Your Most Effective Source of Financial Advice Might Surprise You

Google has become so integrated in society today that some neuroscientists consider it basically an extension of the human brain. Still, futurists can rest easy about one thing: We're still more likely to learn and change our habits because of people than the internet.

A new study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research looks at peer advice on financial decisions — basically, who we ask for money advice. More than 450 participants with varying levels of financial literacy made some complex decisions about compound interest–accruing investments. Some watched an educational video, but many only had each other to talk to about the process.

The results were striking: Participants who learned from each other, no matter how much they knew about personal finance, made more beneficial decisions. Those participants tended to come to an understanding about terms and processes together, which gave them a blueprint for making future decisions. Participants who simply mimicked the advice of a more informed partner only learned enough to solve the specific problem at hand.

In short, don't be afraid to ask your friends and family members to help you figure out money stuff. Learning together creates a mutually beneficial virtuous circle. If you can't afford a financial adviser or you're not getting what you need from human resources, you can do reasonably well for yourself when you team up. That's not to say that all money managers are wasted cash, but if you can form habits and understand systems, you and a friend are already better off than you were before.