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Day 207: Why are all money experts so mean and yell-y?


- weheartit.com

So, today at work, I was looking at some personal finance books. I don't remember the titles exactly, but they were along the lines of:

Stop Spending So Much Money, You Idiot!


You're In Debt Because You're An Idiot, Idiot!


SAVE FOR RETIREMENT, YOU TOTAL MORON OH MY GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?


And so I started wondering, why are so many money experts so mean? Why are the most popular money experts the ones who yell at us like we're misbehaving children? Do we spend money, knowing deep down inside that we shouldn't? Do we crave punishment?


Why am I suddenly writing like Carrie Bradshaw?
Where did this feathery sweater come from?

I was debating this over supper tonight with my erstwhile Frugal Companion. I think that it's something to do with how our society glamorizes gluttony - how many magazine articles or ads are there that are like, "Come on, buy our product! Indulge yourself! You deserve it!" But on some subconscious level, we feel guilty about spending money - that's why the ads always tell us to "indulge". And so, we actively seek out someone who will make us feel bad about spending money, and that keeps us in check.


Thank you.  Everything I know about psychiatry, I learned from "Peanuts" cartoons.

Anyway, my companion's opinion was much less psychological. He thinks that A) part of these angry money expert's appeal is that they have TV shows where they yell at stupid people, and we like watching stupid people being yelled at. B) A soft-spoken money expert who was being like, "Um... excuse me? You may want to try and spend your money more wisely. Or not. I don't know. Never mind." wouldn't get through to people as well as someone yelling, "OH MY GOD STOP SPENDING MONEY YOU IDIOT!!"

So the angry techniques are both dramatically compelling, as well as the best way to get through to people who are making mistakes.

Suze Orman is a good example of this phenomenon.
She's like an angrier Gail Vaz-Oxlade for Americans.

I don't know. I think that a really nice, sweet money expert would probably not be as effective, although they would certainly stand out in the current landscape. I guess it's like how on Supernanny, Nanny Jo is very strict to undisciplined kids, and they always wind up so much happier with the structure than with their ineffective parents.

And I guess angry money experts are acting kind of like disappointed parents, to impose structure on all of our lives to make us happier.

What do you guys think? Do we crave disapproval because we already feel guilty about spending money? Or are our money problems so deeply ingrained that the only way to get through is by yelling?

*** IMPORTANT NOTE: I'm not at all talking about Mama Gail in this post! Gail V-O is my homegirl and she only yells when she needs to! She was so sweet to me when I had tonsillitis and she is my imaginary BFF!! Call me, Gail! xoxo *****

8 comments:

Tasmanian Vegan and Minimalist said...

Aaah they are smug, smirking, self-satisfied nointers...they tell us off, because they think we will then be further shamed into buying their books. Personally I would rather read a great blog ( like yours ) anytime. If I wrote a book it might be " Well done for seeing you need a little financial and moral support- You are always wonderful in my eyes, now let's work together whilst I make you a chai latte and listen to your concerns ".

Sharon said...

Annabelle,
I laughed outloud in my office reading your post...so many true statements, but funny!!

Suze does yell a lot, and I imagine her yelling at me...that's why I would NEVER call in to her show. I know exactly what she would say..DENIED, and DENIED AGAIN!

~Carla~ said...

I can't stand suze... She makes me cringe! Gail on the other hand, I love to bits!! I think someone yelling at me would just piss me off & make me continue on my horrible ways... ;)

Niki said...

I used to not like Suze, but she really has grown on me.

I have loved Gail since day one. She is amazing!!

fabulouslyfrugirl said...

I love Gail and I don't feel she does the yelling thing too much. She does a lot more explaining and trying to teach the Princesses or couples about how to handle their finances instead of just embarrassing them.

What about Biggest Loser? And those bootcamp shows? I cringe... I don't think I could take it.

fabulouslyfrugirl said...

PS. I linked to your blog for my Shopping Ban update as I see you're trucking along yours as well :)

Annabelle said...

Tasmanian MInimalist - I'd totally buy your book!

Everybody else - I'm so glad that you all like Gail! She can be strict, but never yells. Suze terrifies me.

Hope to Prosper said...

I rarely watch financial "gurus", who are little more than entertainers. They are rude and condescending and most of them aren't even that great with fiannces. They made most of their money on books and TV, not in the markets.

If you compare them to the real financial geniuses of our time (Lynch, Buffett, Templeton, Soros and Graham), they are a joke. And, the real fiancial geniuses are usually, warm, thoughful and genuine people. The TV gurus are mostly cackling buffoons.

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