Failing Hard

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This might seem stereotypical, but through my own personal experiences of talking to individuals about personal finance, there are drastic differences between the two genders.

Women tend to repeat the following:

  • “What are mutual funds? I don’t know anything.”
  • “Stocks are too risky”
  • “I just want to buy a home”

Men tend to be on the polar opposite of conversations:

  • “Do you think Bitcoin is a good buy?”
  • “I want to be aggressive with my stocks.”
  • “How do I make money fast and now. I want to buy an Audi.”

Regardless of gender or even where people are in their careers and life, financial illiteracy is rampant.

Women tend to be much more conservative in their investments such as GICs and high interest savings account. It’s all about preservation of income and wealth, but come retirement most will live frugal lifestyles for fear of running out of money. Yes, mom, I’m talking about you.

Men, on the other hand, are super aggressive and get burned many times over. They tend to gamble rather than invest and will perhaps strike gold once or twice, but ultimately be licking their wounds in a bear market. Men will succeed and then fail. They will never learn their lesson. They will get angry at institutions and governments for making them fail. They will start all over again and repeat this pattern only to find out they ended at the same spot they started.

Which leads me to wonder… are there any more sane financial literate people still alive?

Tell Me What to Do

When it gets down to talking about personal finance and what strategies works for people I talk to, most people respond with “I don’t know. Just tell me what to do. I want to do what you do.” If only life was that simple. You’re not me. I can’t tell you what to do. Life isn’t decided by what somebody tells you.

I usually respond with a few things. You can’t be like me. You want to know why?

  • Can you live on only a $3500 monthly budget living in a big city like Toronto?
  • Do you have no aspirations to buy a home in a highly expensive market?
  • Can you deal with living frugally? Don’t drive a luxury car. Don’t own a Canada Goose jacket?
  • Can you actually tolerate taking TTC for work and leisure?
  • Can you manage to pack a lunch every day of the week and not eat out?

Some of those statements will never apply to the people that I talk to. In fact, most people I talk to will find it absurd to even mention those things let alone accept any of those suggestions. Am I really trying to help them or am I trying to insult them?

I’m more likely to get angry looks and a firm rebuttal. Do you see why you can’t be like me? You’re already thinking that my life sucks and that I have no fun at all. Why live life at all if you’re going to live it like me!

Taking Responsibility

I can’t tell people what to do. That’s not really my job. My job is to educate people to make the best decision possible for themselves. Getting a hold of your finances isn’t about reading my blog or following the advice of a personal financial advisor. It’s about taking the initiative to learn and think for yourself.

That’s why as individuals, the onus is on ourselves to come up with a plan that works best for ourselves. In a landscape where personal finance advisors are out to make a buck on your savings and celebrities are out to tell your how to invest your money, it’s all on us to make the right decisions.

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I’m sure I’m not the greatest personal financial advisor, but I’m sure both Stallone and A-Rod aren’t the greatest role models to help you in your personal finances. They built wealth using skills that most of us will never have. Now A-Rod might have hit some home runs in his lifetime, and Stallone might knock you out with his punch line, but heck do you really want to take all your advice from celebrities?

Do you see how hopeless we are in a society when it comes to finances? Sometimes I wonder why I should even try…

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