The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are, by far, my favorite time of the year. There is cheer in the air and an overall feeling of generosity. Being in the financial field for the past 20 years I have also learned that this is the time of the year when advice is handed out most freely.
So take this as a word of caution for this “Advicegiving Season.”
Most of this advice is well intentioned however often unsolicited. It typically happens when the large meal of the day is finished, politics has been exhausted and the football games are winding down. Now enter the “rich uncle”, you know the one, everybody has one. (And they aren’t always rich) I can say everybody has one regardless of your economic situation or even knowing you. The rich uncle or relative is the guy that likes to tell you all of his huge successes throughout the year, whether they are real or not.
It almost always starts with a philanthropic tone of, “you should get into _________.” It starts this way so that everyone in the room feels like, wow! he is looking out for me or I am getting an inside tip. Then this person drones on and on about how well it has done. If it were to stop there I probably wouldn’t be even mentioning this non-event. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always stop there.
As I mentioned being in the financial field; Now I get to hear about all of these huge successes in the weeks following each of the holidays. It has happened repeatedly for the past 20 years. Which is both great and unfortunate?
It’s great to hear about these ideas/investments because I love to hear new ideas. Great because there are things out there that genuinely successful people do that I want to know about and be involved. Trust me, I certainly don’t claim to know it all and I also spend a great deal of time each year researching and learning anyways.
The unfortunate part is when it derails a financial plan that was totally on the right track. Unfortunately many of these proclaimed investment ideas aren’t always entirely true or even understood. Never does the afore mentioned rich uncle take the time to understand if his idea, be it good or bad, is appropriate for the season of life of the recipient or fits in to their overall goals.
So this holiday season take the advice and be gracious. However, I would caution you to think through who is giving the advice. Have they been successful? Are they in a different phase of life than you? Are their values in line with yours? Most importantly make sure that you overlay this advice with your well-coordinated plan to ensure that it fits into your families’ hopes and dreams.
Best of luck this Advicegiving season! I would encourage you to stick with throwing the football with the kids after lunch.
Do you have that Uncle? Let us know, maybe it would be even be fun to tag them on twitter or facebook as you respond:)