top of page
  • Writer's pictureRebecca Hourihan

When to Listen to Cousin Vinny

We all have a cousin, friend or neighbor who has no clue what you do but always has “an idea” for you. This person usually pulls your ear at Thanksgiving or calls you out of the blue to ask about cryptocurrency or loves to call you a “stockbroker.” Either way, you know who I’m talking about and here’s why it’s important to listen.


The majority of Americans do not understand finance. Most don’t use a monthly budget and they live over their means. They lack emergency savings and are unprepared for retirement. Sadly, we all know the statistics.

Yet, when your cousin Vinny asks you a question, it is a real question. He has come to you in an effort to understand something about his financial situation, and he is not alone. Chances are your cousin is relaying this info because it is something he struggles with or has gotten this idea from a co-worker, friend, talking head or someone else in his life. So, when your cousin says, “You can’t go over budget if you don’t have a budget, you know?” take a minute and pause.

Be sure to jot down how he said the phrase; this will come in handy later. The terminology he uses - no matter how odd – is what other “cousin Vinnys” are asking. Translating this into your business, the next time you’re giving a participant education workshop, use that exact phrase. “You can’t go over budget if you don’t have a budget, you know?” and then go from there. Yes, this sounds odd, but you’d be amazed at how well people will understand.

Paint the Story

Ask your cousin what his hobbies are. What does he do in his free time? Use those examples in your presentations too. Then share ideas on how you are helping him fill any financial holes.

Let’s say your cousin has two kids and can’t seem to save any money (budgeting). You give Vinny the idea to use three mason jars (spending, saving and charity). Then Vinny sits down with the kids, and they go through their allowance habits. The kids place their weekly earnings into their separate mason jars (6 jars). The kids start to learn about money and budgeting. And at the same time, so does Vinny.

At your next participant workshop (in-person or digital), give away labeled mason jars to anyone who wants them. Also, distribute a budgeting worksheet. Ask the participants to fill them out with their partners and kids and to open a conversation about family budgeting.

Now you’re helping participants tackle their budgets, and hopefully, you are nudging them to save a meaningful amount through their workplace retirement plans.

A Glimpse Inside

The next time your cousin Vinny pulls you aside for a quick chat, listen to the words and use them at your participant education meetings. When you use those exact words, watch the lightbulbs go on as you explain important financial topics.

Thanks for reading and Happy Marketing!

About Us

401(k) Marketing is the modern marketing agency for the retirement plan industry. We are proud to support our clients through custom engagements, content marketing campaigns, sales material innovations, thought-leadership consulting, interactive workshops and speaking events. Our mission is to empower the retirement plan industry with high-quality marketing, ultimately inspiring Americans to become financially prepared for their future.

Retirement Plan Marketing is the solution for retirement plan advisors looking for an ongoing and scalable marketing process to generate awareness, streamline sales opportunities and earn more 401(k) business. This comprehensive, strategy driven marketing program includes digital content and sales material specifically designed to help retirement plan professionals attract the right decision makers.


bottom of page