The following happens to me often and maybe you’re familiar with the predicament. You talk to someone with a problem and you pretty much know how to solve it. You proceed to explain the solution to them: Here, you should talk to these guys; read this book; find out about this; here’s how you go about it.

You think all is well. Then you run into them two months later hoping they solved the problem. It turns out they barely remember what you said to them. They haven’t read the book you gave then (and unlike many, they’re not functionally illiterate either); they haven’t talked to anyone, etc.

You can lead a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink.

Many people get into problems with their personal finances. That’s probably not the case for most of you reading this. On the other hand, I’m sure most of you know someone who could benefit from some personalfinance101 education.

I’ll direct you to the In The Trenches book which the author has generously made available for free. (Note you can also buy it and support the author, but I believe you’ll make her much happier if you spread the word about the book.)

A lot of the “struggling” could be avoided with just a little knowledge.

For me the problem is often a conflict between “I can fix this if you do what I say” and “You’re an adult, so you should know this”. More accurately, if we look at the problem from a perspective of transactional analysis, many people act like children rather than adults when it comes to their money. This then means that it’s easy to fall into the role of the parent admonishing the child to be responsible. I try to avoid this, but sometimes I wonder if that isn’t exactly what’s needed?

In such a case, reading a book would be like homework and the person playing the child is trying to get around doing it. I’d then have to sit the person down and make them read it. You can do this to a 12 year old. You can’t really do it to a 40 year old, or can you?

I know that some EREs or more specifically “those in their family who are the ones with substantial savings relative to the others who may always be struggling” keep their financial state/wealth secret, possibly to avoid getting into the mess of raising grown-ups. Maybe that’s a solution too?

Anyway… the problem is not that the solution or the knowledge to find this solution doesn’t exist. The problem is that people don’t prioritize fixing it as high as they prioritize complaining about it. For those who are struggling and want to learn, I do recommend the Trenches book.