I am always intrigued by the comments we get on blooom’s Facebook page. Some are wonderful and uplifting, some are hilarious, and others. . . well let’s just call them “interesting.” But the ones that really catch my attention are those that are critical. And it’s why they are critical that concerns me. These comments criticize our clients for using blooom’s service. They are critical because these people believe that personal finance should remain personal—handled solely by that individual.
More specifically, the comments call out the blooom clients for being lazy or dumb. I came across one this past week and for some reason the following comment hit me hard and prompted me to write this blog:
Why pay someone to look over your money when you should be the one doing it[?] And you wonder why so many Americans are in debt, cause they are lazy with their finances. Sorry not paying someone to make money off of me cause I’m [too] lazy to watch over my own 401k.
When I read this, I didn’t get upset because I am an employee of blooom. I got upset because I am a client of blooom. According to this person, that makes me lazy and to some others who have commented, it also makes me dumb. So not on behalf of blooom, but rather on behalf of blooom clients, I feel compelled to provide a more expansive response to these types of Facebook comments.
I have never been called lazy and I’m fairly certain I never will be, by anyone who knows me. What I am is busy. I’m a mother of four kids, between the ages of seven and 13 years. I work full-time outside of the home. In addition to work, my day includes laundry, lots of meal prep, lots of driving for after-school activities, homework and more. And I’m not atypical. Many of my other friends (and I suspect blooom clients) have similar schedules. So lazy? No
I’m also pretty sure I’m not dumb. I graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from a private university. I graduated from law school with honors. I practiced law for over ten years and successfully ran my own business for three years before joining blooom.
In addition, I try to educate myself on personal finance. In the past year I’ve read the following books: “How to Think About Money” by Jonathan Clements, “Stop Acting Rich” by Stanley Thomas, “Retire Inspired” by Chris Hogan, “Happy Money” by Elizabeth Dunn, and “The Difference” by Jean Chatzky. So dumb? No.
But here’s the deal, I do not have a head for numbers or investing. I wish I fully understood diversification, 12B-1Fees, basis points and what exactly the S&P 500 is, just like I wish I could sing like those people on the Voice, paint as effortlessly as Bob Ross (he made it look so easy), or cook like Bobby Flay. But I don’t. Given this, I know, as I suspect many blooom clients know, that I will never figure out how to manage, or ever feel comfortable managing my 401(k). And I think it is absurd to be accused of being lazy or dumb because I don’t have the expertise, the time, or the desire to do it. In fact, just the opposite, I think I am smart in acknowledging this and am being proactive by hiring blooom.
So, what this comes down to is an inexplicable double standard in the financial industry versus any other professional service. As an attorney, I never thought any of my clients were lazy or dumb for hiring me to defend their lawsuit, rather than go it alone.
And no one has ever called me lazy or dumb for going to a mechanic when I am having issues with my car or even for a simple oil change.
And as a mother, would anyone think I was lazy or dumb for taking my child to the doctor? No, in fact they would think that of me if I didn’t take my child in to be seen.
So why, when we are talking about one of the most important resources we have, do some people castigate those who hire a professional to help them with their financial future?
I know I need my car to run properly, that is why I take it to a mechanic. I know my family’s health is important, that is why we see a doctor. And I know that I will need hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars to live an enjoyable life well into my 90s, that is why I hired blooom for managing my 401k.
I am not lazy. I am not dumb. I am a blooom client and damn proud of it!