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81: Financial opinions

81-finances

Is how someone else handles their finances ever OK to comment on?

Show notes and links:
Separate/Together (Slate)
Ask the Readers: Should you comment on a friend’s overspending? (Get Rich Slowly)
Why I Stopped Meddling In My Friends’ Finances (Forbes)


Full episode text

We all know that one person – they seem to always be broke, yet also be able to spend money on something you’d consider extraneous. No matter where you may be in your financial life, it seems that this kind of a person can really get under your skin. It seems so simple, the numbers could work out, if only…

It’s tempting to offer advice. Sometimes it’s even asked for. Yet, should you be commenting on their finances? After all, money is a resource, and it’s often very emotionally fraught. The numbers may seem simple to you, but I’ve often heard and believe that money is only 10% numbers… the other 90% is emotion.

So when is it OK to comment? Depends on who you ask. In a great three-part series on Slate, one author explored how married and cohabitating couples handle their finances, and she found that basically no matter how couples choose to split their finances, they’re likely to fight about it at least occasionally — especially when shared expenses come into the picture.

For friends who may not share financial burdens, the question becomes even stickier. After all, as Get Rich Slowly puts it, close friends should be capable of being honest with each other. Even when it’s tough, and even when it may be information they don’t want to hear.

In many cases, it may come down to if the individual directly asks or not. After all, bitching with friends is not necessarily asking for solutions – and we may be (as one Forbes article puts it) projecting our own financial concerns on to others.