There's a secret financial weapon that we all have in our arsenal but very few of us use (alright, none of us use) – but we should be using it daily! It's the most powerful weapon in the world. And since you're reading this right now, I know you have it.
What is it made of? Financial Knowledge
Weapon (noun) – A means of gaining an advantage or defending one's self
Knowledge (noun) – Information and skills acquired through experience or education
Knowledge is Only Part the Secret Financial Weapon
However, while knowledge itself can be a very powerful weapon, it's not a secret. Everyone knows the phrase knowledge is power. And knowledge is power – you need it to become powerful and change your circumstance. You need it to make a difference – to yourself and for others.
And knowledge is what the secret financial weapon is made of.
And I know you have it. How do I know?
I know you have financial knowledge because you're reading The College Investor today. And chances are, you probably stopped at several other personal finance sites on the Internet today. You also probably have a subscription to a financial magazine, and maybe you even signed-up for a financial newsletter.
This is all means that you have financial knowledge.
You don't need to be an expert, but you know something. You probably love personal finance as much as I do (or at least don't hate it). You probably understand Investing 101 and Personal Finance Basics.
So, I know you're weapon is loaded…
The Real Secret is Sharing
But the real secret part of this weapon is sharing. When was the last time you shared your financial knowledge – maybe with a friend, coworker, or family member? Chances are that you do it few and far between.
But it is essential that we use our knowledge and share it with others. This is what makes knowledge even more powerful!
Imagine a scenario in which you have a coworker who continually comes into the office and complains that they are struggling to make ends meet. However, everyday they pull up to work in a current model year Lexus, and they want to go to expensive restaurants for lunch each day. On Monday mornings, when you ask him how his weekend was, he would tell you about his shopping excursions all over town. You also notice the off-comments when you mention your house or vacation, especially the ones about “How can you afford that on our salary…”.
In these situations, you really have two choices:
- Do Nothing
- Share Your Financial Knowledge
If you do nothing, there is one guaranteed outcome – nothing. Nothing will change. There is no hope for your coworker because they are ignorant to the financial knowledge you have. The benefit of this choice is that you avoid talking to this coworker who you probably don't like to talk to anyway. But this choice will also not benefit you in the long run.
People without financial knowledge are the same people who struggle in the financial system. They are the same ones who will declare bankruptcy, make the companies we all use write off debt and in turn raise costs, which impacts your personal checkbook. While the problem is systemic, the solution is individual.
Sharing Your Financial Knowledge
That's why I urge you to go with option two and share your financial knowledge. It only takes a few simple sentences to share your knowledge – the knowledge I know you have.
Just think – instead of just listening, maybe mention something free that you're doing to manage your finances. Maybe you mention the awesome deal you found on a credit card using Mint or some other free online money management tool. You don't need to sell or insist. You just need to share.
If, deep down inside, this coworker thinks you have financial knowledge (which the off-comments usually mean), he will listen to you (or at least act without telling you). This is the secret financial weapon nobody talks about or uses. The power of knowledge and influence.
By sharing this knowledge, you can give your coworker tools to help them get out of their financial situation. In the big scheme of things, this will benefit you in the long run and help them in the short run.
Take Action Today
So I urge you to take action today. Share some financial tidbit with two people today. Once you do it, encourage them to share it with two other people. Start the chain reaction of financial knowledge today!
It doesn't have to be an investing tip or even a personal story. Maybe you just discuss a recent news event or encourage someone to enroll in benefits. Even these basic financial discussions can really help improve the system.
Leverage this secret financial weapon today so we can all enjoy a more financially secure tomorrow.