For those of you who have read some of my past posts, you know that not very long ago is when I started to dip into the finance world. The adventure so far has been quite amazing and I have learned so much. A few months ago, I was at work and came across a financial fitness seminar that was being offered though my company’s HR department. I had thought to myself just how much I enjoyed learning new things about finance, this is a perfect opportunity to learn more. So I signed up. After all, it was free and it was held in a room just 2 floors down from where my desk sits. I didn’t even have to spend any extra money on gas to enjoy this experience.
The day of the seminar came and I was eager with my notepad ready. (Yes, I know that I sound like a nerd). The seminar started and a printout of the PowerPoint presentation was available to take notes as we progressed through the slides. As the presentation began, I listened intently to the presenter talk about how financial products work and some things that can be applied to “improve” your financial situation. He discussed how there is good debt and bad debt, how credit cards are great to have because they can build up your credit score, how it is important to pay off credit cards in the order of interest rate and how the debt snowball method really isn’t smart. He went on about things like funding your investments while in debt.
As I sat there and listened to all this, may jaw dropped in astonishment. I thought this was supposed to be a financial fitness seminar, not an express ticket to financial slavery. I could not believe what I was hearing. Having followed many finance blogs myself and listening to Dave Ramsey (and yes, I know that not everything Dave says resonates with everyone, it does not all resonate with me either), hearing the exact opposites of what many finance gurus preach, the feeling in the room became very uneasy for me. I started looking around at the other 30 or so people to see what types of expressions they had on their faces. To my amazement, they were all sitting there, soaking all of this info in, quickly scribbling it down on their notepads as if it were the best advised ever.
It took everything out of me to not get up and walk out of the room. I started to bring my mind back down and took a few deep breaths. Then I decided to just sit and listen to hear what other kinds of crazy stuff was being taught. At that moment, realization hit me in the face. This information is what all these other people in the room may try to base their financial goals and plans from. No wonder why people of this country are so much in debt. We hear things from financial “experts” and don’t research further or question it.
Ok, so yes, credit cards can build up credit scores, paying off debt in order of interest rate is certainly an available option and funding investments is a great way to save for the future. The problem I had with this is that nothing was explained well enough. Without the proper explanations and the whys behind methods, we do not learn, we just do. And when things get rough or don’t work out the way we expect, then what? Where do we turn?
What Does Your Gut Tell You?
Based on the info I received in this seminar, if I followed it even now, just a few months later, I would probably not be as far as I am today in my fight to defeat normal. When you get financial advice, do not take it as gold. Do the best thing for you. If something does not feel right, it probably isn’t. Yes I do realize that I offer bits of financial advice in my posts, but I also understand that in your battle to defeat normal, it is not about me and what I say; it is about you, your decisions and your actions. Although I do describe things here that have worked (and not worked) for me, I know that this does not apply to everyone or every situation.
What has been your experience with financial seminars or “expert advice”? Have you received any great financial advice? Have you received any poor financial advice? I would love to hear from you and encourage you to post in the comments below. And if you like what you have read here, please follow me and share it with others on Facebook and Twitter. I would also love you hear from you at email@example.com. Thanks for reading and keep on working to defeat normal.