There is a ton of financial advice out there for beginners. While I like to think I’m beyond that stage, I never let myself think I’m too smart to benefit from the knowledge of someone else. After all, until a few months ago, I was what Financial Samurai calls a Financial Dumb Ass. So I read a lot of blogs and articles about finances, including the ones discussing what I consider the basics of dealing with money. And I learn something new every single time.
Honestly, though? There are some pieces of financial advice that get on my last nerve.
I hate the idea that you’re not supposed to save until you get out of debt. Yeah, so I’m still paying off debt. I’ll be doing that for awhile. What would happen if I wasn’t also saving at the same time? My car would break down, or I would come down with a horrible illness not covered by insurance, or my child would incinerate all of my clothes in some kind of science experiment. That’s the kind of luck I have. If I didn’t have money in the bank, I would use a credit card to cover disasters like those, which would increase my debt.
I do understand that you shouldn’t save a ton while making minimum payments. That’s dumb because you’ll never get out of debt that way. But why not figure out how much you can put toward debt/savings without breaking yourself, then divide that in half?
It drives me insane when people tell you to get rid of your car. I think there are circumstances where it makes a lot of sense to get rid of a car, like when you have more of them in your driveway than licensed drivers in your house. But – stop me if it gets too crazy – what about people who just cannot get by without a car? I can’t. I live in a rural area in the middle of nowhere. No public transportation of any kind, not even cabs. I drive 100 miles a day to work and back. My son’s school is 10 miles away from my house. We don’t even have sidewalks! Every time I see an article about living without a car, I want to kick someone.
I know the majority of people saying this stuff live in a city, and in that case I understand. But there are a lot of people looking for advice who don’t have that advantage. I don’t like feeling guilty because I can’t live without my car. Believe me, I’d love to.
I can’t stand being told I’m a bad person if I don’t live a 100% crunchy/green/frugal/minimalist lifestyle. Not that any of those are poor choices, but they aren’t the right thing for me. It is highly unlikely that I’ll ever make my own shampoo or makeup from scratch. I’m not installing solar panels in my home. I don’t purchase only organic food. And while some people are able to give that kind of information in a non-abrasive way, there are a lot of blogs that are pretty snide about it. So you’ve got a smaller carbon footprint than me? That’s awesome! But don’t make me feel like crap about it. I’ve learned a lot of cool tips online – I just don’t have the energy to implement every single one of them.
Not everyone can be an entrepreneur. It seems every financial guru thinks I’m supposed to dream of owning my own million-dollar business. Don’t get me wrong – I’d love to work for myself. But I’m realistic if anything, and I know it’s probably not happening for me. Some people are going to work for someone else their entire lives, and they need to know how to survive that financially. It isn’t enough to say, “Oh, just follow these steps to quit your job FOREVER!” I need to know what happens if I don’t!
The best thing about getting financial advice online is that it’s free, minus the cost of your internet connection. The worst thing? You get a lot of generalized, catch-all information that may or may not work for you. I guess that’s an okay trade-off, but I still get annoyed sometimes.
These are my biggest financial advice pet peeves. What are yours?