Today we are here to cast a few stones at the so-called financial experts and financial bloggers that spring up all over ye olde interwebs. if you're wondering we do have a hate mail folder.
What stones are we casting?
Well, we're going to talk about the dispensing of advice and information as it relates to the world of financial blogging and financial media. The reason we're talking about this is because honestly there is a lot of garbage out there.
And because it's our show and we can do what we want.
Of course we could be categorized has financial bloggers I suppose, but we would never say anything that could be quoted on CNN or CNBC. Most of the things we discuss are far too in-depth and controversial to make the mainstream.
We're not in the business of reading all the other financial experts and bloggers only to parrot the same platitudes all over the internet. Which certainly makes us different.
Seriously, sometimes it is a little nauseating how quickly the same bland, stay the course, plain vanilla financial advice makes its way around the financial blogging circuit.
I know original ideas are hard to come by and that challenging conventional wisdom doesn't really help you make any friends but come on people, every now and then something new or different wouldn't hurt.
Let's Make Bad Generic Financial Advice More Stupider
But the reality is that so much of what is out there as financial advice, is just re-hashed, oversimplified crap that is designed to draw people en masse so that they can sell more impressions and generate more advertising revenue.
The only expertise many of these so-called experts seem to have is that they can take really bad, generic and oversimplified financial advice and somehow make it even worse.
The biggest problem (we think) is that none of them are practicing professionals. So, it's just a guy or gal who says, “hey I kinda like talking about money”. They don't actually have any money but they like talking about it.
Inevitably they are cheapskates who love talking about how to save $10 on the cable bill. It seems that these people spend so much energy sweating the small stuff. They are focusing on the wrong things.
What Are the Wrong Things?
You will often see posts/articles/stories from these people with titles like: “Do you need cable? How to finally cut the cord!“, “Five Things You Should Never Buy“, or “22 Uses for Your Plastic Grocery Bags“. Sure, there is some value to being frugal, however, why do people spend so much time and energy trying to save $10/month?
Why not devote all the coupon clipping, toilet paper hoarding energy to figuring out how you could earn an extra $100/month from x, y, or z?
And I know how the experts would respond. Of course, making more money will not solve all of your financial woes. If you have really bad financial habits (too much consumer debt, spending because it makes you feel good etc.) those will carry over no matter how much money you have…agreed.
In our practice, we have certainly seen people who had much higher than average income but who were still living paycheck to paycheck because they lacked any sort of financial restraint. But that is a behavioral issue, it just happens to manifest itself in bad financial decisions.
Save Money In Broad Strokes
Please don't mistake what we're saying here. We are not advocated of people spending all their money willy-nilly without thinking through the implications.
However, you have to also realize that every time you sit in some absurdly long line at a gas station to save 5 cents/gallon is time and energy that you are not devoting to bettering your situation . Brandon and I have both had seasons of our life where being super cheap was not a choice, it was a necessity.
We've lived in places that weren't so great, eaten lots of generic cheerios, and chose to brown bag our lunch instead of going out to lunch everyday. That's not because we thought it was really fun to live that way, it was a choice because it allowed us to move closer toward where we wanted to be in our lives.
If you're gonna cut your expenses, tackle the things that make the most impact. For example, I can remember I once looked at cutting my cable package back to a lower tier but in the end I realized the biggest impact would be to get rid of it altogether. Instead of saving $20/month, I saved $100/month.
Spending a lot of time figuring out how to save a few pennies here and there is time consuming. And to be really cliche, you can't buy more time. Your time is finite, don't waste it doing things that won't have much of an impact.
What Really Works
One of the major advantages of doing what we do is that we get to see the inside of people's finances. We see what people actually do, we see what really works. Our experience gives us knowledge that you have to learn experientially.
Most financial bloggers/experts are theorizing and hypothesizing about what will work for you. We actually know based on facts.
If you'd like to know more about how our experience can help you, please reach out to us, we'd love to hear from you.
Brantley is a practicing life insurance agent and has been for over 18 years. After years of trying to sell like his sales managers wanted him to, he discovered that people want to buy life insurance if you actually explain the benefits.