Clueless friends giving you money advice? Use the STFUDF Technique
April 15th, 2010 - 57 Comments
How many people in your life lecture you about finances, but don’t have their own finances under control?
Nothing is more infuriating than someone telling me I’m “throwing away money on rent” when they haven’t spend even 2 hours running the numbers.
Or someone who proudly proclaims that they found a higher interest rate on a new bank, which is giving them 2%!!! When you politely say, Wow! How much is that worth? they get very very quiet…because (1) they never thought about it, and (2) you know that an extra 1% is only worth $8/month for a $10,000 balance.
Or people who bragged about their hot tech stock being up 80%…but then don’t mention it 2 years later when they realize it crashed and they are actually not very good at picking individual investments. I’m guessing that on their idiotic penny-stock-picking website, they probably didn’t learn the two most important words for choosing investments: asset allocation.
Introducing the STFUDF Technique
So it’s with great pleasure that I introduce the STFUDF Technique. DF stands for Dumb Friends.
One of my newsletter subscribers, Chris Sundberg, inspired this when he told me how he uses tax refunds strategically.
“I get the lecture from just about everyone I know. However, I purposely have my employer take an additional amount out of my paycheck so that I get a bigger refund each year. I know the government gets to use it interest free for a year, but…. I also get a little “bonus” every year to spend on whatever I want. I’ve automated the rest of my finances so I don’t miss the money a bit. And if the government gets to use it for a year…. we’ll call that patriotism. My paycheck gets split between my “bill paying” checking account and my “spend on whatever the fuck you want” account. That way I don’t have to budget. My bills all get paid automatically out of my bill paying account (including automatic contributions to my Roth IRA), and about $50 per month goes into an Orange Savings.
So…. whenever I get the lecture, I ask the person how much they’ve contributed to their Roth that year and when they can’t answer me honestly I tell them to STFU.“
3 important rules for the STFUDF principle
- First of all, when people give you advice on finances, let’s be honest: They’re probably right. That’s because most people are horrible at finances, so just statistically, you probably are, too. You’re not allowed to use this technique until your finances are reasonably automated and optimized.
- HOWEVER — since you read this site and have presumably automated your money using my book, chances are you know more than this person. In this case, it’s permissible to implement the STFUDF Technique.
- Do not simply shout out “STFUDF STFUDF STFUDF” repeatedly. That would be uncouth. Instead, use subtle questions like this:
- “That is really interesting advice. So should I think about this first, or my asset allocation?”
- “Really? Woah…I never thought of that. What do you think should come first? [Their advice] or maxing out my Roth IRA? (Wait while they make something up, then say this): How come?”
- “Nice! So how do you do this AND hit your 401(k) employer match AND your Roth IRA AND stay debt-free? I just don’t think I could do it.” This one is particularly clever as you’re employing a self-admission of inadequacy, which will make your friend writhe in pain since it’s impossible to counter.
Use the STFUDF Technique with care. It is powerful.
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