At the beginning of a brand new decade I look back on my path of discovering and starting my journey into financial Independence (FI). I realize there’s no way I could have got here on my own. I’ve written before about the importance of connecting to a community to help you go further and reach FI faster. I’ve also shared with you how I engage in the FI Community and leverage it to help get to FI faster. But there’s one more thing that I think that’s helped me go further and feel less alone. And that’s finding a BEST FINANCIAL FRIEND (BFF).
The Harsh Facts
Research shows that 50% of Canadians have no one to talk to about their financial challenges. This includes not being able to talk to their spouse/partner. I’m not sure why this is, but for some reason people can’t share their troubles with each other when it comes to their finances. That’s why I’ve always encouraged people to reach out to an online community, but I also want to encourage people to create genuine relationships in their life. I want them to create deep relationships with others when it comes to finances so they can lean on both our FI community and individuals to get them through the hard times. Having a collection of best financial friends (BFF) can do this for you.
What is a BFF
A best financial friend (BFF) can be anyone that you have a connection with and feel that you can share your deepest and darkest financial secrets. Okay, it doesn’t have to be that dramatic. But, I think it’s important to find someone that you trust enough that you can share your feelings and your thoughts and your ideas and your worries when it comes to personal finance. I’ve narrowed it down to three elements to identify what a BFF looks like:
TRUST (Click Me)
A BFF is someone that you trust no matter what. They’ve shown that they can be someone you can talk to and share with. You trust that they will have your best interest in mind, and they won’t take advantage of you. This I think is the most important element because it is foundational to great financial friendships
Communication (Click Me)
A BFF is someone you can talk to. Someone who’s available to be there for you but also is willing to make an effort to communicate with you. Communication is a two-way street and in most situations your BFF is someone who’s willing to meet, share and communicate how they feel and be vulnerable with you. If it is just one way, you may not be in a BFF situation.
Since I started this journey to Financial Independence I’ve been able to create friendships because people who are interested in finance are looking to connect. This includes people online but also people in my work and also friends. Below are a group that I have tapped into that to help me on my journey:
Workmates (Click Me)
I’ve been very open and honest about my passion for financial independence. So much so, I talk about it a lot with my co-workers. Some look at me and question my sanity, others roll their eyes, but I’ve found a couple of kindred spirits who like to geek out about finance and investing. I’ve cherished these relationships, and it has helped bring perspective on investing and getting out of my head. These relationships are important, because I see these people 8 hours a day/5 days a week.
Friends (Click Me)
I have very few people that I call friends in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I love connecting with people and I’m pretty social, but I reserve the term “friendship” for those who fit the BFF criteria. As I became more passionate about financial Independence, I started making friends with people who are just as passionate as I am. I feel comfortable talking about my finances, the struggles I face and the successes in my life. The reason this is important is that a true BFF is a friend that you choose to create a deeper, regular and sustainable long-term relationship.
My Partner (Click Me)
This probably goes without saying, but my partner, Mrs. Prairie FIRE, is my most important BFF. We journey together through life and our finances are intimately tied together. That being said, I find the closer you are with someone, the more challenging it can be to talk about difficult situations like finances. Nonetheless, we have to be on the same page and be vulnerable with our partners and have those tough conversations about money. Yes it’s scary, but like all relationships it takes deliberate time and effort to build trust, communicate often and encourage each other.
My Financial Adviser (Click Me)
A lot of folks in the FIRE movement poo poo the idea of having a financial advisor. But, it all depends on the type of financial advisor you have in your life. My financial adviser is someone who is a fiduciary. That’s just a fancy word saying whoever is providing you a product or service are legally obligated to look out for your best interest rather than their own. Now I can go into all the details of what this looks like but overall if you are going to find a financial advisor to be your BFF you need to make sure they are a fiduciary. My advisor has played an important role in being able to strategically position myself to gain the most out of my investments in the market. They’ve also played an important role in preventing me from making huge mistakes in my taxes and implementing some key tax strategies (i.e. The Smith Maneuver). So far my financial adviser has been well worth the money they charge and has taken me to another level in my financial education. Take the time to find a financial adviser that fits your values and your investment strategy. There aren’t many out there, but when you find one make sure they become your close BFFs.
As I write this post, the world is facing one of its biggest challenges in generations: COVID-19. This worldwide pandemic has forced us into isolation and I think now more than ever it is important for us to connect and be engaged. Many of us are facing some of our biggest financial challenges, given that everything is shut down and people are losing their jobs.
I encourage you to be open and to be engaged with the community, to build those relationships and build support so we can all get through this together. Take the time to read my other post about connecting with the FIRE community and feel free to reach out to me if you have questions or simply want to talk. I’d be more than happy to be your first best financial friend.
Good luck my friend and we can all get through this financial journey together.