Financial Advice: Who is Trustworthy and Who is a Swindle?

person in black pants and black shoes sitting on brown wooden chair

The most important advice you’ll ever take is probably financial advice. Money governs almost everything in life, so you want to know that the advice you’re getting is credible. Unfortunately, schools don’t teach students financial literacy, and instead, leave them to figure it out on their own. In this post, we will be uncovering who exactly you should and should NOT be taking financial advice from. From your parents to the bank, let’s reveal which people in this world are trustworthy, and which are swindles!

Who to Take Financial Advice From

In this section, we will be listing an array of sources you may receive financial advice from. These are people and institutions who will be telling you what you should be doing with your money. As is with most things in life, financial advice isn’t black or white. Most financial advice you hear isn’t going to be “absolutely 100% the best” or “this will bankrupt you immediately” kind of advice. Instead, it’ll fall somewhere in between. The trick is to discern just exactly where financial advice falls and to make your own judgements.

Your Parents

Probably the most influential source of financial advice, parents always hold a special place in our hearts. After all, most kids grow up believing that their parents know everything. Most kids adopt their beliefs about money straight from their parents. That is why the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. That being said, a few good questions to ask yourself before taking anyone’s financial advice are:

  • Where are they financially?
  • What is their motive?
  • How close am I with them?

If your parents are where you want to be financially, their advice should be viewed differently than if they symbolizes everything you hope to avoid in your future.

Most parents genuinely want to see their kids succeed so the motive aspect shouldn’t be too concerning. That being said, most parents also don’t want their kids to embarrass them. This might bias their financial advice towards a more “safe” and “secure” route. “Get into a good school, get a good degree, and land a good job,” rather than “drop out of college and start your own business!”

Finally, most people are pretty close with their parents, so the trustworthy rating should be pretty high.

Your Friends / Colleagues

Whether or not you should take your friends’/colleagues financial advice is completely up to whether you picked good friends. Generally speaking though, I would recommend you take your friends’ advice with a grain of salt.

Why? Because chances are your friends are probably about the same “level” that you are financially. “Birds of a feather flock together” and whatnot. If you ask yourself the first question above (where are they financially), chances are that they won’t be in a place that you want to eventually end up. So why would you take financial advice from someone who isn’t where you want to be?

If you have GOOD friends, their motive is going to be pure and they’ll genuinely want the best for you. Unfortunately, however, a lot of “friends” nowadays DON’T want the best for you. They want you to stay at the level you’re currently at so that they won’t feel pressured to improve themselves. I’m not saying that all people are like this, but just keep this factor in mind when listening to your friends’ financial advice.

When it comes to closeness factor, that is up to you to decide. How close are you really with your friends and colleagues, and do they have your best in mind?

Financial Advisors

You may think that “financial advisors” are absolutely 100% to be trusted, but just like everyone else, they should be evaluated with a keen eye.

Where is this financial advisor themselves? As in, do they actually follow their own advice and does it work for them? If the answer is no on either front, it might be wise to not take the advisor’s advice. Again, why would you take financial advice from someone who isn’t financially where you want to be?

Here’s where motive plays a pretty big factor. A financial advisor’s motive is usually to sell you some kind of product. This could be a mutual fund or insurance policy, but they’re probably not solely giving out advice. Don’t get me wrong, financial advisors indeed know a lot about money (they had to get all those certifications after all), but just be mindful about what their end goal is. Do they make money when you succeed financially? Or do they make money when you buy one of their company’s financial products?

As for closeness, I highly doubt that you’re close with your financial advisor. Which is yet another reason to cast doubt towards their financial advice.

Mentors / People Who are Actually Where You Want to Be

This is the group of people who are actually where you want to be financially. Maybe they started a business an became a self-made millionaire. Or they saved super aggressively and managed to retire at 35 years old. Or they bought a whole bunch of rental properties which cashflows them $6000 every month. Whatever it is, these are the people who you aspire to become.

If you can befriend one of these “mentors” or have the chance to chat with them, they’re advice could be golden. A forewarning, there may be a bit of a paradox with their motives. As in, if you can’t provide them with anything, why would they want to chat with you in the first place. However, most people who have “made it” in life are also quite generous and will be willing to share their ideas.

Even though you may not be “close” with such people, most will have probably written books or are active online, so see if you can get to know them a little more through those avenues. This will give you a better sense of whether you really trust this person, and (if you do end up talking with them) will give you some background knowledge before your chat.

Gurus

Needless to say, most “gurus” online are probably not going to help out your financial situation. These are the people behind all of those “buy this program to learn crypto trading today!” or “guaranteed 15% returns on your money!” or “buy this course to learn how to flip houses and make a fortune!” ads that you see online.

When you ask yourself the question of “are they financially where I want to be right now?” your answer might be “yes!! They have the fancy cars and have proof!” But a good follow-up question to ask yourself is “did they get rich following their own advice, or did they get rich SELLING that advice to other people?”

As for their motives, imagine this: you’ve discovered a loophole/secret that allows you to make tons of money quite easily. Maybe it has to do with the stock market, or maybe it has to do with real estate, whatever it is, it has the potential to make you TONS of money. Now you are presented with 2 options:

a) Keep it a secret and keep exploiting this thing that will make you bucket loads of money for as long as you can. or

b) Go online and tell as many people you can about this secret.

Finally, how close can you really be to an internet guru that’s marketing their product in an ad?

YouTube and other online information sources

The last source from which you might receive financial information is online through YouTube or wikis or blogs. This one is harder to evaluate since there is such a diverse collection of information online, but we can still try.

Where are they financially? Is the person you’re getting information from either where you want to be financially or on a path that you want to be on? Do they have proof to show it? If so, then continue evaluating. If not, it might be wise to turn to another resource.

Most people online will have some sort of motive, although their motives may actually align with yours. For example, the finance YouTuber hopes to get a lot of views and likes so that they can receive more money (in ad revenues, etc.) That’s not necessarily a bad thing for you, especially if they aren’t selling anything. Oftentimes the most viewed content is also the content which is the most helpful and informative.

Finally, you probably don’t know these people in real life, so it’s a good use of time to find out more about them and determine whether or not they really can be trusted.

Do NOT Take Financial Advice If…

That’s it for groups of people I could think of, but here are some general red flags that should alert you that something fishy is going on:

  • The person is selling something that is WAY too good to be true (“make a million dollars in a year!”)
  • There is a hard guarantee on something that should not be guarantee-able (“guaranteed 6-figures!”)
  • This person doesn’t show their face and you can’t find any trace of them online

Who to Take Financial Advice From

party glass architecture windows; who to take financial advice from

In this world, there are going to be lots of people who will give you financial advice. Some will be extremely useful, and some will lead you to bankruptcy. It’s up to you to determine which is which.

Hopefully this post has given you a little bit of insight as to how to determine whether someone’s financial advice should be taken or not. The three main questions to ask yourself are:

  1. Where are they financially?
  2. What is their motive?
  3. How close am I with them?

From your answers to these questions, you should be able to draw reasonable conclusions and determine the quality of financial advice. Listen to everything, but only implement a select few things. This will prevent you from losing lots of money while simultaneously help you build your long-term wealth.

How do you determine which financial advice to take? Do you weigh other factors? Let me know in the comments!

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Thanks for reading through Financial Advice: Who is Trustworthy and Who is a Swindle? and thank you for following along. If you’re working on accumulating money that you can invest with and want to learn about how to build income opportunities as a student, head over to this post here. If you want to learn more about me, head over to this link here. Finally, if you want to get exclusive updates and tips, drop your email in the “get updates” box (might have to scroll up a bit.) Let me know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!

4 Comments

    1. Haha, I try to give as little financial advice as possible, especially about which investments to pursue, etc. Mostly just sharing my thoughts on this platform!

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