how much money we earn in real life because like you said it’s taboo and it really is personal information unless you work in an industry where it is made public. Great post.

    • Taylor says:

      You’re right it does feel strange. In most situations I’m just not comfortable with showing the true figures. Like on my blog I stick to percentages etc. Definitely a personal choice. If I feel the person who reaches out for help is someone I can trust who’s actually serious about their money that’s a different story.

  5. Since I rarely talk about my finances, net worth or salary (which is just barely above average), I don’t really offer advice to anyone. Nobody knows about my blog except my sister and my partner.
    Some people know I’m frugal and pretty strict with budgeting, but they don’t ask for money advice. I think a lot of people tend to hide their money problems and give the impression that everything is okay. Or they just think it’s boring and not worth talking about. If only we were more honest with each other, then maybe we’d save more money too.

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