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Where have you gotten the best financial advice?

by J. Money on Monday, April 12, 2010

From the media? Friend? From this blog? (hah!) I’ve never really thought about it personally, but I saw a poll asking this in April’s issue of Money Magazine and thought the results were pretty interesting:

Where have you gotten the best financial advice?

  • 34% The Media. This scares me for some reason :) It makes sense since we’re constantly bombarded with the latest news and headlines, but man the advice can be all over the place. Especially when you get to the fear mongers or the “latest & greatest stock picks” people. How many of them saw this financial crisis coming?
  • 28% A Professional Financial Adviser. This one makes me happy! And I’m actually quite surprised at such a high number too – over a quarter of the people use an adviser? This may have to do with the respondents of the survey, but regardless I’m impressed. Finding an adviser has been on my to-do list going on 3 years now ;)
  • 22% A Family Member. Very cool too! This is probably where I’d fall seeing as how most of the financial advice I’ve received over the years came straight from my dad. I think we tend to listen to people we’re closer to more than anyone else (although this can also be bad, too!).
  • 16% A Friend. See, at first I would have thought this number would have blown the others out of the water. But then I realized we’re talking about finances here. And the *best* financial advice at that. If this were a poll about peer pressure our friends would have topped the charts! But unfortunately most of the friends I have wouldn’t discuss their financial situations or game plans with me unless I specifically asked (which I’d never really do). Our friends might give us every last juicy detail about their sexual lives, but when it comes to money it seems most of them just shut down. Perhaps they don’t feel it’s appropriate?

How about you all? Do any of you fall into one of these buckets? I’m not sure where blogs fall exactly, but if I had to guess I’d say “media.” And if I were a betting man I’d say that a good percentage of you use the internet to learn more than anywhere else. Am I wrong?

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PS: The best advice I’ve ever gotten was to never put anything on a credit card that you can’t pay off. Not the most original, but it’s kept me out of trouble my entire life!


{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 C Hoss April 12, 2010 at 8:53 am

I’d have to agree with the majority if the ‘media’ includes books. I’ve read enough personal finance and investing books that the stack is probably taller than I am, and that has been the best source for financial advice. The second best source has been to learn from the examples of others (both good and bad).

I would agree with your best advice ever – I don’t believe I’ve ever paid interest to a credit card company, and have set myself up to never get into that trap.

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2 Meghan April 12, 2010 at 9:46 am

Parents and this blog, for sure! And this blog led to many other blogs which led to books. And now I am so much smarter than I was 6 months ago.

I love the internet! =)

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3 Mysti April 12, 2010 at 10:07 am

I would have to say “media.” Mostly from books.

We did hire a financial advisor, and it was a disaster. He was an idiot, really didn’t have much to say over what we have already been trying. He had one plan to help us, and it all hinged on one thing that didn’t happen. When that didn’t happen…all he said was “I dunno.” Fired his a$$.

Not to say they are all like that….but the money we spent to not get help was a big ole waste. Plus, I tried writing it off on my taxes, and we didn’t spend ENOUGH to get the write off….so it truly was a waste.

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4 Christian April 12, 2010 at 11:16 am

I have one friend who I look up to and go to for financial advice. He yelled at me until I opened a Roth IRA and actually started contributing to my agency’s 403(b) plan. We go to the gym about 3 times a week together. I give him relationship advice and he gives me financial advice. I’ve also learned tons from blogs, and I read a bunch almost daily. Never really thought to consult a professional to be honest. And when I was in college my dad tried to talk about saving with me. Of course I heard what he told me and ignored his advice. I’m not exactly sure why.

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5 Natalie April 12, 2010 at 11:31 am

My husband and I use a financial advisor for advice. He usually works with people who make more money than we do, but because he has worked with my parents for so long that he works with us and the rest of my Dad’s immediate family. He is a lawyer and a CPA. His firm does our taxes and helps us invest for the future. I love this guy.

For every day tips and reminders in personal finance, I turn to you and a few other bloggers. I also use personal finance blogs to spread the knowledge amongst our followers @fabeetle. Knowing is half the battle!

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6 lenciB April 12, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Yikes. I get advice from blogs, my dad (accountant and owns businesses). And I also do my own studying. I never get advice from the media…I hardly ever watch television anyway. I may be getting my financial advice from the media it You are getting your from the media, and I am getting mine from you!!! When we make major financial moves we go to a financial advisor.

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7 Beckey & Jeff April 12, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Definitely media (books, pf blogs :D). I don’t want to end up like my parents, both have struggled financially for as long as I can remember. I’m trying to break the cycle.

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8 Stella April 12, 2010 at 2:43 pm

I’d have to say whatever financial savvy I have probably comes from my Dad–from paying bills on time and protect my credit score to shopping around to find the best price or waiting until something goes on sale.

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9 Investing Newbie April 12, 2010 at 2:56 pm

The best financial advice I’ve ever gotten was from the parentals. The words of anyone that started with nothing and is now financially secure are truly golden.

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10 Young Mogul April 12, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I would say I get about 85% my financial advice from personal finance books and magazines. Another 10% from the media and finance shows such as Suze Orman, etc. The last 5% I would estimate is from friends. I have not consulted a financial advisor because I am not at that status yet.

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11 Brandi Abel April 12, 2010 at 4:02 pm

I would have to say my dad engrained in me a very very basic hatred for spending money :)

Second to only that would be Dave Ramsey and his amazing Financial Peace University!!

Thank you DAVE!!

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12 WR April 12, 2010 at 8:54 pm

I am somewhat surprised by the results as well. I also believe that any advice that is actually taken and followed through on will usually be predicated by some personal financial disaster. It was in my case and at least anecdotally, many persons from somewhat humble beginnings who have done well financially were driven to it through financial hard knocks. There is no greater motivator to learn this stuff than suffering a financial blow and determining to learn from it and prevail.

Being a lover of books to begin with, I naturally chose them as my medium to learn everything I could about money and finance.

“The Richest Man in Babylon” and “The Only Investment Guide you’ll Ever Need” Have had the most impact on my overall philosophy of money.

Burton Malkiel’s “A Random Walk Down Wall St”, “Random Walk Guide to Investing” and more recently “The Elements of Investing” have been the best practical guides I have found.

I also like Sanford Botkin’s Tax Strategies books.

Some of the ‘other’ media that has had a big impact on my finances are kind of a hodge podge of different things. I have been a subscriber to Consumer reports for a long time and since buying reliable used cars can have a huge impact on a persons wealth building potential (especially early on) Their Used Car Buying Guide is essential.

Finally, Craigslist, Ebay and your local classifieds/estate sales can help you avoid the “NEW” tax and funnel more money into your wealth machine.

Being Frugal, Investing for the long haul and minimizing my taxes form a good part of my financial philosophy and all of the great ideas I act on come from books.

-WR

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13 StackingCash April 12, 2010 at 11:46 pm

My best financial advice came from personal experience. After losing money in mutual funds and dot com stocks, I figured it be best to get out of the market. That saved me from the most recent crash. I still think the stock market is a Ponzi scheme :)

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14 J. Money April 13, 2010 at 10:48 am

@C Hoss – I try to learn by my friends’ and family’s examples, but usually I just have to go through it myself in order to truly learn. And that’s usually more along the lines of the stupid stuff ;) I learn a lot of lessons the hard way.
@Meghan – Woohoo! And you’re a part of this lovely family on the internets!
@Mysti – There are a lot of idiots out there unfortunately, but it’s smart to realize it and then move on exactly like you did :) Well done.
@Christian – You didn’t have a Rorth IRA? Or 403(b)? What are you INSANE?!!! ;) I like your friend. Too bad I don’t live closer as I really need workout partners too…haven’t gone in 3 years because I can’t get motivated by myself.
@Natalie – You’ve got a great connection :) I’d be picking his brain and learning as much as I can from that guy.
@lenciB – That’s cool your dad runs his own business! Sometimes I wish someone in my family did because it adds such a different element to the idea of “working” and what you want out of your career. Perhaps I’ll be the first?
@Beckey & Jeff – Breaaaaaak It!!!!! “You can do it!” (in the voice from that Adam Sandler movie)
@Stella – Dads are great for that sort of stuff :)
@Investing Newbie – You got that right.
@Young Mogul – I tried to watch the Suze Orman show one night…pretty good stuff, but after a while I started getting frustrated at all the mistakes people were calling in about. Started getting me sad! haha..
@Brandi Abel – What if Dave Ramsey was your dad? ;)
@WR – EXCELLENT books indeed. You should actually turn this comment of yours into a blog post :) It’s a great snapshot!
@StackingCash – Woahhh…now that’s crazy talk! ;) Good for you in changing up your game plan though to fit what makes you more comfortable. Can’t say I’d have the balls to do that myself, freakin’ love the stock market.

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15 doctor S April 13, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Working for a financial services company, I have a ton of access to pages of information. However, most of my advice is received indirectly from the media. Many of these mainstream providers (Yahoo!, Cnn Money, WSJ) are all captain of the freaking obvious sometimes. For example, titles of articles are along lines of “Save more money by eating out less”. That sort of stuff is almost condescending when you read it.

The best method for financial advice is filtering everything you read, regardless of the source, and only applying the bits and pieces that pertain to you. Because, in reality, the best financial adviser you could have ever have/want/need is yourself.

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16 J. Money April 15, 2010 at 11:51 am

haha…yeah, but it’s only condescending to those people who pay attention! you’d be amazed at those who’ve just never stopped to think about some of this stuff… it takes all kinds to power this world, baby ;)

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17 Micah June 28, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I love Dave Ramsey!!!

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18 J. Money June 28, 2010 at 5:22 pm

He is a PIMP.

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