If you're trying to get your finances in order, it helps to have a financial buddy by your side. This is someone who can guide you and hold your hand through the process. Whether you're trying to pay off debt, save money or live within your means, a financial buddy can provide the encouragement and support you need. But it's important that you choose the right person as your buddy. Here are seven things to look for in a financial buddy.
1. A Good Listener
A financial buddy should be someone who's willing to sit and listen to your financial problems. Think of this person as a mentor or your personal advisor. If you have any problems regarding budgeting, debt, savings, this person should be willing to provide a listening ear. Even when they don't have the answers, you can vent or express your frustrations without feeling embarrassed about your situation.
2. Good Financial Foundation
Since you'll go to this person for financial advice, it helps to choose someone who has a firm grasp on his or her own finances. In other words, if you have a friend who has a ton of debt, or she doesn’t live within her means, this is not the right person to have as a financial buddy. If you choose someone who can’t manage their own finances, there's a chance that this person will give poor advice.
3. Have Similar Money Goals
Your buddy doesn't have to be perfect, but this person should have the same financial goals as you. Since you’ll have many money discussions, it pays to be on the same page. Maybe you and your best friend have credit card debt and you want to pay off your balances together. You can provide support and encourage each other.
Your financial buddy should not be someone who will blab your information to family or friends. Understandably, you want to keep your private financial matters private. Therefore, you don't need anyone telling others about the debt you owe or how much you earn. If you can't trust the person with your information, they shouldn't be your financial buddy.
5. Ability to Give Tough Love
As you work to improve your financial state, there are times when you may fall off track and make unwise financial decisions. A good financial buddy isn't afraid to give tough love. This person should not be a yes man or an enabler. His job is to help you stay on the right financial path; and sometimes, this involves getting real and telling you what you need to hear — not what you want to hear.
6. They Want the Job
You also need to choose a person who doesn't mind being your financial buddy. Don't just choose anyone for the job, and the person you choose doesn't have to be your closest friend. Maybe you have a coworker, a cousin, or another relative who's really good with money and they've given excellent advice over the years. If this person can help you reach your financial goals, and they want the responsibility of being a financial buddy, they might be a perfect for the job.
7. Take Their Advice
Ask yourself, ‘do I really want help?’ You won’t always like the advice you’re given. But if you trust your buddy, you need to trust that he or she has your best interest in mind. And if you constantly ignore sound advice, your buddy might become impatient with you.
You might not know much about personal finances. And when trying to improve your finances, there’s a lot of trial and error. This is normal. But with a financial buddy, you'll have someone by your side to guide you in the right direction. What are other things to look for in a financial buddy?