A reader sent me an email that contained the following question:
A friend of mine asked for my advice on how to approach a friend of hers who needs some help getting her finances organized. My friend also has a couple names of professionals who might be able to provide help. What do you think is the best way for her to broach the subject?
Wow! I don’t know. Advice given without first being asked for advice, doesn’t work and can easily alienate the receiver. If this person has a close relationship with her friend, the best thing to do would be to just start a dialogue about finances in general and hope that the other person opens up. It may take a while because people tend to keep their finances in a lockbox and don’t discuss them with their friends. However, if this person is feeling overwhelmed with their situation, they may secretly want some help but just don’t know who or how to ask.
To start the dialogue (listen to me try to sound like a communications expert), here are a conversation-starters that might work:
1. “My 401(k) grew x% last year.”
2. “I just read a really good personal finance book…”
3. “My favorite blog is AllFinancialMatters.com.” (hey, it couldn’t hurt!)
4. “My life has been so much easier since I started banking online.”
5. “You need to get your act together!” (don’t really use this one.)
6. “Have you ever thought about what you want to do when you retire?”
7. “Man am I glad I have an emergency fund.”
8. “Well, I finally paid off my last credit card…”
There’s a few that I can think of. I’m sure there’s lots more that might help get things started. The main thing is to take it easy. If the friend doesn’t take the bait, don’t push it.
Now I would like to know what you guys think. What are your thoughts on this topic?