You Are Your Own Best Financial Guru

When you’re going through difficult financial times, or when you are trying to figure out what to do with your money, it’s easy to become vulnerable to popular financial gurus. These folks make a living telling people in no uncertain terms what they should do with their hard-earned cash. They tend to be popular for many reasons.

First of all, they’re entertaining. Secondly, much of their advice is common-sense and, thus, helpful. But, I believe that another reason why these people are so popular is because they are CERTAIN. Whenever you’re feeling confused or uncertain, it is comforting to encounter someone who seems to have all the answers. They are confident, loud, and determined to convince you that they are right. Because you are in a period of confusion and pain due to your financial condition, it’s easier to rely on the guru’s confidence and success than it is to trust your own gut. The guru seems to be successful, so maybe they know best, you think. You become even more convinced of that when their common-sense advice starts working for you. You start feeling some relief and hope. You become a convert and a devotee to this particular guru.

The problem with this is that you’re relying on someone else’s ideas, experiences, confidence, mindset, and biases rather than developing your own financial philosophy. So, when you have a future question about your money, instead of taking a breath and doing your own research until you find an answer that works with your own personality and lifestyle, you simply fall in line with another person’s opinions. If you have an opinion that differs from your guru’s, you feel guilty or stressed. You assume that YOU must be wrong.

A better approach is to trust yourself. You used your intelligence and effort to make the money, so you are also the best person to decide what to do with it. Consider these steps to develop your own financial philosophy:

  1. Forgive yourself for making mistakes with money. Financial literacy is rarely taught by anyone, either at home or in the school system. Many of us also lacked great examples. So, of course, mistakes are made. It doesn’t mean you’re “not good with money.” It means you need to take the time and teach yourself.
  2. Approach the topic of money the same way you would approach a healthy eating plan. Just because one person is allergic to peanuts or gluten, for example, doesn’t mean that everyone has to avoid them. Some people thrive on a vegan diet; others love the keto diet. All healthy diets have certain things in common, such as including whole foods, fruits, vegetables, and nutrients. Likewise, all sound financial plans have certain general things in common, such as saving and limiting debt. The details, however, are individual. It’s great to learn lots of different ways of handling money. But, then focus on the path that seems best to you.
  3. Find the balance between being gullible, and being so skeptical and hard-headed that you fail to consider good advice that might help you. For example, there are gurus that basically say that if you even have a credit card, you’re stupid. This fails to take into account that not everyone is out of control. It’s like saying that because there are alcoholics in the world, no one should ever drink. The best approach to anything is to be wise, balanced, and thoughtful before you do anything with your money or your life.

I hope the above strategies are helpful. Money is a very personal issue. The amount that you have is a reflection of your talents, effort, and mindset. What you do with the fruits of your labor should be considered carefully, but not in a spirit of fear. We should never give our power away to people we don’t even really know. You know your own patterns of behavior and situation the best.

Learn as much as you can from many different people, but always ask yourself WHY a particular financial action is recommended. Don’t just do something, or not do something, because a guru told you so. All the answers you need are inside of you.

Raven B. Kushner is a mortgage loan officer based in Los Angeles County, serving all of California. For more information, or to be pre-approved, please contact her at (626) 538-7818 or raven@fidelity1stfunding.com.

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