Ask Questions, Get Answers

It may seem like a simple concept. Ask questions and you’ll get answers. But for some reason, it seems difficult to speak up and ask for help. At least for me it is. And it doesn’t get any easier when it comes to asking money questions.

Now, there are probably a million different financial blogs out there in this black hole we call the internet. Which is fantastic! Probably one of the better things to come out of the prevalence of the internet. Schools don’t teach kids about finances (at least in the US). If you’re lucky, you may have parents or a parent who taught you how to budget and save and be responsible financially. But if you’re like most of the US, you may not have had any real education on financial responsibility. Which is why it is fantastic that you can go online and find a lot of answers to your financial questions. I personally found Mr. Money Mustache to be the most intriguing financial blog when I got out of college and started making money.

While there is a ton of information out on the internet, it can be hard to find good information. It can be difficult to figure out the true motives of financial advice online. Maybe a website will push you towards buying a home vs renting. And maybe that same website will have sponsorships from mortgage companies. While there is honest and solid advice out there, it is always easier to trust information when you know where it is coming from. Which is why I believe it is so important to be willing to talk with your friends and family about money. 

I find this stuff extremely interesting and generally do a ton of research about a variety of financial topics. It makes me happy to be able to sit down with my friends and discuss their financial goals and questions. Then there are times where they have been able to help me with my questions. For all of the research I could do before we got our mortgage, it was our friend’s advice and input on their experience that helped make the final decision. Using the resources around you can help make some of these complex financial topics easier. Maybe you have a friend like me who enjoys reading about it. Or maybe you have family that have gone through a similar situation. You could miss out on their experience and wisdom if you are not willing to ask questions.

There is another good reason to communicate openly about your finances with people you trust, beyond getting your questions answered. It is so that you can make decisions with all of the available information. There is one clear thing I have learned working for the corporate man. “He” does not want you to have all of the information. For some reason, it is taboo for employees to speak about their salaries and benefits. I’ve even heard some older folks tell me it is against corporate policy to discuss salaries. But guess what folks. That’s illegal. Talking about your salary with those you trust at work is empowering and helps everyone take charge of their individual situation. I am happy to see that the younger generations seem to be more willing to discuss their pay with their peers.

About 2 years ago, my company “reevaluated” their pay structure and decided employees like me were underpaid relative to our competitors. They let us know, and they gave everyone a pay bump to fix it. Great! I got a little raise, and if I hadn’t been willing to talk to my friend about it at work, that would have been it. Luckily for me, we have always been willing and able to discuss our salaries. Through conversations with him and other coworkers, I realized that the pay bump essentially put everyone at my level at the same pay. Which meant that, as a 5 year employee, I was being paid the same as every 2 year employee in my level. Now, I’m all about everyone getting their chicken, but seeing the extra time and effort I had given to the company go unrewarded didn’t feel good. So I went into my manager’s office, had a frank discussion, and within about a month was promoted and had an increase in compensation. All because of a willingness to discuss finances with others (and a willingness to confront my boss about it).

I encourage you to evaluate how you view talking about money. It isn’t some dirty laundry that you should never discuss. It is a way to empower yourself and those around you. So go be open with those you trust about your questions, concerns, and goals for your money. And if you have any questions but no one to answer them, shoot them to me using the contact form!

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