Why Common Advice is Useless

When reading about finances or talking to people, I always hear the same useless advice: “You have to learn to save money.” or “It’s hard because the economy is so bad.”

This kind of talk is really just complaints and useless advice. Everyone already knows that saving money will improve their finances. But they have no idea how to do it.

After reading this great post that Matt found over at My Wife Quit Her Job, I noticed that the reason I like Steve’s blog is because it contains information that is fairly rare. It’s not about saving money, it’s about building a powerful positive cash flow asset. It’s not about lamenting about how hard life is and how hard it is to get a job. It is about how Steve’s profit is going up as unemployment rises and the economy goes down.

And I like how he shares information that I don’t usually read about the sources of our situation. One good example, is that he says,

Your goals and your potential are largely determined by the people you spend the most time with and how you were brought up.

I believe that environment is the most powerful factor in our success and how our future turns out. I think if you look around for rich, successful, and happy people, they spend their time with other rich, successful and happy people.

And that is something that anyone can do: we can all choose how we spend our time and who we hang around with. Tired of the broke neighbor that is always complaining? Then tell him you are too busy to talk. Tired of the annoying drunk family members who do nothing but talk about how hard life is? Get out of there and stay away from them!

Most people respond to this advice with comments like, “I can’t because I always spend the holidays with my family.” Or, “I can’t because I don’t want to be rude.” I think anybody can, if they are committed. It’s a question of noticing how powerful these factors are and deciding to make a change. Even if it feels uncomfortable in the moment. Even if the neighbor thinks you are “rude”.

So, I think that choosing the people that we spend our time with is a much more powerful factor in our finances that trying to save $1 by skimping on something. And, to improve our finances, or any other aspect of our lives, we really want to stop and consider the causes of the situation, and not just blindly follow the useless advice that we see everywhere.