Monday, March 16, 2009

Preaching the Word About Finance

I read a great post this morning by the author of Bouncing Back From Bankruptcy called "The Fastest Way to Get Someplace is the Way You Know How to Go." She tells a wonderful story from her recent trip that compares driving directions to how you choose to handle your personal finances. (She tells it far better than me, so I recommend you go check it out.) Anyway, her conclusion, and one I agree with completely, is that everyone has to choose for themselves the best method for handling their finances - what works for one, may not work for another.

I got one of those "smack to the forehead" lessons on this very subject this week! As I've mentioned, I am doing a lot of volunteer work this month. Last week one of my fellow volunteers and I went out to grab a bite afterward. On our way over to the restaurant, he happened to mention that he had just gotten a new roommate. Frankly, he sounded a little glum about it, so I immediately launched into my story. "You don't NEED a roommate!" I exclaimed. "It can be done without one." I enthused. I admit, judging from the alarm in his eyes, I must have sounded a bit like I was next going to whip out a Shammy-Wow sales pitch...

I babbled on for a good twenty minutes, talking about how I was able to come up with the money I needed each month by having extra jobs, scrimping and saving, selling items on eBay and so forth when finally I got a little food in my belly and I realized something... he was completely bored. It hit me that I had been talking nonstop about myself and I hadn't allowed him to tell me his story. Sheepishly I did my best to shut up.

He's a young guy, in his late 20s, has his own house, a decent job that he's been at for over 10 years and, like me, loves to volunteer. He's looking to get an extra $350 dollars a month from having a roommate. As he talked about it he told me he wasn't fond of saving, but he had a few bills he was looking to pay off and that was the reason for getting a roommate. Eventually it got through my thick skull that while the roommate situation might not be optimal, he really didn't mind it all that much. Because I'm nervous about roommates I was projecting my feelings onto his words and just assumed he wanted to hear about other options.

That's when everything that Bouncing Back from Bankruptcy sort of hit me. It was a definite reminder that each person will have their own solution. It is hard if you read a lot of personal finance gurus or blogs (as I do) since sometimes they tout their way is the "one true path." I obviously have a tendency to do that myself. I don't think it is because we are egoists, I think it is because we have found something that works for us and we want the same for others. Still, it was good reminder. I saw a statement on one of those church billboards the other day that said, "To save face, keep the lower half shut." Not bad advice that!

I think next time I start "talking" finance I am going to try to do a better job of shutting up and just listening!

Photo by: ASdesign46


debt negotiation said...

To make a plan of action, never pay somebody a lot of money to help you avoid foreclosure and educating yourself is the most important step to take when facing foreclosure.
In that way, your credit rating is maintain and your home is still in your hands.

Kristy @ Master Your Card said...

I must admit, I do this. I'm particularly bad about it when people start talking about Dave Ramsey as I am not personally a fan. In any event, I've been working on the projecting thing and think I'm getting better. I no longer launch into a long diatribe on why I think a traditional snowball is better than Ramsey's snowball, etc. It really is all about the person, and while we may not agree, or may even know an easier way to go about doing it, it has to be what works for the individual. Great post!

Dawn said...

Debt Negotiation - I agree. Besides there are absolutely tons of free resources out there. I am particularly fond of the HUD government website, which also has links to local debt counselors.

Kristy - Last night this friend groused about his roommate again. This was actual complaining. This time I tried to say as gently as I could "Well, I hope it ends up working really great for you! There will be a little adjustment period I am sure. However, should it not work out for you, let me know. I will be happy to sit down with you and walk you through what I am doing... if you want another alternative." He didn't seem to excited. I guess people have got to sort of come to it on their own and then find the method that works for them. UGH! It is a little frustrating though because I want to help SO much!

Bouncing Back said...

Thanks for the shout out!

Dawn said...

You are most welcome Bouncing Back!