If you want to make much better decisions and end up getting better results, you consider following what I call my “Unbreakable Rule” of taking advice.
It pains me to watch people listening carefully and following the advice being given by people who simply have not earned the right to dispense it.
When I started applying this rule several years ago, the results were astonishing — I’d encourage you to do try and it see how it works.
Here’s something that happened to me recently which illustrates the point perfectly.
Earlier this year, I received this email message:
“Greg, I hope your enjoying your summer. I’d like to schedule some time over the next few weeks to get together for a Financial Advice Review. I would like to review your financial goals to identify what is important to you. I’ve attached the CIBC Imperial Service Financial Advice Review which outlines our planning process.
Would you be available September 10th at 11am?”
Ahh. Sounds like my financial advisor, someone I trust to give me advice on financial matters checking in to see how I’m doing, because they care so much about me. Right?
The person who sent this email, a financial advisor for one of the banks I happen to hold one of my mortgages with, has never met me and had not emailed me for a couple of years prior. I’ve never completed a “Financial Advice Review” for them, nor have they ever given me financial advice.
Basically, this is just a sales contact to try and sell me financial services. Did I mention I never gave them permission to use my email to solicit me? I’m sure it’s buried somewhere in the 98 page stack of documents I signed when I arranged the mortgage.
Now, most people would just automatically respond to this request, say “sure”, and start filling out their financial review package.
But here’s the problem — the financial industry is a marketing machine. They’ve gotten good at convincing people they should trust a financial advisor — regardless of what expertise or knowledge an advisor actually brings to the table.
So this is where my Unbreakable Rule comes in, and here it is:
“Only Take Advice From People Who Are Doing And Getting
What It Is That You Want To Do And Get”
In other words, you should never take advice from someone about a topic or issue when they have not proven to you they’ve earned the right to give that advice, and they have achieved a higher level of competence in that area than you have.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? How on earth can you learn something from an advisor when you’re already getting better results and have achieved more than they have?
Here is how I responded to her ..
“Hi <Name Removed For Obvious Reasons>:
Thank you for your email. I would be pleased to meet with you and complete this review statement, but I would appreciate reviewing your completed statement before I do so.
My policy is to only utilize advisors that have a higher net worth than I do, as logic dictates that you should only listen to those who are actually doing better than you. No only take advice from those who are proven to e successful with their own money, before I allow them to manage any of mine.
So if you could be so kind as to forward your completed statement in confidence for my review, we can go from there.
You can imagine how well this went over (like a lead balloon).
And guess what her reply was?
That’s right, there WAS none.
I had called the ridiculous bluff that happens every day in the financial industry, and she realized I wouldn’t be one of the “easy marks” that she normally works with. Her time would be better spent finding another sucker with no financial confidence or knowledge that she could peddle her crappy products to happily, to earn her commissions.
She didn’t even give me the courtesy of a reply, because she KNEW there was nothing she could say to defend her unwillingness (or embarrassment) to share her own financial details with me.
When you think about it, shouldn’t it be reasonable thing to ask someone to show you their financial position, if they’re planning to advice you on yours?
Am I being harsh on financial advisors? Not really, given what a scam the financial industry really is, in so many ways.
I’ll save you the diatribe on the financial industry for now, but my point is that whether it’s financial help, relationship advice or anything else, you should ONLY take advice from someone who’s earned the right to give you that advice — because they’re getting and doing the results that you’re looking to achieve.
I can’t count how many “relationship coaches” I’ve met that have horrible relationships. Financial and success gurus who literally cannot come to a meeting or event because they can’t afford the airfare. Health gurus and advisors that are 40 pounds overweight. It goes on and on.
I’m sick and tired of it, because I think it’s ultimately leading people down the wrong path.
Never be afraid to ask someone why you should follow their advice, and how they’ve earned the right to provide you mentoring, coaching or advice.
I can’t say that following this Unbreakable Rule is easy, but I CAN guarantee you that it will quickly eliminate the frauds and undeserving “experts” that are more interested in your money than they are in getting you to where you want to go.