Knowing Experts Should Save or Make You Money

by Kevin on October 14, 2009

Hypothesis: the larger and more diverse your network of friends and professional√ā¬†acquaintances, the better off your finances should be.

Justification: the larger your network, the more people you know in various industries that can inform you of how to get the best deals and not be taken advantage of by a salesperson. They keep you aware of what is going on in areas that you would normally be completely ignorant of.

Can a Large Number of Friends Make You Rich?

This may seem like an odd theory, but I’m starting to think it is true.

Let me use a story from my own life. I have a friend that lives in another state (we’ll call him John) that is mechanically inclined. He has a project car sitting in his garage, and he just finished up saving money to go back to a technical school to get formal training. (Smart guy — is paying for education up front with saved money rather than loans!)

In short he is the guy that I call when things start squeaking, grinding, and clunking on our vehicles.

A few weeks ago we had John and his family over for the weekend. I asked him about a squeak that our Honda Civic is making when the air conditioning compressor cycles on. We went for a drive, listened for the squeak, and as you might expect no squeak occurred when we were expecting it to occur. After a couple of insightful questions he told me it was most likely nothing to be worried about.

We started discussing maintenance on vehicles and he asked if I had the timing belt replaced on either of our vehicles yet. To be honest that is something I hadn’t had one thought about. It wasn’t on my radar.

He quickly explained to me that Honda’s need to have their timing belts replaced every so often, and since our vehicles were getting older we should look into it. We checked the owner’s manual and it was in there — the timing belt on the Civic needs to be replaced every 110,000 miles or every 7 years.

Our Civic is a 2002 model, so we are right at 7 years.

Knowing Experts Should Save or Make You Money

My friend potentially saved me $2,500. Replacing the timing belt should run us $500. If the timing belt goes unreplaced it will snap and do significant damage to the engine of the vehicle. Replacing an engine would cost at least $3,000.

It’s simple math. Knowing that expert saved me money. (Assuming I get the timing belt replaced soon — it is on the to do list!)

Be an Expert for Your Network

On the flip side of the equation I try to be an expert in financial matters for my friends. I’m not certified and I don’t provide financial advice as a full-time job. But I’m the guy that reads Money Magazine, follows a ton of personal finance blogs, and writes a blog of his own.

I also have the “find a good deal” character streak. When someone says they are thinking about buying a laptop I do everything I can to find them the best deal.

You must provide value to get value. This is a classic tenet of networking. You have to give to your network, often for a long time, before you can request value back.

Are you an expert?

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Douglas October 14, 2009 at 1:03 pm

I really like this article. I am right there with you. I try to be a jack of all trades as far as saving myself money by doing things on my own. But it is impossible for me to learn everything.
Knowing the right people can save a ton of money and time. Another thing that is awesome is knowing people who work at restaurants and can save you money on food.
I used to work at a movie theater and i would get my friends in with tickets that i would get for free. So they loved it, when the time came for them to repay the favor, it was a great reward.

Brian Lee October 28, 2009 at 3:17 pm

You’re exactly right! I used to have a very “go it alone” attitude, and that only got me so far… Once I started reaching out and networking, the opportunities really started opening up for me. It’s amazing how much I learn form other people!

Trent Yeo November 2, 2009 at 11:20 am

If you want to open up opportunities for saving money, making money, getting some sweet tickets to the game….you have to leverage OPT (other people’s time), OPM (other people’s money) and OPK (other people’s knowledge). Otherwise you become a creature of narrow habit, retard your growth and crank up the ole boring meter. Great post.

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