What’s Worse Than Friday The 13th?….. Bad Financial Advice! 

 

When we think of Friday the 13th, we may conjure up images of unlucky events like broken mirrors, walking under ladders, or the impossibility of ”stepping on a crack and breaking your mother’s back”. The geekiest of us may think of hockey-masked, ax-wielding weirdos and psychopaths. As terrifying as those dudes are, Freddie Kruger is not going to leap into your dreams and steal your lunch money. (Or will he?)

 

There are real headless horseman of the financial apocalypse out there, and while you may know enough not to pick up a stranger with a raincoat and a hook for a hand, you often unconsciously listen to these boogeymen’s bad financial advice.

 

We all know you don’t go skinny dipping in the lake at night, but do you know how to deal with these 13 boogeymen?

 

financial advice

 Financial Bloggers and Journalists

 

Financial bloggers can and often will unknowingly derail your financial planning. To be clear, there are a lot of great financial blogs out there, however, new ones pop up weekly. Many of the bloggers are not trained and their backgrounds are unknown.

They may not have the relevant experience to give you proper financial advice. Financial planning isn’t black or white; families vary widely in their goals and concerns. Financial planning needs to be customized to every families’ financial situation.

 

Journalist are like bloggers, but worse.

 

There is still a portion of the public that trusts major media outlets. Many people assume that financial advice in the major news is unbiased. However, many of the people penning financial columns have day jobs as advisors and have a secret agenda to drive business.

 

Even worse, many major publication skew article to appease advertisers.

Check out: High-Income Bloggers Are Ruining Personal Finance 

BOOGEYMAN RATING: 7/10

BOOGEYMAN RATING WITH PROTECTION: 3/10

 

In other words, wear your MichaelDinich.net superhero cape, and you will be fine… mostly. 

 Co-workers

 

I work with my spouse and family, so instead of risking some awkward conversations at work and home, I reached out to my blogging friend Fiintrovert to offer his take on co-workers.

 

Our coworkers can have an outsized influence on our lives. After all, we spend at least one-third of our day with them five days a week [if you are lucky… some of us spend more time with them than with others].

Sure, you can find a great mentor or inspiring boss but we’re talking boogeymen today and coworkers can get into your head and destroy your wealth. Here are three scary themes I’ve seen come up with coworkers over the years.

The Financial Parent-Beast

 

The first is scoffing at any financial goals with an all-knowing, “just wait ‘til you have kids” retort. Coworkers can use “just wait ‘til you have kids” to try to crush your dreams of financial independence if you mention your high savings rate and desire to retire in your early fifties.

A dismissive laugh and comment about how expensive kids are can quickly undermine your confidence in your plan. After all, the prospect of a child is scary if you’ve never done it before. [The 40-year-old Virgin comes to mind… a beast unto it’s own!!] Maybe this coworker does know what he or she is talking about.

 

But take heart. There are no monsters under the bed. Saving, investing, and optimizing habits formed before children will live on when Chucky arrives.

You Deserve Better Mermaid

 

Often following the “just wait…” mantra comes to the “I work hard so…” refrain. If you mention that you, for example, clean your own bathroom, do your own laundry, bike to work, cook your own food or exercise instead of watch TV, you may be met with “I work hard so…” “I work hard so…” justifies using the money to solve problems that are actually simple domestic tasks.

Look out for the “I work hard so…” boogeyman because you might find him in your own thoughts the next time the toilet needs a cleaning (max five minutes of work) and you just want to sit on the couch.

 

Hey, why not hire someone to do it? You work hard so might as well pay someone that money you worked so hard for. No. Get that scary beast out of your head.

Mythical Creature Who’s Name May Not Be Said Aloud 

 

The last boogeyman you might encounter is truly sinister and capable of destroying the most wealth. It can disproportionately affect younger workers but all are susceptible.  This is the boogeyman of 401(k) myths. I have encountered him in at least three forms.

 

The first is when someone tells you that you shouldn’t save money for when you are old and enjoy it now. This boogeyman is really scary because it not only hurts your present self but your future self as well.

 

The second encounter was when my boss, the owner of our small consulting firm, told me he didn’t need to offer a 401(k) because “an IRA is better anyway.” Huh? How can deferring $5,500 be better than the option for an employer match and $18,500 in pretax savings? This was a truly scary day.

 

But the most ghoulish 401(k) boogeyman came the day I heard a CFO of a company I worked for stealthily making his way down the hall asking employees if they wanted their 401(k) withholding to apply to the end of year bonuses. He was telling them it would reduce their bonus amount but what he was really doing was trying to save the company money by not having to match the bonus amount the employees put in their 401(k)s.

 

This was truly scary. Not only would employees have missed out on getting the match on the funds but they would have been taxed on their entire bonus amounts. A big loss. But I ain’t afraid of no ghost so I stepped out in the hall and explained to my cash-starved colleagues how they were being slimed.

BOOGEYMAN RATING: 9/10

BOOGEYMAN RATING WITH PROTECTION: 2/10

 

Your Parents

 

It may be hard to imagine you parents as a boogey, however their well intentions may derail your goals. You parents likely grew up and worked in different market and economic environment. Long, gone are the days of working for the same employer and receiving a generous pension and benefits. Today, employees need to not only take an increased interest in their own financial security, they need to prepare for risks that were historically shouldered by the employer, such as longevity or health care cost inflation.

What worked for your parents may not be the best plan for you. Financial products evolve and concerns change. It’s okay to take their advice into consideration but you will need a specific plan for your own financial goals and needs.

Looking for a safe place to stash some cash? Check out : The Unicorn of Savings Vehicles  

BOOGEYMAN RATING: 6/10

BOOGEYMAN RATING WITH PROTECTION: 2/10

 

 

Your Children

 

Yes, your children can be bad for your financial health. Many times parents like to run financial planning by their adult children. The problem is the children may not have the experience or they may have a different risk tolerance. If your adult children have a 30 year time horizon and you only have 10, you are essentially comparing apples to oranges.

BOOGEYMAN RATING: 9/10

BOOGEYMAN RATING WITH PROTECTION: 3/10

 

Your Significant Other

 

If you are not on the same page financially with your significant other, you could end up veering off your financial path. It’s important to have conversations with your partner about your long-term financial goals and objectives. If they plan on retiring in Florida and you want to travel the world, you may need to make some significant compromises.

 

Tip: make sure you have a financial disaster preparedness plan that includes prenuptial and/or postnuptial agreements. 

BOOGEYMAN RATING: 10/10

BOOGEYMAN RATING WITH PROTECTION: 10/10

 

Sorry – the amount of protection even I can offer against spouse… well, I reckon it’s up to you to reduce that rating! 

 

Financial Advisors

 

Most financial advisors are great, but some are just plain awful. Here’s my tip, always get a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th opinion. You need to shop around and talk to people. However, do not show the financial advisor the other advisors proposals, because then all the advisor is going to do is bad-mouth the plan. Instead, ask every advisor for their recommendation, and for them to explain the pros and cons, plus why they feel it’s a good plan for you.

Tip: Ask Your Advisor These Questions

BOOGEYMAN RATING: 8/10

BOOGEYMAN RATING WITH PROTECTION: 2/10

 

Your Neighbor

 

One thing I learned from 20 years in the personal finance industry, neighbors are notorious for bragging about their gains when the market is up. What works for your neighbor may not work for you. If they feel the need to brag, simply congratulate them and continue your own customized financial path.

BOOGEYMAN RATING: 7/10

BOOGEYMAN RATING WITH PROTECTION: 2/10

 

TV

 

Ever watch an HGTV show with a young couple buying a million dollar home, or how some fictional character in a show affords their lifestyle? On TV, most charters live a lifestyle that exceeds their earning potential. Don’t compare your financial situation to theirs. Stay your own course. Be cautious about that too-good-to-be-true deal – TV is fiction and your life is not.

BOOGEYMAN RATING: 9/10

BOOGEYMAN RATING WITH PROTECTION: 0/10

 

Parent Group

 

It’s easy to get suckered into the parent group keeping up with the Jones. If all the children are having fancy birthday parties, you may be inclined to “go big or go home.” Do what you can afford. You don’t want to end up going into debt on a 3-hour unicorn party.

However, if you can find the unicorn, you are doing better than most! 

BOOGEYMAN RATING: 8/10

BOOGEYMAN RATING WITH PROTECTION: 3/10

 

Your Friends

 

Your friends can pressure you to spend. They want you to attend happy hours or lavished vacations. It is okay to indulge them every once in a while, but you will need to factor in this additional cost to your budget. Give them other suggestions on how to spend time together. Maybe take a walk and enjoy nature or organized a potluck where everyone brings a different dish. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to be with your friends.

BOOGEYMAN RATING: 8/10

BOOGEYMAN RATING WITH PROTECTION: 4/10

 

 Financial Celebrity

 

Running a multimedia empire is hard work; chances are half the content produced by you fav financial celebrity crush is ghostwritten by a person barely above intern paygrade. The celebrity may approve the content but it may not be coming from their advice.

See: Dave Ramsey thinks you’re too undisciplined for good financial planning

BOOGEYMAN RATING: 8/10

BOOGEYMAN RATING WITH PROTECTION: 2/10

 

 Uncle Sam And His Nephews

 

And how many nephews he has…. The feds, the state, and localities all have a plan for your money. They want your money to serve their own goals and objectives. That’s what it’s important to have a tax strategy in place that coincides with your financial plan. If you want to save money on your taxes work with a tax professional to guide you through the treacherous waters of tax planning.

Remember the “just wait till you have kids” boogeyman? Well, those nephews have kids, and they’re about to name you on all their birth certificates.

Check out: Retirement Rescue, controlling rising taxes 

BOOGEYMAN RATING: 10/10

BOOGEYMAN RATING WITH PROTECTION: 2/10

 

Facebook “Huns” and “Boss Babes”

 

If you get a Facebook request from someone who used to be mean to you in high school, better check their profile. if the page is filled with boss babes and body transformation memes think twice about connecting. They may want to sell you something that doesn’t work for your lifestyle.

Even worse, then selling you overpriced weight loss coffee, your new Facebook friends may con you into their multi-level marketing scheme. If you are looking for some extra cash, try these ideas before buying a garage full of stretchy pants or essential oils.

Check out; Beachbody Coaching and why you need to avoid MLM

BOOGEYMAN RATING: 6/10

BOOGEYMAN RATING WITH PROTECTION: 1/10

The Bottom Line

 

Financial advice is subjective to your financial goals and objectives. Don’t listen to the noise surrounding the financial industry. You can take it into consideration, but stay your own course and do what is best for you and your financial plan.

 

With my advice and superhero cape donned daily, you will be able to beat these boogeymen for good.

 

Recommended Reading:

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