talk to a friend

There are two types of people in the world: those who read personal finance columns, and those who don’t.  When talk turns to investing, saving, frugal living, returns, and percentages, some people salivate, while others flee as if the fiery breath of the very demons of hell was scorching their backsides.

If you’re in this second category, if you would rather undergo open heart surgery without anesthesia than talk about money, if you would rather do ANYTHING but think about money, let this be the one piece of finance advice you read this year.

There is somebody who will take care of this for you.  Believe it or not, there are people who actually LIKE to take care of this kind of stuff.  Even better, there is somebody in your life who would be happy to help you out in this area.  Think about the people you know.  It might be a parent who meticulously planned their retirement.  It might be your annoying sibling who knows the balance of their home mortgage down to the penny.  It might be one of your children who studied economics in college.  It might even be your college roommate – you know, the one who recorded every purchase, including candy bars and soda.

The very act of asking this person for help will communicate two things loud and clear.  You’ll be telling them that you value their knowledge and insight, and you’ll be telling them you value the sense of community created when people depend on each other.

The fact is, people who have their heads buried in their finances don’t understand how some other people can NOT be interested in money.  They think people like you are wasting valuable time and resources on things that don’t matter.  But when you admit a lack knowledge about finances, and that you need their help, you have sent an invitation the other person will not be able to refuse.

And don’t forget that help can flow both ways.  Just because a person knows something about money, that doesn’t mean they have a handle on everything else.  You probably won’t have to search very hard to find something you can help them with – people skills, for example, or appreciation of the arts.  And don’t think little of the web of interdependence created by people helping people.  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

This column originally appeared in the the July 9, 2008, edition of the Greenhorn Valley View.

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