- Why did this person put himself in such a position?
- Why can't this person save more?
- Why is this person spending money he doesn't have to buy this or do that activity when we both know this is a waste of money which he could otherwise save?
- Why doesn't he do A,B,C as I suggested to fix his financial situation?
So I constantly struggle with myself as to whether or not I should share my opinions or whether I should just shut up and keep them to myself. Am I the one wrong here for unfairly judging? The reality is that I can't ever claim to know what this person goes through on a daily basis and certainly I don't know his or her unique circumstances as I'm not him or her. In addition, I recognize everyone has their own values as to what is important in their lives to be happy, and for me to criticize or benchmark against what I feel is ideal, is unfair and just plain wrong.
However, this doesn't mean that it doesn't boil me up all inside every time I see inefficiency and wastefulness. It's like detective Adrian Monk coming across an unorganized table and feeling compelled to arrange things neatly. So in my meek way, I try to offer "suggestions" and "food for thought" as best as I can without ever pushing or arguing my points further if I sense resistance.
I know colleagues who make over $350K+ a year in their households and yet can't seem to eliminate credit card debt or be able to get through a month without being cash flow negative. I know a shoeshiner who has a dream of returning to his country to own a modest house and to live a good life with a goal of saving $100K and is 70% there but is afraid to "invest" to get there sooner. I know a friend on an expired student visa who lost his job and is struggling with worries of where his next meal may come from, but soon landed a gig only to go back to his spendy ways of feasting at fancy restaurants and hosting many outings. And not withstanding, I know family who loves to buy the latest gadgets, live in big houses, and go on many vacations yet feel they won't be able to retire early.
And to each of those individuals, i promise never to judge. I recognize that I'm not the gold standard for happiness and have no right to persuade you on how you should live your life. I only wish each of you the best and true happiness. It does pain me each time I hear from you that things are less than ideal. So I leave it as an open invitation that if you ever want someone to speak to about personal finances, I'd be happy to share with you my ideas and thoughts without fear of judgement.