Money Myth #1: ‘I’m too poor for financial advice’
Every day since I opened the doors to this business, I give thanks for the opportunity to educate people about personal finance. The expression on my clients’ faces when they realize they are on a path to early retirement gives me the pure, ecstatic drive to work with a hundred more people.
Still, providing financial advice for America’s 20 and 30 somethings is no easy task given all the misinformation young Americans have received about personal finance, and every so often when I’m talking to friends, I hear misconceptions that sadden me deeply.
The saddest statement I hear (and I hear it a lot) is: “I definitely need financial advice and Nathan, I think what you’re doing is great, but I don’t have any money right now. I’ll call you when I do!”
I believe wholeheartedly in the life-long value of our services, but if someone is brushing me off because they don’t want to be my client, I understand. Unfortunately, I hear this sentiment often from people who could really benefit from quality financial advice and I feel a terrible loss for them because they are discounting the most valuable asset they own.
Monte Largo’s first core value is also my most cherished belief: time is our most valuable asset. When you are young, even if you don’t have money, you have something so precious that no money can buy it, and that’s time. Time is the key driver of compound interest, and any financial analyst will tell you that a dollar today is literally more valuable than a dollar tomorrow, because today’s dollar has more time to grow and more opportunities than tomorrow’s.
By saying, “oh, once I have money in a few years I’ll start learning how to save and invest” that person is wasting priceless years of their life. One of my favorite proverbs is “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Who will future you become because present you committed RIGHT NOW to plan for success? If you haven’t started taking control of your financial life, then why wait longer only to regret the time you can never get back.
Moreover, this “one day when I have money” sentiment perpetuates the myth that people need to have a lot of money before being “worthy” of receiving financial advice. Sadly, the most common business models of financial planners and wealth managers encourage this thinking. They don’t understand how to work together with young people who have so much potential and just need some help building a plan for their future wealth.
We want to work with you and we are so excited to get started because we want to see where financial freedom takes you.
This is why “I don’t have money now, but when I do, I’ll call you” is so hard to hear. Many of the people who offer this excuse have been working for 1, 5, or even 10 years. The 10 year veterans should already be retired or close to it. But there’s always an excuse — student loans, high rent, new baby, a medical emergency. When life presents challenges, remember that the wealthy don’t make excuses. They make money.
The only two things that stand between you and financial independence are time and education. Another of Monte Largo’s core values is that independence is built on education. The rich don’t make excuses because they know how to plan for the unexpected and make informed decisions when problems arise. They are educated to do so. They manage their lives. They don’t let their lives manage them.
When I get the “I don’t have money right now” response, I usually politely smile, tell my friend to contact me soon, and go on my way. But inside I feel like erupting into a speech that sounds much like this blog post. I feel almost evangelical about personal finance (I suppose I wouldn’t have started a business if I didn’t), and it’s difficult to see friends and loved ones rob themselves of a future so wonderful and different than the one they are creating for themselves by default.
In case you still aren’t motivated, here’s your wake-up call. If you’ve graduated college and have been working for two years, student loan debt should be a thing of the past. If you didn’t have debt to begin with, you should have saved enough to put a down payment on a home or to jump start your first long-term investments. If you aren’t building momentum towards financial freedom then now is the time to start, because you are rich with time.
Nathan is the CEO of Monte Largo Financial Advisors LLC.