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Advice is something that everybody likes to give, but very few people like to take. This is definitely true when it comes to conversations about money and borrowing and knowing who to trust can be difficult. Family members, friends, work colleagues and even strangers online are usually more than happy to give their take on your financial situation, but who should you really be listening to? Ultimately, the only person who can make financial decisions is you, but there is nothing wrong with getting a fresh perspective on your money situation by discussing it with people you trust. Here’s Asteria’s guide on getting financial advice.
This could be your partner, your parents, or a close sibling. Though everybody’s relationships with their family are different, this can be a good place to start when you are thinking about making large purchases or potentially borrowing from a lender. Talk through why you think you need the money and also explore any potential alternatives. Your immediate family are likely to advise you proceed with caution when dealing with credit, which is something we at Asteria would also recommend. There is a caveat to this, though. Older generations and those who don’t have any experience of borrowing may not be the best people to discuss finance with as they are likely to recommend that you simply do without or delay making a purchase until you have enough disposable income to do so. Though this may sound like good advice initially, in situations where loans are needed for business purposes or essential household purchases, it is not the most practical of solutions.
Discussing your finances with a professional is one of the best ways to get a better understanding of your money management habits as well as your potential needs. This is not an option for everybody as most professional financial advice is offered for a fee. If you are having problems with money, this may be a good investment for you, though. Unlike well-meaning family members or work colleagues, those who work in the financial sector will be able to explain the options you have and also how you can minimise any risk of spoiling your credit score or being rejected for credit cards and loans.
Talking to your friends about your financial situation can be touchy subject for some people, whereas others are perfectly comfortable disclosing how much they earn as well as how much they owe. As with all financial advice, you should always aim to take what is said with a pinch of salt, meaning that you should not take it too literally. Friends can often encourage each other to spend money, especially when discussing things like holidays, home improvements, new cars, or other major purchases. Though it is important to make yourself happy and to have the things you want, always be realistic about your financial situation. A 5 star luxury holiday might do wonders for your stress levels in the short term, but if you have paid for it using a loan that you will then struggle to pay off, it will cause more problems in the long term. Friends with a level headed and disciplined approach to spending are usually the best people to speak to when it comes to discussing money. Just do not expect them to make decisions for you, ultimately, that is always going to be your responsibility.
Though discussing the finer details of your financial situation with total strangers online is definitely not something we would ever encourage, there is a surprising amount of potential advice available from platforms such as reddit or other forums. The advantage of asking for financial advice online is that you can do so with relative anonymity. This means you are more likely to be honest about why you are borrowing and what led you to make that decision. Similarly, when people interact with other people online, they are often very candid, very direct and can see the situation objectively. Though you may not always get the answer you are looking for and you might disagree with some of the advice that comes your way, asking for financial advice online can be very effective way of getting a realistic perspective on whether or not you should borrow, save, invest or spend.
Lenders can offer financial advice themselves, but we would not recommend that you use them as a sole source of information. Though all responsible lenders will be give you an honest opinion on whether or not they think borrowing would be a good idea for, it’s important to remember that this is also their line of business, so it’s in their interests for you to borrow. Approaching lenders for advice isn’t necessarily a bad thing and, in many cases,, loan providers and credit card companies can help you to understand things like how credit scores are worked out and how you can make the most of your money. Just remember to get a second opinion and to take time out to think about whether or not you can realistically afford to pay off what you plan to borrow before you decide to sign up to anything officially.
Talking about money is important and though the final decision will always be yours to make, getting a fresh perspective or a new opinion can often help you to make a responsible choice. We would recommend that you discuss your financial situation with those you trust the most first. Though family members and friends may not always give the best advice, simply verbalising your thoughts will help you to understand your financial situation in more detail yourself. After you have done this, seeking a second opinion, either from an online forum or a professional can be a good idea. This means you can get a more objective perspective on your finances. Finally, when you are ready to decide, approach the lender or credit card provider of your choice so you can discuss your options.