Pardon me while I get a bit serious. (Knock it off. I can hear you groaning out there…)
Any belief that you have now came from somewhere. You certainly weren’t born with any beliefs. Some experience you had shaped your thinking into what it is today. Maybe it was a direct experience. That is: something that actually happened to you. Or maybe it was the experience of someone else which they told you about. Or even something that someone else heard from someone else and then told you.
Similarly, our Plan For Life was given to us by our parents and teachers and mentors. If you are like me, then your plan probably went something like this: Go to school and get good grades, go to college and get good grades, get a good job, save 10% of your income for retirement, work for 40+ years and then you can retire.
Does this actually work?
For many, it probably does, however for many it doesn’t. Would it have worked for me? Probably, but I wasn’t willing to wait that long. The idea of working for someone else for a large chunk of my life just turned my stomach and so I set out to find a better map.
There’s a personality trait, which is the basis of all scientific progress, that I think will benefit just about everybody: healthy skepticism. Take everything you hear, and I mean everything, with an open mind and a healthy dose of skepticism.
I’m not saying that you should question even basic assumptions (“Is fire actually hot or are you just saying that?”). But when someone gives you a piece of advice, it’s your duty as a rational, independent, thinking person to say to yourself, “That could be right, but let me investigate further”.
- Does this person speak from direct experience or do they know a guy who knows a guy?
- Is this person following their own advice or do they just “talk the talk”?
- Is this person in a position I would want to be in, assuming that their advice will take me there?
Why should I listen?
For example: If your broke uncle gives you financial advice, you could easily apply the above tests and see that, yeah, you should probably ignore it. (I appologize to all the broke uncles out there but it’s true!).
If someone told that early financial independence isn’t possible, I want you to ask yourself if you should really be listening to that person’s advice, based on the test above.
I urge you to question the assumptions which drive your decisions. Are the assumptions your own or were they given to you? Did you accept them at face value or did you put them to the test?
Question the map you were given and see if there might be a better option out there for you.
How about y’all? Has anyone ever tried to give you financial advice when they were not in the position you want to be in?
Photo by erjkprunczyk