A few months ago a friend of mine asked me to have a look at the statements from her private pension fund because it was not clear what the returns and the charges for the service were. I reviewed the documents as well and I couldn’t understand them either.
I advised her to call the fund and ask for clarification. She found out that the commissions were so high that it didn’t make sense to continue investing. The result: She exited this investment to cut her losses. She wished she had done it many years earlier.
We all have been in a situation when we don’t understand something but we are afraid to ask.Why? Because we don’t want to look inexperienced, uninformed or even stupid.
To build your confidence, it would help to do some research beforehand to understand the basics- you can find plenty of information online.
In this way, you will able to ask the person you consider an ‘expert’ more advanced questions. You will also get a feel whether he/she really masters the topic.
So, next time you don’t understand your bank statement, your electricity bill or your mortgage payments, make sure you ask somebody to explain it to you.
If you still can’t get it, either
- they cannot communicate it clearly, or
- there is something wrong.
Be persistent until you are satisfied with the response. Whether you like what you hear or not, it is better to know where you stand because you may be able to do something about it.
The bottom line: Devote your energy to understand the things that really matter. Get into the habit of asking questions for topics that you may not feel comfortable (e.g. your finances, health care issues, etc). This attitude will pay off in the long run.
Have you been in a similar situation? What did you do?
Please share your experience so others can learn.
Korina Karampela is the founder of b4iapply, author, consultant and speaker. She works as an executive in the pharmaceutical industry and has an MBA from MIT Sloan. Her blog b4iapply has been recommended by The Guardian for professional development.