Let Me Clarify
Today, there is an endless supply of information at our fingertips, including financial planning information specifically. It takes less time to gather information, there are less barriers between problems and solutions, and much of it is available for free! I think we can all agree this is, in general, a great thing, but we also need to be cautious and exercise our own ability to learn and validate what we are reading, watching, or being told.
Let me clarify.
Jokingly, Josh Brown recently mentioned something along the lines of “Tik-Tok is now the #1 platform for 16-year-olds learning about investing from 19-year-olds.” While there is an interesting amount of truth in that statement, if nothing else, it at least opens the conversation surrounding the plusses and minuses of how easy it is to obtain information.
I can admit that I have seen some great videos, blogs, and other articles out there; each designed in a way to resonate with a specific audience and (hopefully) make difficult, meaningful topics easy to understand. Unfortunately, I have also seen an equal amount of content that is poorly delivered, inaccurate, or at times lobbying for people to “follow” them for quick tips to overnight success. It honestly makes me cringe when I see someone “share” a tax tip, or something similar, that is 1.) false/possibly illegal and 2.) from someone who is not a financial professional.
That being said, I want to reiterate that there is an abundance of great information out there from a never-ending number of credible sources and has proven to be helpful to those who read it. However, especially when you are being fed information on any variety of social media platforms, at least do yourself two favors:
1. Validate the person/source who is providing the information.
2. Confirm the information with other credible sources.
I understand that we all want information quickly, but at what cost? It might seem crazy to see how much misinformation is floating out there but consider the amount of time people spend researching a car or TV they want to buy, while settling for a 30 second video from a stranger to solve life’s complex financial problems.
I do not want anyone to read this and get discouraged about financial planning. As a financial planner, I encourage everyone to take an educated approach to whatever means you gain information and then make informed financial decisions based on it. There are some studies that estimate our personal experiences with money make up about 80% of how each of us think the world works. I just want to encourage everyone to ask the questions “why” and “how”, and to avoid making one informed decision that might go bust; leaving you thinking that “you can’t do it” and shifting the psychological odds of financial success against you. Instead of saying 'informed' it should say 'uninformed'.
As we embark on this clarifying journey together, I encourage you to submit any ideas, topics, or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendation for any individual. “Let Me Clarify” is a weekly blog containing Chad Baxter’s insights and thoughts about a variety of topics. To learn more about Chad, click here