A very delicate conversation...
Jonny said that with Easter coming up I should have an Easter themed blog post. I know I’m a week early but easter eggs have been appearing at our house for the last week thanks to grandparents posting them down, so I'm feeling Easterish already...
So try to picture this:
It is a sunny afternoon in the weekend and you are driving through the residential part of your town headed for your own whare. A few people are out and about in their yards doing gardening stuff, washing the car or playing with their kids. Just a nice normal weekend in the burbs. Then you spot a group of about four well dressed adults. TOO well dressed for the suburbs on a sunny weekend afternoon. Everyone else is in sunhats and jandals, whereas this dapper bunch are in button down shirts, dress pants and dresses.
Uuummm who could they be do you think?
You get home and a short while later you hear the sound of footsteps coming up to your front door. You open it up and low and behold, here they all are, smiling and friendly, clutching a book….
“It is such a beautiful day out and we just wanted to take a moment of your time... to talk about Jesus...”
I love to have a conversation about just about anything. Once you get me started, I’m difficult to shut up, but apologies here, Jesus is just not one of my topics of interest. BUT OH MY GOODNESS my heart goes out to these nice people because they feel so so strongly that they have such an important message to tell that it gets them out on a sunny weekend (when they could be doing their own gardens at their own home) to try to get others to see their point of view. They have walked up my path because they want to help me (or my immortal soul at least) and share with me everything they learned about their topic of interest. If ONLY I could spare them a bit of time they are going to improve my life beyond my wildest dreams.
Hallelujah to that!
But I’m so sorry you lovely kind people, I am just not receptive to this type of message. And very politely we change the subject and chat about the fact that it is indeed a beautiful day and I wish them well on their quest as they head back down my driveway to visit the house next door. Now, of course this is all supposing that I didn’t see them coming in the first place and ran and hid in the bedroom and made my husband answer the door…
FOLKS THIS SCENARIO IS EXACTLY LIKE TALKING ABOUT PERSONAL FINANCE!
Finding those who are “receptive to your message” is a very delicate task.
It is also similar to scoping out people who are into drug taking, swinging, or any other type of fringe activity.
BUT if you size up the situation correctly it is worth taking the risk of putting yourself out there as it might just pay off. I’m always testing these waters with my topic of interest; money.
At my work Christmas do last December I asked my young colleague who I don’t get to chat with much throughout the day “is there anything you are saving up for”. Subtle huh? But he took the bait and told me he was saving up for a house but he knew he could never afford it. And so began a discussion around what a house costs, how much he had already saved, first home buyer grants, using his KiwiSaver…
Now, I didn’t want to scare him off so it was me who then changed the subject to something random like what does a 23 year old do in the weekend? That was enlightening I can tell you. The following Monday we were back at work and I had taken a bit of time over the weekend to sketch out a plan on a scrap of paper (I didn’t want it to appear that I had slaved over it as that would make me appear too eager and WEIRD) using the numbers he gave me at the party. I gave this to him with a twenty second explanation and then turned and left (he is 23 and a bloke; keep it short and simple). The following day he came and leaned against the door frame in my office and said “I think I can afford to buy a house”. Bingo!
He moved in two weeks ago.
And I am kinda stoked. I can’t take all the credit, but a timely conversation set him on a path he knew he wanted to take but thought he couldn’t. Actually I am REALLY stoked for him!
I’ve found my peeps in the FI community and we don’t beat around the bush with these delicate “testing the water” conversations anymore, we just cut straight to the chase and nobody takes offence but for those of you new to this, maybe Easter is your golden opportunity. Maybe as you are staying with friends or family and are gathered together and are slathering butter on a hot cross bun maybe put yourself out on a limb and drop a few words like “index fund, net worth, spending less than I earn” into the conversation and watch closely for the response. If there is a flicker of interest you might be in. If you appear to have dropped a clanger, just quickly change the subject to neutral territory...
“So, yeah, I was at home last week and this well dressed quartet rocked up my drive and knocked on the door…”