Who to Trust with Your Financial Well-Being

by David Bakke

financial well-beingOne common theme that I have tried to maintain with this blog is that you must realize is that you can’t be an expert at everything. In other words, to save the most money on computer repair, auto repair, home repairs, groceries, insurance and your mortgage, you’d need to be an expert in each and every field I just listed. Well, that’s just not possible.

So, the next best thing is to get people into your life that are. Basically, you are looking for an expert in all the areas that you’re not. That’s not to say that a little research and self-education wouldn’t hurt for all areas financial, but you should always consider the help of an expert to make your final decisions.

Well, that all sounds well and good, but what are we supposed to do, stand on the street corner all day with a sign that says “Looking for a (insert “computer” or “insurance” or “mortgage”) expert? No, of course not. Therefore, I wanted to write a sort of follow up as to how you can get these people into your circle of contacts.

Before I go any further this post was motivated by the fact that a commenter of mine recently wrote somewhere that all people in the mortgage industry were “rabid savages” and couldn’t be trusted. It was just something I had to send along to the person who is my mortgage expert. He really got a kick out of it.

Anyways, here goes-a short list of how to find and get these very important people into your life.

First, be sociable. By nature, I am not very sociable. But, after realizing the benefits of being sociable, I have forced myself out of that comfort zone and have become as sociable as I can. By simply talking to people more, you can find out what their areas of expertise (if any) are. You can also begin to get a read on them to whether they know what they’re talking about (some don’t) and whether or not they can be trusted (some can’t).

Second, pay attention. The key here is that you’re trying to establish whether they can be trusted or not. If you are going to be asking them for advice on your finances, or any other area of your life where you’re trying to save money, truth has to be high on the list. If you can’t trust their opinion, there is no sense listening to it. By paying attention, I mean you can tell a lot about a person by their actions. This is a very subjective thing, and maybe it is an acquired talent of mine, but I am pretty good at spotting trustworthiness. One litmus test is, do they look you in the eye when they talk to you? A second even more subjective one is, do you get a sense of a used car salesman when you talk to them? If they’re out to “sell” you too hard on their talent or their expertise, chances are it’s not all that it cracked up to be. The people in my circle of contacts could have cared less about being of assistance to me.

Third, verify. If you want to stick with one insurance agent for example (someone you’d actually go to for advice), ask them for references! And, if and when you get them, call them! Find out how long this person has been doing what they are doing, find out if there are other customers of theirs you can contact, and so on. Although this sounds like a procedure you’d go through only if you’re receiving paid services from someone, I see no reason why you can’t do it for these purposes as well. I’d be nonchalant about it, but there is a way to get all of this information if you really want it.

In short, I have an insurance person in my life who I’ve known for over eleven years. I have a mortgage person in my life who I’ve known for almost fifteen. I have a “computer” guy in my life that I’ve known for five. These people have saved me literally thousands of dollars over the years with their advice and expertise. Certainly they’d be worth finding and getting into your life as well.

Do you have any of these people in your life yet? If so, how did you find them? Please share below.

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January 30, 2010 at 4:57 pm

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