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20 questions that your financially unprepared friends are afraid of

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Note: In many cultures, you would be considered a huge jackass for asking these questions out loud.


Head in sand

1. How much money do you spend each month?
2. Where does it go?
3. Where do you want it to go?
4. Are you rich?
5. What does rich mean to you?
6. Hey, how’d you pay for that iPhone?
7. How much do you automatically save each month?
8. Why’d you pull your money out of the stock market?
9. You’re always thinking about cutting down on spending. Ever thought about earning more money?
10. OMFG, are you REALLY planning to buy a house for the tax deduction?
11. If your employer has a 401(k) match, do you max it out?
12. Then pay off debt, invest in your Roth IRA, and — if you still have money left over — max out your 401(k)?
13. Once your money is in those different accounts, have you invested it according to some simple rules of asset allocation?
14. In the next ten years, you’ll have to pay for a wedding, new car, have kids, take vacations, etc. How much are you saving each month for those things? (In last week’s Scrooge Strategy tip, I showed how to do this tactically, along with a pre-built spreadsheet.)
15. 6 months ago, if I had told you the stock market would be on sale for 50% off, would you have invested more, less, or pulled all your money out?
16. You’re always complaining about money, but have you read even one book on personal finance?
17. When was the last time you said “no” when someone asked you to do something that involved spending money?
18. How do your friends handle their money, and how do you think it affects you?
19. What’s the one thing you could do today to start getting rich?
20. Why haven’t you already done it?

[Update]: Download a PDF version of these questions for easier sharing.

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  1. Simple, people follow the herd and do the same. They don’t question just do it. They buy shit they can;t afford, shit they don’t need and shit others told them to buy.

    And when you confront them and come up with a stupid way to justify it and then they complain they lost their job and will lose their car and house.

    Yet they make no effort to learn finance.

  2. Why does Jackass and Honesty go hand in hand? It’s a shame. Real shame.


  3. #16 rings real true to me. Do people even know that these books are out there and can actually help them out? Probably not.

  4. People are lazy and expect others to solve their problems.

  5. My personal fav is; you could afford that vacation too, have you ever considered saving up slowly? I hate it when people complaing about others going on vacation. It’s simple don’t go out every weekend and after a few weekends you will save enough money to go down south.

  6. I don’t know if it’s peer pressure or what it is that prevents people from saving and being smart with their money or what it is.

    The barriers thing rings true for me, I confess. Once upon a time I worked in the silver business. Back when the commodity prices tanked last summer I could’ve bought silver under $10. Kitco today says about $13. Granted after refinery fees and all that junk my $1000 investment would’ve only made $150-$200 at the most and that’s being generous really but it’s still more return than it made in the bank, even my high interest savings.

  7. That is so true, i mean they go out and buy crap they don’t really need, when in reality they could have used the money for their vacation.
    Absolutely no commitment and focus

  8. Is the book going to have new and exciting information about personal finance – or will it be the same info as on this site and many other personal finance sites? Will it be much different from the Automatic Millionaire or Rich Dad Poor Dad?

    • Hey Mike, the vast majority of the book is new stuff that I’ve never written on this site — highly tactical steps that you can take to optimize your credit cards, bank accounts, investments, and automate your money. And yes, it will be much different than “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” because it will actually give you something actionable to do!

  9. Is the book going to be suitable for those of us outside America?

    Also don’t you just hate those sales incentives where they don’t tell you what you are going to get, 99% of the time I’m sure they do that just because they know the incentive is worthless!

    • The book stands on its own and doesn’t need any “sales incentives,” but I’m doing extra stuff because I want to. It’s a US-focused book, but lots of the principles apply to anyone. I’ll announce more about what I’m doing soon!

  10. My ultimate spending pet peeve (that I hear from others) is that he or she “deserves” new shoes or a vacation or whatever. You don’t deserve anything material that you don’t have the cash for!!!