Business, Personal + Finance

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Have you experienced financial guilt-tripping?


Have you ever experienced someone guilt-tripping you financially? It could be a relationship with someone or in the family or even among friends. For this article, I will be focusing on the Financial Education aspect of guilt-tripping.

The chances that a first time investor can easily be swooned by promises of getting rich and in-effect get bad financial advice are unfortunately high due to prevalent scams.

The problem with guilt-trips
Guilt trips are a form of verbal or nonverbal communication in which a guilt inducer tries to induce guilty feelings in another person, in an effort to control behavior. As such, guilt trips are a clear form of psychological manipulation and/or coercion. In a way it is also bullying.

Some if not most financial products or even seminars are currently presented or designed to appeal to your sense of obligation – and guilt. As if the difficulty of making sense of the financial services industry is not enough, the marketing messages behind it can be overwhelming and fear-inducing (although there are exceptions).

Marketing-through-Financial-Guilt-Tripping used by some Financial Services salespersons, "advocates" or even so-called "gurus" to get individuals to buy their products and/or services is somewhat debatable and requires a fine balancing act between meeting sales targets and providing proper financial planning and education.

Playing with emotions
Let's take a step back, I'm not saying that guilt-tripping is absolutely wrong. Children are born without any concept of guilt or shame. Unless taught, they will not develop them. In order to maintain a healthy social life, small doses of guilt and shame are necessary.

Shame helps us control unacceptable impulses and when we sometimes fail to keep those in check, our guilt feelings are there to bring us to the place of admitting our guilt and apologizing for our mistakes.

But then too much of anything can become a bad thing. And although subtle, I do believe that financial guilt-trips are happening all around us. I also even find myself doing this every now and again,but now I try my best to control myself whenever I am about to guilt-trip someone regarding their personal financial decisions.

Change is coming?
There are many factors involved in the low financial literacy of Filipinos. An S&P Global Financial Literacy (FinLit) Survey conducted last year found that only 25% of Filipino adults are financially literate. And according to an ADB study also last year found that the Philippines score lowest in the ASEAN Financial Literacy index.

Add to that the different cultures across the archipelago, limited government initiative on a financial literacy program, silo-ed operations of the private sector, stigma and bad experience from pre-need, insurance, stocks and the like investments makes changing or improving the state of Financial Education and Literacy in the Philippines an Uphill battle.

Surely there is a BETTER WAY of doing things or educating people on personal finance than the usual guilt trip?

I believe that the Financial Services isn’t just about selling and money making, it is also an industry built on relationships, trust and real financial planning.

What do you think about Financial Guilt Tripping?

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The writer is an RFP® - registered financial planner of RFP PH, Licensed Real Estate Broker and Director of CERTA, Inc., a family estate planning and investment advisory firm. To know more, please visit www.certa.ph
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Originally Published in Philstar - The Freeman Newspaper last September 06, 2016.
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