Would you take financial advice from a struggling advisor? More importantly, should you take advice from someone struggling or in a bad financial situation themselves? I have been pondering about this for ages as it seems that sometimes, people are in such dire straits that they cling to any advisor that seems to say what they want to hear. They stop thinking with their heads and rather take advice based on the “personae” of the said advisor. Here are some reasons why l think deeper thought process should go into your debt repayment or financial advice guru search.
While l understand that debt repayment and saving money for your financial future can be a long and often frustrating endeavor, it is critical that you don’t get yourself deeper in debt by following the false prophets. My way of thinking is that one should always follow the advice of someone who has proven themselves worthy. In other words, I feel better listening to past failures and then successes of giants such as Richard Branson, Warren Buffett and others. Reason being that these people went on to achieve great success and therefore know what they are talking about. Once can make the argument that some of the newer financial gurus might be the same, but on a smaller scale, perhaps on their way to greatness. This may be true, but l would need some proof of said journey.
Considering how easy it is for anyone to start a blog, it is a reasonable assumption that there will be a few fraudsters among the lot. The ones who are slick talkers in real life and can “convey” the same online. These people you need to watch out for, sharpen your “bullshit detector” and stay away from them. In the Financial Independence world, they are a ton of bloggers who offer financial and travel advise. A lot of them can be quickly dismissed because you realize they are just trying to sell the “dream” of making money. This is done by making you part with your hard earned money to take mastermind classes with them. The classes are supposed to show you how to achieve financial independence. You ultimately learn that the only way to make money is by finding suckers like you to pay for these classes. In other words, a massive ponzi scheme.
At the other end of the spectrum are “financial bloggers” who are truthful in their hustle to make money. I however, am reluctant to take financial advise from someone who is obviously broke and so desperate, you can smell it through the keyboards. I know of financial bloggers who give advice despite the fact that they are barely making any money. How can you tell me to follow you when your source of income for the month is selling $75 worth of your used clothing on eBay? in addition to handling out samples at the grocery store to make a few extra dollars or cat/dog sitting to make your rent? If the blogger is struggling, what makes you think that is the person to emulate?
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You should always keep in mind that we are all capable of hiding behind the computer and building up our personalities, showing the world only what you want them to see. Instagram influencers are famous for this. People without 2 pennies to rub together project a life of riches that make you salivate. Even experienced bloggers can be fodder for the mill. I recently read of one financial blogger who preached living within your means and staying out of debt who got taken in by a higher up financial guru who promised big money in return for her several thousand dollar course. This poor blogger took out more credit card debt because she had so much faith in the guru and ended up with just more debt, because guess what? Yep! the secret is to find some other unsuspecting people and charge them up the wazoo for the “secret”. I’ve said it once, and l will say it again. There is no secret other than hard work. Remember a fool and his money 🙂 ..
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To answer my own question. Should you take financial advice from a struggling advisor? No! They are flailing in the wind, and you will be too. Take advise from someone who is financially independent, and even then with a grain of salt. Do your homework, trust your instinct and if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Read and educate yourself, then roll up your sleeves and get ready for the hard, but ultimately rewarding goal of debt free life. Remember, it took a while to accumulate debt, it will take a while to get rid of it. Start with getting your financial picture, and then formulating a battle plan.
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Time for you to answer the same question. Would you take financial advice from a struggling advisor? Why or why not?