Everyone is different.
Even identical twins raised in the same household are pretty different, once you get to know them.
When you meet someone for the first time, you have NO IDEA about who they are.
Yes, they’re human. So the range of concerns is likely to be more similar to yours than, say, a grasshopper, or a rock. But within the parameters of the human experience, you just don’t know.
You might be able to guess some characteristics based on the context where you meet them, the company they’re in, the way they’re dressed and groomed, and their immediate trappings.
But even then, you can’t extrapolate much.
Try it the next time you meet someone. Ask yourself:
- What is their age?
- How many siblings do they have?
- What is their relationship status? (For example: are they married, coupled, single, or “it’s complicated”?)
- Do they have any pets right now? What types of pets?
- Did they go to university? If so, what did they study? Where did they study? Do they have a postgraduate degree? Are they studying something at the moment?
- What movies or TV shows have they watched recently, and what did they think about them?
- Do they read many books? If so, do they read one book at a time or do they read many books at a time?
- Is their IQ one or more standard deviations higher or lower than the mean?
- Is their employment situation or financial situation secure or tenuous?
- How much do they earn, to the nearest $25,000?
- What is their net worth, to the nearest $250,000?
- Are their parents still alive?
- Are their parents still together?
- Has divorce been a central part of the story of their life at any point in time?
- Do they have some form of faith (Christian or otherwise)? Are they “lapsed”?
- What is their emotional climate?
- Have they ever had to deal with serious injury or illness?
- Have they lost a loved one recently?
- How are they going to vote in the upcoming referendums relating to cannabis legislation and control and the End of Life Choice Act?
- Who are they planning on voting for in the coming election?
- Have they got any interesting kinks?
- Do they like pineapple on pizza?
- Do they like Seth Rogen movies?
Good luck with getting these things right. And these questions are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of understanding someone.
There are two points I want you to take away from this.
1. We live in an interesting world! Everyone is different. Everyone has something interesting to share, if you can draw it out.
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the keys to being interesting is to be interested. When you realise how different we are, it’s hard not to be interested in other people, and the human condition.
2. Whether something is “right” for any given person varies profoundly based on who they are and their broader circumstances.
The next time someone gives you well-meaning advice, or you read some general advice (including on this blog), remember that it’s coming from someone who sees the world through their own unique lens, coloured by their personal experiences and in-built propensities.
No one can possibly grasp every aspect of the human condition, and it’s very hard to provide any form of advice that is 100% scalable to all humans. There are exceptions to almost every rule, and depending on your idiosyncratic circumstances, needs, and objectives, the “rule” informing the advice you receive or read, might not apply to you.
Another way of putting it: what is right for your friend, colleague, neighbour, or family member might not be right for you.
This relates to finance, but it relates to life in general.
More succinctly: when making your own decisions, YOU DO YOU!