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The Truth Hurts…

May 28, 2012

The truth hurts

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Monday, 28 May 2012 20:10 Edmund Lao / Personal Finance
 

ONE of the most painful and hurtful things you can do to someone doesn’t necessarily involve deceiving him; it usually involves telling him the truth.

Typically, the best way to hurt someone is by being completely honest—tell him something that they do not want to hear.

To put it mildly, the truth can be used as a “weapon of destruction” in human relationships.

What does the word “truth” really mean?

The word “truth” has different connotations. Truth may be associated with verified facts, integrity, accuracy, fidelity, or righteousness.  .

Here is an example. Remember the heavyweight boxer named Carl “The Truth” Williams? Below is a truth about him.

Williams was the epitome of a skilled boxer in his day. Watch a few of his fights, and you will see that Carl Williams is one of the best heavyweight fighters never to win the world title and that’s the truth!

Since the truth hurts, by nature, human beings would love to be deceived. They are lured into a false sense of security and acceptance. Ever heard the statement “What you do not know won’t hurt you?” Although telling the truth often leads to more problems than good, concealing the truth by deception will do more damage later, especially when the cat is already out of the bag. Isn’t it that many people are deceived of their money because they were sweet-talked by the scammers? They were given many promises that they loved to hear. Just imagine if they were told the truth, would they have invested? Of course, the truth will emerge later, after the scheme has been exposed and the scammer is nowhere to be found. That is the time they will feel the pain in learning the truth.

Let me share an experience of a colleague who never seemed to know and admit the truth.

Every day when we have a conversation, I intentionally but subtly direct the topic to finance. Why do I always do it? It is because everyday I hear my friend say she can’t make both ends meet. But everyday I see her making unnecessary expenses. Usually, when our conversation is about money matters, as quick as a driver changes gear, she quickly shifts the conversation to another topic, to which I will again lead our conversation back to the original topic. The cycle will continue for a number of times. Another instance, she will agree to what I said because she just do not want to talk about finances.

Here are some brutal facts I gave her:

1. Last December, we got our Christmas benefits and guess what? A day after, I was being offered a brand new camera she bought. I asked her the reason for buying and selling the camera immediately at the same price. I jokingly told her that since she bought it from the mall, that would make it a second-hand item. She kept on pushing me to buy but to no avail. I replied to her that I only buy NEEDS, not WANTS. I also emphasized to her that I am not like her, who is an IMPULSIVE buyer and always KEEPS UP WITH THE JONESES. 

2. One time, I showed her my mutual funds statement to encourage her to do the same. I showed it to her to prove that I walk my talk. She was awed. For me, the amount was not that significant. Based from her reaction, I could say that she really has no savings. True enough, she has none. I told her that I had accumulated that amount over the years with DISCIPLINE by PAYING MYSELF FIRST every payday. I compared it t to a pail of water being filled up by droplets. She said she has no money to invest. I tried to inspire her by sharing to her some techniques I have learned. But she was hard-headed. Finally, she won the argument.  I told her, “Yes I agree and believe that you have no money to invest because YOU HAVE THE MONEY THAT YOU UNWISELY SPEND.”

3.  I learned that she was a credit-card revolver. She leveraged other people’s credit card to purchase her wants; this time it was expensive shoes. She paid half and left the balance. The amount was already overdue and was already incurring interest and penalty. I remember her saying she has no money to invest, but now she had the money to pay for penalties. Fortunately I had my credit card bill which I showed her. I am already being charged penalties for the annual fee for my unused card. She asked what I did. I said, of course I canceled the card. I took the opportunity to inform her that he credit card is a good tool and never an extension of her wallet. Misused, what will happen is that she will be SPENDING TOMORROW’S MONEY TODAY and  PAYING TODAY YESTERDAY’S EXPENSES.

4. A few weeks ago,  I encouraged her to attend Steps to Financial Peace by RFP Randell Tiongson. She replied the fee was expensive. My reply was “IF EDUCATION IS EXPENSIVE, TRY IGNORANCE.” She said it is risky to invest to which I replied: “WHY IS IT RISKY TO INVEST IN YOURSELF AND EDUCATION?” I even joked to her that ONLY THE DEAD DON’T HAVE TO RISK. She said she would rather INVEST her money in the bank that earns her one percent per annum.  Evidently she does not know what she is talking about. She is financially illiterate and yet she avoids the truth. She always said that she listens to what I teach her. I told her that listening and hearing are two different things. Listening, unlike hearing,  involves action. Hers is a simple case of what RFP Chinkee Tan preaches: Wrong mindset+wrong action=wrong result.

Little did I realize that each instance, I was gradually earning her ire. I was, unintentionally and unknowingly, already attacking her behavior in handling her finances. The truth is already hurting her pride.

One day I got my chance. I noticed she was quite uncomfortable when I was around. I talked to her and started the conversation. Then when the timing was right, I told her about my observations regarding her reaction whenever we talk about finances. At first she denied, but later admitted it. She avoids talking about money because she feels the pang when she realizes what I told her were true. The truth is getting to her. My answer to her was this: The truth shall set you free.

****

Edmund Lao is a Registered Financial Planner of RFP Philippines. To learn about personal financial planning and RFP certification program, join the 28th RFP program on July 21 to Sept ember 15. Inquire at info@rfp.ph or visit http://www.rfp.ph.

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