D & S readers amazing!

Dollars and Sense readers are amazing!

They came through big-time with motivational stories

February 21, 2014

Wow, does Dollars and Sense ever have an amazing, caring and engaged readership!  While I always believed that to be true, it was proven in spades. 

Two weeks ago, I suggested the best way we can change people’s financial planning behaviors in a positive way is to apply positive peer pressure and social motivation. 

I offered a free copy of my book Managing the Bull to the first five readers who told me an authentic story of how they have motivated a friend or family member to improve their financial situation through action.

The first response was received at 5:48 AM the same morning, and the next coming 7 minutes later!  By noon, we had given away 15 books, as it’s hard to say no to enthusiasm.

Thanks to everyone who sent me one of those wonderful stories, and thanks for your permission to share some of them here:

“I have successfully convinced my oldest grandchild to follow the things you outline in your articles, and he is now contributing to RRSP, on top of belonging to a government pension.”

“My Dad was the one who encouraged always setting aside a bit for later, and reinvesting the tax benefit (delayed gratification), resisting advertising gimmickry (those zero interest/pay later purchases) and avoiding debt. His example, and success, inspired and encouraged me and our family, to aim for an early retirement instead of 'having it all' and 'keeping up with the Joneses'. My parents-in-law inspired us through their indefatigable spirits and patience... after perseverance and hard work, to let things unfold.

“Our daughter did without the winter vacations, clothes, devices etc. that her friends boasted about. We have travelled by car, camped and canoed in many parts of Canada, saved through an RESP for our daughter's education (no student loans theme), and now have enough savings for early retirement. Our pensions, RRSPs and savings will keep us comfortable. Being debt-free is paramount to our success. We will now shift our saving goals to special trips and our future grandchildren!”

“I have always believed in forced savings, put money away where it is available, but where you have to go out of your way to get it. The company I work for has a share purchase plan and I have convinced a few young people with no money to join.  Just start putting 1 or 2% of you cheque in and then when raises come, increase it by another 1%. If you really, really need the money, you can always get it.  After 10 years, one of my co-workers still tells me that it was great advice and still asks questions on saving.  Saving can be less painful if you start small and don’t lock in right away.  Keep the feeling that if you need the money you can get at it.” 

Some stories acknowledged the immense challenges some people face, like losing a spouse with young children:

“Bad things in life happen. I am so glad we were financially prepared and had insurance in place.”

Here are some very wise words to live by:

It's a delicate balance of values, indeed, to be supportive without being judgmental, to coach without lecturing, to either bite my tongue or roll it out (speak up) when necessary, and to remain credible amidst the consumerism media. Looking forward to a long and happy retirement...” 

And here’s the one my wife did not want to hear:

“I would like you to help parents get the message out to our kids. We need you to write another book.”

Thanks again for all of your input, kinship, motivation and kind words, as we work together to help people take control of their own lives.

All the best!

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Dollars and Sense is meant as an introduction to this topic and should not in any way be construed as a replacement for personalized professional advice.

Please consult legal, tax and investment experts for advice on your unique situation.

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David Christianson, BA, CFP, R.F.P., TEP, is a financial planner and advisor with Christianson Wealth Advisors, a Vice President with National Bank Financial Wealth Management, and author of the book Managing the Bull, A No-Nonsense Guide to Personal Finance.