There are several ways to give friends financial advice without offending them or overstepping boundaries. If you’re financially savvy, you may wish to help those who need a little guidance. But at the same time, you may feel uneasy giving unsolicited advice. If you want to protect your friends from making unwise financial moves, here are seven ways to give friends financial advice.
1. Get Their Permission
If you're looking for polite ways to give friends financial advice, start by asking their permission. Never assume that another person wants advice on how to manage their finances better. If you're an excellent money manager, you might briefly discuss your experience, and then offer to share tips and techniques. They can either accept or decline your offer. If they decline, don't push the issue.
Even if you feel that your friend contributed to their financial misery, don't be judgmental. Remember, you're trying to help your friend, not bring them down. They may feel guilty about past choices and need a listening ear.
3. Don’t Pry Too Deeply
Depending on the type of help you’re offering, you may need to know details about your friend’s financial state. However, they may not be comfortable revealing a lot of information. Be sensitive to any hesitations, and don't pry into personal matters.
4. Listen to Their Side of the Story
Not only should you empathize, you should give your friend an opportunity to explain themself. When others make mistakes, there's often a tendency to blame them. But sometimes, financial problems occur beyond our control. Maybe your friend experienced money issues after a job loss, an illness or a divorce. The situation isn't always black or white, and the more you understand about the situation, the easier it’ll be to show compassion.
5. Watch Their Body Language
Even if your friend gives you the go-ahead to offer financial advice, keep a close watch on their body language. This is the best way to tell when you've gone too far. For example, tough love might work with some people. But others may not respond to being told what to do and what not to do. They want advice, not discipline or a lecture on good money management. Tailor your approach to each friend and watch your words to avoid offending the person you’re trying to help.
6. Use Examples
Advice is good, but some people need examples. Be candid about your financial past. You can talk about your situation, give step-by-step details, and share plenty of duplicatable examples. If your friend has difficulty saving money, illustrate techniques that have helped others, such as setting up automatic transfers with their bank or participating in other savings programs offered by credit unions and banks.
7. Offer Ongoing Support
Your friend doesn't need a lesson in money management each time you meet up. But you should be available to provide additional support, should they need it. Bad money habits develop over years, so you shouldn’t expect your friend to improve overnight. Be patient and continue to share your knowledge on an as-needed basis.
Understandably, it's hard to sit back and watch your friends make unwise financial choices. But if they're willing to accept help, this is the perfect opportunity to offer knowledge and support. What are other ways to politely give friends financial advice?