What to say when someone you know makes a financial decision you disagree with

Surprised sidewalk

It’s not an infrequent occurrence that I get friends who apologize to me when they tell me about financial decisions they make.

I know you wouldn’t approve of this, but…

The interesting thing is that more often than not, they’re wrong. I have no objection to spending money at all! What’s important to me isn’t saving money, it’s spending money that you have, intentionally, on things (or experiences) that are important to you. If you have that, then I will support you.

But sometimes, it’s harder.

Occasionally, someone I know will share a financial decision with me, and it will be one very much at odds with what I believe is a good choice. Perhaps it was buying a new car and financing it. Perhaps it is buying a home without being properly prepared. Perhaps it’s cosigning a loan. Or anything really.

It can hard to hear about someone you care about making a decision that you feel could potentially hurt them down the road. Too many people are house-poor, or are in too much debt, or just aren’t making the progress they want to, and it’s hard to watch anything that perpetuates this.

So when someone tells me about such a purchase, here’s what I tell them.

Congratulations! That’s exciting. I’m really happy for you.

In short, I support people. Full stop. No matter what I think about the situation.

People aren’t coming to you and asking your opinion on their matters. They are sharing something that they are excited about. And it is your job—your only job—to share in their excitement. What you think about it isn’t relevant.

Now, if someone comes and asks my opinion, and I’m sure that they’re really asking my opinion, and not just looking for support, then that’s a different story.

And that does happen, but it’s important to recognize the difference.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]It’s our job to be supportive, and beyond that, to keep our mouths shut.[/perfectpullquote]

My opinions are just that. Different people have different situations, and it’s not for anyone to judge. It’s our job to be supportive, honestly, truly supportive, and beyond that, to keep our mouths shut.

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