Author Topic: How to give advice without being a jerk  (Read 4117 times)

Notasoccermom

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How to give advice without being a jerk
« on: March 19, 2017, 07:28:14 AM »
So my husband and I are 30 somethings who live in upper middle class America with middle class American friends. However we are 100% debt free with a paid off house. We don't make a ton of money but we just know how to save and invest it.

So a few month back both of our cars died at the same time. Repairs cost 2-3x their value. (Yes 2 cars is a need for us. But that's another subject) We always pay cash for our vehicles. So we were able to find some great deals on 2 used cars (And fix minor issues with them) for 10K.

Anyways, a few of my friends knowing our car issue saga would talk to us about their car situations. All of them, in their younger 30s, tell me "Yeah my vehicle is super old at 5 years old, so we need an upgrade. It's fine that we buy something brand new because the payments are the same."  Whenever they say stuff like that, inside I'm screaming "take back your life! Sell your old car and buy a old used car and save for a newer one! You are screwing up your future!" I swear it's like we are speaking a different language. I guess I just don't know how to respond to that mentality without sounding like "I'm so much better than you"

Linda_Norway

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2017, 07:41:54 AM »
Maybe you should just tell how you do it without suggesting that your friend does the same.
He wants to buy new car. You: A new car would be nice, but we have decided to drive old cars as that is financially the best deal for us.

Rife

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2017, 07:47:03 AM »
I agree with be nice and just share what you do. Then let it go. It may plant a seed. Where I work our two most senior engineers who must make about 200k+ each drive 20 year old economy cars. I even laughed when one told us he drives an old Honda Civic he bought from another guy in our group who needed a bigger car cause he had kids. That example makes a strong impression, but they would just turn people off if they went around lecturing about over spending on cars.
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GuitarStv

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2017, 07:56:16 AM »
Agreed with the above posters.  Unless directly asked for it, the best way to give advice is not to.  You can lead a spendy-pants to mustachianism, but you can't make 'em badasses.

MisterTwoForty

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2017, 08:01:57 AM »
I would not offer advice unless directly asked to do so.  Not everyone is interested in being more frugal or retiring very young. 

soccerluvof4

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2017, 10:25:58 AM »
I agree with the above posters as well.  When I am in that situation I simply start out with something like " I feel your pain,  We have been there and found that________________works the best for us. Leave it at that.
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Spork

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2017, 11:16:44 AM »
Agree with above.  If they ask... tell them.

And even telling them when they ask is no real guarantee.  I had a close (and young) friend ask me "How much do you think I should put down on a car?"  I told her "100%" -- meaning that if she can't afford to buy it without financing, she probably should buy something else.**  She really did not like that answer and proceeded to buy a brand new car with a minimal down payment.

---
**yes, if you *can* get a loan for less than what you make investing, that might make more sense.  She wasn't diverting money to investments to cover car payments.
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RedmondStash

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2017, 11:20:34 AM »
I agree with what's already been said, but there's another option too, which is to ask them if they want to know what you think, or if they want your advice. If they say yes, then give it tactfully. If they say no, let it go and move on.

Dicey

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2017, 11:51:30 AM »
Another option is to say something like "Wow, only five years old? That's just getting broken in! We always plan on keeping our cars for at least ten years, so we take good care of them." Seems like the only messages they get about cars is from the auto industry. Be a non-critical voice from the other side. The right side, of course.

Slight hijack about your name. I used to be a single person in need of a new work vehicle. I had to transport a lot of samples, so big was a must. I knew a used minivan was the most practical option, but they have magic powers that make the driver invisible, ugh. I decided I'd get one only if I could find a funny license plate. I found that "NOTAMOM" was available and happily drove that green soccermommobile for years. When I changed companies and got back into a company car, they wouldn't let me keep the personalized plate. Now it hangs in the time-honored place, on a rusty nail, beneath the horseshoe, above the garage door. My customers asked about it for years. Until I hit FIRE, actually.
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jim555

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2017, 12:29:35 PM »
Five year old car is a baby.  My first car was 16 years and I'm on year 10 with the second.

The older a car gets the less you have to loose.

Dora the Homebody

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2017, 04:21:30 PM »
I hate buying cars. I bought my first Toyota Corolla brand new, drove it to the end (it would have lasted longer than its 14 years if I kept up with rustproofing :( lesson learned) and bought another brand new Corolla.  Worth it if I don't have to car shop for another 15+ years.

Villanelle

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2017, 10:58:54 PM »
The way to give unsolicited advice without being a jerk is generally not to give it.

If it makes you feel better, you can gently mention what you've done.  "This is why we drive our cars into the ground!  I don't drive a 2000 Toyota Echo because it's sexy.  I love not having a car payment though."

There's very little chance that will sink in and cause any change.  But there's very little chance that a lecture on finances will do that either, and the former is at least less likely to make your friends feel condescended to or judged. 

Goldielocks

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2017, 11:22:49 PM »
The best way to give advice is to not give advice.   Instead, relate a story about something relevant that happened to you.  This is called "shared exeriences", in psychobabble speech circles.


"Did I ever tell you about the first car I bought?   We took out this large monthly loan, and after three years it was an albatross hanging over our heads when we realized that we could not afford the apartment we wanted because of it. We wound up in a damp basement suite with a mouse and flea problem instead... I gotta tell you, it sucked so much, and we doubled down and paid it off quickly.  Thank-goodness.  After that, I promised myself to never have a car payment again, and we never have, to this day..."

(ok, so that is my true story..)

The thing about relating a personal experience, is that the other person can take it or leave it, if they think it does not apply to them, and it does not sound patronizing or "I am better than you".  It is a just a true story about yourself.

Dicey

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2017, 11:31:57 PM »
The best way to give advice is to not give advice.   Instead, relate a story about something relevant that happened to you.  This is called "shared exeriences", in psychobabble speech circles.


"Did I ever tell you about the first car I bought?   We took out this large monthly loan, and after three years it was an albatross hanging over our heads when we realized that we could not afford the apartment we wanted because of it. We wound up in a damp basement suite with a mouse and flea problem instead... I gotta tell you, it sucked so much, and we doubled down and paid it off quickly.  Thank-goodness.  After that, I promised myself to never have a car payment again, and we never have, to this day..."

(ok, so that is my true story..)

The thing about relating a personal experience, is that the other person can take it or leave it, if they think it does not apply to them, and it does not sound patronizing or "I am better than you".  It is a just a true story about yourself.
My vote for best answer of the thread!
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Goldielocks

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2017, 11:36:15 PM »
The best way to give advice is to not give advice.   Instead, relate a story about something relevant that happened to you.  This is called "shared exeriences", in psychobabble speech circles.


"Did I ever tell you about the first car I bought?   We took out this large monthly loan, and after three years it was an albatross hanging over our heads when we realized that we could not afford the apartment we wanted because of it. We wound up in a damp basement suite with a mouse and flea problem instead... I gotta tell you, it sucked so much, and we doubled down and paid it off quickly.  Thank-goodness.  After that, I promised myself to never have a car payment again, and we never have, to this day..."

(ok, so that is my true story..)

The thing about relating a personal experience, is that the other person can take it or leave it, if they think it does not apply to them, and it does not sound patronizing or "I am better than you".  It is a just a true story about yourself.
My vote for best answer of the thread!

Aw, Shucks.  Thanks for the compliment.

VoteCthulu

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2017, 11:50:48 PM »
I also agree with Goldielocks, never give financial advise unless it's being seriously requested. Stories are good, whether personal or 2nd hand.

Many of my friends have money issues and continue to throw away money on car leases, expensive gym memberships, hobby of the month, etc. I wish I could convince them how easy it is to become FI, but only pain and resentment comes from unsolicited financial advice.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2017, 01:56:38 AM »
The economy needs people like your friends.

I embrace the fact that as outliers we need the mainstream consumers to keep the debt based society chugging along.
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Cranky

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2017, 05:12:23 AM »
"Oh, I love having a paid off car!"

I admit that recently I looked startled when someone mentioned that she was making payments on a 10yo SUV, and she was pretty insulted by that. But it's clear that her financial decisions are not the same as mine.

Just Joe

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2017, 09:02:36 AM »
Seems like a fair number of people are looking for enablers.

Their line: "My five year old car is getting kind of old. Time for a new one!"

Your line: "Heck yeah! You need to replace that thing before it starts giving you trouble. Get out there and buy another 84 month payment book! I might even buy one too!"

...except most of us here would feel funny encouraging debt. I can't look at debt in the typical way. It isn't something to celebrate anymore. I can't go back to my old attitudes about it.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2017, 03:25:35 PM by Tasty Pinecones »

WSUCoug1994

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2017, 09:30:09 AM »
This happened to me this weekend:  My wife's best friends husband (follow me?) pulls up in his 2017 Chevy Suburban.  He is showing us the fancy fold down seats and how two small families could live inside the vehicle without knowing each other and he says this to me (which basically caused me to have a pre-ventricular contraction) "We have decided as a family that we are going to upgrade our cars every two years.  Life is short and we DESERVE a little luxury".  By the way - he is unemployed and I know their history of debt and bankruptcy in the past (because he weirdly bragged about it to me).

People who want advice seek advice.  No truer words have been said.  I would never offer this kid advice simply for the fact that he collects Jordan's.  I would tire from all of the face punches.  But there have been numerous people who have come to me for advice and I will go out of my way to help them. 




Goldielocks

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2017, 01:48:08 PM »
"Oh, I love having a paid off car!"

I admit that recently I looked startled when someone mentioned that she was making payments on a 10yo SUV, and she was pretty insulted by that. But it's clear that her financial decisions are not the same as mine.

I received a ride from a co-worker last year, for the first time with this newer-hire (he was 60ish years old).  The car was a 16 + year old Civic sedan.  Manual.  Used to be red, now with peeling paint.    He is an engineer for his whole life.

He said to me "Don't mind the car - it's paid for and runs well"...   I laughed so hard, I said something like "It GD better be paid for!  ... Good for you.."

frugalecon

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2017, 07:22:54 AM »
In my experience, even when people ask for advice, they usually don't want it. Either they ignore it or they become angry if it doesn't line up with what they want to hear. In another thread I have discussed my worsening relationship with someone I have known for a long time, and he has taken umbrage at any gentle advice I have given him. His situation is desperate, and he may very well become homeless, but he doesn't want any feedback or ideas about how he can improve his situation. [He wants no-strings-attached cash.] That is an extreme case, but it has been instructive to me. I have learned that it really isn't important what you say. Rather, what is important is what people hear. And those two things may be very different.

prognastat

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2017, 07:49:17 AM »
In my experience, even when people ask for advice, they usually don't want it. Either they ignore it or they become angry if it doesn't line up with what they want to hear. In another thread I have discussed my worsening relationship with someone I have known for a long time, and he has taken umbrage at any gentle advice I have given him. His situation is desperate, and he may very well become homeless, but he doesn't want any feedback or ideas about how he can improve his situation. [He wants no-strings-attached cash.] That is an extreme case, but it has been instructive to me. I have learned that it really isn't important what you say. Rather, what is important is what people hear. And those two things may be very different.

Unfortunately, in many cases a large portion of people either want someone to agree with them or give them an easy answer(either easy to do with little sacrifice or simply providing cash in financial cases). The majority doesn't want you to tell them hey you have to do all the stuff and give up all this other stuff and it'll work almost guaranteed. Even if for us it doesn't sound like doing and giving up that much to many it does when it comes to financially responsible behavior. You re in effect trying to counter a lifetime of bad lessons/examples on this front and telling them to go against the social norm.

CupcakeGuru

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2017, 08:26:32 AM »
I have that problem every time if visit my in-laws. I have a 10 year old van and everytime we visit they tell me it is time for an "upgrade". I tell them that it is barely broken in and i hope to drive it another 10 years. Most people don't want advice. I usually just say we don't want a car payment and leave it at that.

TheAnonOne

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2017, 08:58:29 AM »
The best part about old cars is that you don't have to fix everything.

Rear right window won't roll down? Meh.
Blower fan makes some noise? Meh
Suspension is a little springy? Meh
Burns a bit of oil? Meh
AC is out? Meh


On a 3 year old car, all of the above must be fixed, and the warranty won't cover most of those after the bumper to bumper runs out.

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rothwem

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2017, 07:09:35 AM »
The best part about old cars is that you don't have to fix everything.

Rear right window won't roll down? Meh.
Blower fan makes some noise? Meh
Suspension is a little springy? Meh
Burns a bit of oil? Meh
AC is out? Meh


On a 3 year old car, all of the above must be fixed, and the warranty won't cover most of those after the bumper to bumper runs out.

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Ooof.  I can't stand when shit doesn't work on my car.  It makes me pissed every time I get in it and it makes it more likely that I'll do something stupid like drive up to a dealership and buy a new car. 

Bateaux

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2017, 11:29:59 AM »
I'd make a useless teacher.  I started out explaining about investing last night, somehow I ended up explaining cellular respiration. 
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Just Joe

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2017, 03:30:34 PM »
The best part about old cars is that you don't have to fix everything.

Rear right window won't roll down? Meh.
Blower fan makes some noise? Meh
Suspension is a little springy? Meh
Burns a bit of oil? Meh
AC is out? Meh

And you can fix these things - sometimes for cheap if you'll do the homework. Our teenager bought his first car, and we made a list of what needs repair. We've been working our way down the list over the course of several months now as he can afford it. Down to a couple of fixes left.

He can't decide if he wants to continue to drive it or sell it and repeat this process b/c he can likely profit a little each time. The current car was purchased b/c it was cheap not b/c he was in love with it.

HAPPYINAZ

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2017, 04:13:30 PM »
Good topic....I find it hard to give advice because people are just so set in their own ways.  I have a couple friends that will listen a little, but otherwise they all just think you need to earn giant salaries in order to retire well.  People often just won't face up with financial facts because it is easier to believe it's not their fault and they are just a victim of a rigged system. 

I appreciate the advice given in this thread...good ways to handle this.  Hopefully you plant a seed and eventually it takes root.

RangerOne

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #29 on: March 23, 2017, 06:27:58 PM »
Friends generally let you know when they are looking for advice. So if they didn't ask I wouldn't approach conversations like this as a way to give advice.

Instead think of it as trying to share an alternate point of view. They will likely rationalize why their situation is different but you can share how you deal with a situation generally without sounding like you are giving them unsolicited advice.

You can discuss the total true cost of keeping newer cars like that and how much money is saved by choosing an alternative. If they are not interested in early retirement per say they may be interested in saving up more capital to invest in more money earning assets or business so they can get legitimately rich enough to cycle through new cars.

Talking about all the non-mundane things you can do with extra savings generally gets people more excited about finding ways to cut costs.

MandalayVA

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #30 on: March 24, 2017, 07:07:49 AM »
I'd make a useless teacher.  I started out explaining about investing last night, somehow I ended up explaining cellular respiration.

I am impressed by the breadth of your knowledge and salute your badassity. 

{salute}
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pbkmaine

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #31 on: March 24, 2017, 07:19:12 AM »
I'd make a useless teacher.  I started out explaining about investing last night, somehow I ended up explaining cellular respiration.

Okay, you got me. How did that happen?

Loren Ver

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Re: How to give advice without being a jerk
« Reply #32 on: April 15, 2017, 05:58:19 PM »
If they just need to lament then I just nod along.
If they ask what I do/did, I tell them.

If they want advice I pass along something a friend told me:

If you want to buy a car on a loan, put that money away each month and see how much it hurts before you sign anything.  If it doesn't hurt then go for it, if it hurts too much, then you can't afford that car.

Loren