Some of my most faithful commenters have personal finance blogs of their own, and one of them, Mrs. Micah, asked a question that really got me thinking: where do you get your financial advice?
The more I thought about the question, the more I realized that the answer isn’t as obvious as it seems at first, so I’ll progress through my ideas about that question.
My first and most obvious answer is the personal finance resources that I read regularly, like personal finance books, blogs, magazines, and so on. Most of the raw personal finance information that I absorb comes from these sources.
But that’s the easy answer. Where do I really get my personal finance advice? To me, advice means more than just absorbing information from others – it also includes the situations where people provide direct comment on my own life and how I live it.
In that light, my biggest source for financial advice is my wife. She might not be the most informed individual about how to eke out an extra percentage from my investments, but she does know me – who I am, what our situation is, and where we’re going. Often, I’ll collect the data I need for various points of view and then present them to her, and together we talk through the situation and determine a plan. When I’m trying to make a decision about my financial situation, she is the first person that I turn to.
If that’s not enough, I turn to my parents. They generally offer lots of good arguments for staying the course in whatever I’m doing, simply because things have turned out all right so far since I began turning my financial ship around. Before then, I didn’t really talk to them at all about my finances, but I’ve come to find them to be excellent advisors when I’m troubled. I’m also coming around to talking to my mother- and father-in-law about things, but since my relationship with them is still relatively young, I sometimes don’t ask such strong questions of them.
After that, I listen to my readers. Quite often, if something is still troubling me, I’ll voice that concern in the form of a post here at The Simple Dollar and then take all of your comments to heart. Often, writing the post makes the answer clear; other times, I’ll rely on your comments for guidance. Often, you say what I’m already thinking; other times you rip my ideas to shreds. Either way, you aren’t afraid to pull punches and call me out when I’m getting overly confident or am looking down an inconsistent path.
If that’s still not enough, I turn to meditation and/or prayer. I take in all of the advice that I’ve heard and spend some time in deep meditation. The answer – the truly right answer – then comes from within. I won’t debate whether that’s a subconscious thing or a supernatural thing, but I find that such steps are often the key to me finding the right answer.
Those are my key sources for financial advice. I start with information (books, magazines, blogs), talk to those who love me, reformat that question as an article that addresses my readers, read the responses, then take all of that and meditate on it. In the last year, these sources have served me incredibly well.