Just Ask

8:51:00 AM

image © Brooke Lark |  

In his recent podcast on the New York Times, Carl Richards makes an amazing point about humility: not being humble can—and most likely will— lose you money. While Richards is specifically talking about financial situations, like letting your financial advisor rattle off figures, acronyms and lists while you nod mutely, scared to look silly by asking a basic question. Or, more likely, ignoring something as important as the stock market because you don’t understand it—something 64% of American millennials do according to a recent Bankrate study. 

Having spent three years working in corporate America, returning to the classroom as a grad student has been a constant lesson in being humble. I’ve had to remind myself that I don’t have the answers. And I don’t have to seem like I know everything or anything. On one hand, it’s disconcerting to be at the mercy of the combined wisdom of my professors, TAs, dense textbooks, and a myriad of internet resources (hello, DataCamp). More than disconcerting, it pushes me out of my comfort zone of knowing exactly how to do what I need to do, and leaves me in a strange place where my identity can’t be rooted solely in what I do for a living, anymore. 

image © Patrick Schneider

At the same time, I’ve realized that being humble, means being comfortable enough in who you are, that you’re not scared of looking stupid or ignorant—especially when you’re asking about something as important as your money or resources. Asking questions doesn’t negate my intelligence, it adds to it. Being comfortable in your own intellectualism and looking to expand that is more important than appearing smart. Even though it may not look obvious, it’s your right to ask about what you don’t understand—especially in any event that involves an investment on your part, whether that’s your time, money or a combination of both (like grad school!) It's a waste of your resources to do otherwise. 

Incidentally, if you’re one of the millennials who has ignored investing because it seems too daunting, here’s a place to start

Happy asking


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