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Has anyone ever had a loved one who makes terrible financial choices? If so, do you tell them you think they're screwing up?

I answered this letter last week from a reader whose inlaws have made some very questionable decisions with money in the past. https://www.thepennyhoarder.co...aw-retirement-plans/ In this case, the father-in-law seems to be calling the shots, while the mother-in-law gets extremely stressed about discussing money.

For me, it's a no-brainer to tell your spouse or partner when you think they're mishandling money since their decisions impact you. It's trickier when it's a parent-child relationship. Adults are allowed to make bad decisions if they want to. But if you know they'll probably ask you to bail them out if they get into trouble, how do you handle it?

I guess my approach in this situation would hinge on: 1-Do I actually have any knowledge that would prove helpful? Telling someone about a resource they don't know about is helpful. But telling someone they've been screwing up for as long as you can remember is not. 2-Is there any reasonable chance they'd take the advice? If you know the odds of someone changing are zilch, it's probably not worth introducing conflict.

Have you ever tried to tell a loved one they're mismanaging money? If so, how did it go?

Or if you've ever been on the receiving end of unsolicited financial advice, how did you feel about it? Did you find it helpful, or just intrusive?

Robin Hartill aka Dear Penny is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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1. I think it's good to have more money than not.

2. If you love someone, you want what's good for them.

Ergo, it's ones responsibility to loved ones if they're screwing up with money and get that information out there. And you've done your part. If they don't listen, it's fine -- but you've done your part. If they listen, that's great as well.

1 - Do I actually have any knowledge that would prove helpful?

I feel in general if you can spot someone screwing something up obvious with money, then you probably have enough knowledge. For example, if you see a friend making min wage buying a bunch of gucci bags, it's quite easy to see that 'hey you should live within your means so you don't regret your life 10 years from now when you're still dead broke'. But if someone's buying gucci bags but you don't know their income, then giving advice there might not be super useful -- since they can be a centimillionaire and you just don't know and they are living well within their means.

2 - Is there any reasonable chance they'd take the advice?

I think even if there's a 99% they don't take the advice, telling the advice and leaving it on the table is more for myself. I don't regret conflict nearly as much as I regret acts of omission. If there's a 1% chance just saying something will turn their life around, you should do it, and the risk of conflict is a low enough cost IMHO.

Or if you've ever been on the receiving end of unsolicited financial advice, how did you feel about it? Did you find it helpful, or just intrusive?

Most financial advice I receive I think and think upon it, critically and logically from a first principles basis. But most of the time, the advice isn't useful. But I don't find it intrusive. But I think I'm one of those rare ones that can take ideas objectively in order to exploit it to my own gain without putting any emotion into it. For me: new ideas have potentially infinite upside and 0 downside.

--

https://goodmoneygoodlife.com

If you think they'll be receptive to talking about their poor finances, absolutely say something. My brother had a roommate (also good friend of mine) with quite a bit of debt who was living paycheck to paycheck. My brother sat down with him and helped him map out a plan to pay off his credit card debt and start contributing to an employer-matched 401k. He went on to build up enough savings to put a down payment on his own condo. He's still doing great to this day.

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