Hello everybody, welcome to episode 197 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life and get them answered for you here on the show. Today's episode is on losing investment money and having a conversation about it.
I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino reminding you before we begin that if you have a question you would like help with on the show, we welcome you to email it to us at advice AT oldpodcast.com
Our question today is hot off the press, dealing with something that’s been all over the news lately: the GameStop stock market debacle. Our asker today has someone near and dear to them that lost a significant amount of money investing in GameStop, and the asker is now wondering how to bring this up with them and help them, out of fear that it could lead to other poor decisions and what it really says about them. They want to talk to them about it gracefully, but aren’t sure how. Let’s see if we can come up with something to help them enter this difficult conversation. But first, the question:
QUESTION: “Someone close to me recently invested nearly 50% of their money in the GameStop frenzy and lost a substantial amount. I’m very concerned. How do I talk to them about it without scolding them or coming off like I’m saying ‘I told you so'? I also think about what this says about other big decisions they might make and how that could affect my relationship with them in the future. How do I bring this up compassionately?“
Concern and Compassion
Well you said it already – you bring it up with concern and compassion. You don’t have a crystal ball, you don’t know how this conversation is going to go. It’s only your anxiety about it not going well that’s making you overthink your ability to speak with compassion – perhaps because you envision yourself responding poorly if someone initiated such a conversation with you.
But not everyone feels under attack all the time. You know how to talk with someone without scolding them, and you only need to worry about your part in this.
All you can do is lead with concern and compassion, and let it show through your tone and wording. From there, you’ll make discoveries.
Maybe they want help and maybe they don’t. Maybe they think something is wrong and maybe they don’t. Maybe they hold beliefs that they haven’t expressed to you that make sense to them but are illogical to you.
We’ll flush out some of these possibilities in the episode today.
In the meantime, let’s consider some questions you can lead with.
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Losing Investment Money: Questions to Lead With
Lace your questions with a sense of curiosity and care for them.
Some might be, “How are you feeling?”, or “Where do you think you’ll go from here, or are you still thinking up a plan?”
You might even ask, “Why at the time did you think it was going to be a gain?” in a way that’s not degrading, but again, curious, so you can retrace the steps together.
An even bigger question could be, “Not many people would’ve taken a risk like that. How’d you feel comfortable taking that leap?”
I classify this question as bigger because it invites a conversation about what’s going on underneath, and if someone is taking risks like that, there’s likely a lot going on underneath. This is ultimately what you want the conversation to be built upon.
I’ll get to that shortly, but first, I’m compelled to share two possible exceptions that could mean that this person isn’t facing trouble, but rather sees things differently from you.
Seeing Things Differently From You
1. First, they may not be someone who cares much for money – at least not in the classical sense.
They may have a freer money mindset than usual, constantly upholding the attitude that they still have more than they need, more than those who are underprivileged, or that there is always money to be made one way or another.
2. Second, well, the GameStop frenzy was (is?) filled with all kinds of characters.
What they all have in common is that they are willing to risk their finances, albeit to different degrees and for different reasons. While the vast majority are just looking at a chance for free money, however, others are there because they really believe in something. The person in your life might fall into this category.
Now, it should go without saying that many of us latch onto causes with such vigor as a means of escape, so there could be a correlation here and the person close to you, like many people going all in on GameStop, think they’re a lot more into this cause than they actually are.
When in reality, though, they just need a thrill or to be part of something. Lines can get very blurry for these people, especially when they find honor in sacrificing everything for what they believe in.
Why Do People Take Such Big Risks?
Barring these rare exceptions, you can probably assume that this person in your life has some base level of dissatisfaction (as opposed to life satisfaction) that they may overlook or not understand. After all, those are willing to take such massive risks often do so because they feel stagnant in life and are ever in need of stimulation. Those are content, on the other hand, appreciate such a feeling and therefore are less prone to put drastic changes up for grabs.
If you know them so well, you can likely look into their past and get all the answers you need. Have they made a considerable amount of impulsive decisions regarding big parts of their life? If so, it’ll absolutely pour into future decisions – as per you’re suspicion – until it’s resolved.
But this doesn’t mean there’s no saving them. Having someone like yourself talk to them – someone who they care about trust, and perceive to be an intelligent person – could be the boos they need. And, of course, encouraging them to talk to a professional is the best help they can get.
Losing Investment Money: Conclusion
Ideally, the goal of this conversation is to help them uncover what’s underneath, good or bad, so they can understand what’s driving them.
Assuming there is something undesirable that’s causing this turbulent behavior, if they can understand what it is, they’re in a better position to improve upon their whole life. They’re in a position to make progress, which feels good.
The worse alternative would be to make this all about the GameStop incident, which would be valuable only up to a certain point. It wouldn’t be as useful is you were to focus on it too much as a singular, too-late-to-change, destructive event.
If it’s instead highlighting as a byproduct of something bigger, then it’s easier for them to see how they can improve as opposed to being frustrated by not being able to go back and change the past.
And a big thanks to our asker today – initiating a tough conversation about how to have tough conversations. It’s important for all of us to realize the value of going into these types of talks with an open mind and heart. As we saw today, there are many possibilities on the other side of initiating such a conversation, but initiating it is the most important part – along with doing so the right way. Illustrating our concerns in a caring and non-aggressive way only serves to help ourselves and those we wish to talk too.
However, this is put into jeopardy if we overthink their reaction or our ability to deliver our message kindly. Even if such talks do not go as smoothly as we wish, if the person on the other side of them indeed has a problem, we are proving evidence for them to eventually turn the tables around should they be able to do so. In this way, it’s a selfless part to play, bringing up concern even if it’s met with backlash.
Keep this in mind, and you’re likely to not think your way out of providing a good stepping stone for them.
With that, it’s time to wrap up. I thank you all for being here today and I hope you feel more confident about telling some people what you need to tell them. I’m going to get going, so have a wonderful rest of your day and I’ll see you back here for our next episode, two shy of two hundred. Talk to you then.