Recently, a popular financial blog posted an entry entitled, "Make Money by Using Your Personal Finance Skills."
The piece was not about how to manage your own
money better through acquiring and using personal financial knowledge. Instead,
the piece enumerated ways that readers could literally sell personal financial
advice and services.
Here are a few of the recommendations:
"Basic planning. Let's face it, almost anyone can call
themselves a ‘financial planner' these days. If you have some general knowledge
and the proper motive (help people at a fair price), you'll be ahead of many
others out there offering their services."
"Do tax preparation in the tax season. You can either do
this yourself or get a job with a place like H&R Block."
"Start a money-related website or blog."
There were some other suggestions but you get the idea.
Now, I know that for the site's writer, it is a sideline
business for him (he's a full-time marketing guy at a food manufacturing
company). I've corresponded with him via email and talked a few times by phone
(I know his name but since it's not disclosed on the website, I won't provide
it here). He's a straight-forward, no-nonsense guy and he generally steers
clear of writing about personal financial planning and investing issues on his
site. I think this is a wise move on his part because he lacks that training
and expertise. He chose to make his site free and derive income from advertisers and affiliates whose products pay him a cut from referrals.
I took exception to this column encouraging people to sell
financial or tax advice services. Here's why.
What would we think of a column that said:
"Make Money Using Your Medical Skills" and which stated that anyone can call
themselves a medical care provider these days and all you need is some general
knowledge and desire to help people at a fair price...
In the 1980s, when I looked into the financial planning field as a
profession, it had a lot of problems regarding conflicts of interest and lack
of competency and training. Over the years, I have been outspoken on these
issues and received a fair amount of hate mail from planners and brokers who didn't
take kindly to my perspectives. While there are still problems (as there are in
any profession), the financial planning field has made important strides the
past two decades. So, when I read the article "Make Money by Using Your
Personal Finance Skills," I felt a bit
disrespected like Rodney Dangerfield...
The Internet seems to have furthered the notion that anyone can be an expert
(and goodness knows, best-selling money authors like Suze Orman and Robert Kiyosaki,
who have little relevant training, reinforce that notion). Having seen the many
mistakes people make in hiring bad planners, I can tell you that even more
people make mistakes refusing to recognize the gaps in their knowledge and the
complexity of issues and decisions they are confronting.
You can learn an enormous amount about how to better manage your money by
reading good books (and being sure to sidestep the bad ones) and hiring
functional area experts (e.g. tax advisor, financial planner, lawyer, money
manager) when it makes sense to do so. And when you do, be sure you hire
someone with extensive training, education and expertise in the relevant field.
Take your time and interview them. All of my books have check lists and a series
of questions to put to folks you may hire.
Copyright Eric Tyson, 2008 - 2014 all rights reserved.
Eric Tyson is the only best-selling personal finance author who has an extensive background as an hourly-based financial advisor and who does not accept speaking fees, endorsement deals or fees of any type from companies in the financial services industry or product or service providers recommended in his articles, books and his publications.