Standing up to the Family

Dear Dave,

I'm 22, and trying to follow your plan to take care of my money. I'm working my way through school. The other day I paid cash for nice little used car. The rest of my family made fun of me, saying I should have bought a new car. They also think I take out student loans for school. They all have car payments, credit card debt, and things like that. How do you deal with criticism like this, especially from your own family?


Dear Lakeisha,

Criticism is a tough thing to handle at any age, especially when it's coming from your own family. I'm sure your family loves you, but I think you have to recognize the fact that when it comes to handling money, they are a dysfunctional bunch. This doesn't make them bad people, and you should still respect and love them, but hooray for you for breaking the mold and showing them there's a better way!

"Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still." That's one of my favorite sayings, and it is so true! You, on the other hand, know what you want to accomplish, and you already know what you're doing is smart. So, I'd suggest taking the bobble-head approach. Just sit there and nod your head when they start telling you how you should handle your finances. You don't even have to really listen. Then, when they run out of air, go on with your life, follow your excellent plan, and work toward your goals. Remember, this isn't about you, so don't take it personally. It's about them, and how little they really know.

I can already tell you're going to be a success, kiddo. You've got a tremendous amount of backbone to go against the current in your family. Just don't be disrespectful, and don't try to talk them into following you. In their minds, you're just 22 years old, and you don't know a thing! Later, if they decide they want to follow you, it will be because they see the stuff you're doing works! It may not happen for a few years, and it may not happen at all, but if you stay on this path, they're going to come to you for money one of these days. You can be polite, just say no, and tell them that you're not going to support their dysfunction. You'll gain their respect over time. And once they reach that point, they just might be willing to listen to you!

- Dave

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