The Best Financial Advice You’ll Ever Get – *Not Financial Advice*
I’m going to give you the best financial advice you will ever read and ever need. But first, a disclaimer:
*nothing in this post is financial advice, it is all my personal opinion and experiences and you should do whatever you think is best with your own finances*
I know that seems a little weird. You just read that I was going to give you stellar financial advice, right? And then I smacked you in the face with a disclaimer. Well, with everything happening in the financial world recently I need you to understand this one thing.
Nobody is 100% sure what they are talking about. We are all out here just doing the best we can. As soon as you realize that your life, and personal finance specifically, will get a lot more simple.
I’ve made over 200 blog posts, 150 YouTube videos, and sent out over 10,000 tweets. There’s a lot of my content out there in the world. In that content, I have 100% suggested, pitched, and sold products from other companies. Why? Most of the time, anything I promote is something I already use and I think it can make your life easier. The other reason? Simply enough, because they pay for me to do so.
I am a very small fish and I’ve been offered thousands of dollars to promote different products. So what happens when you aren’t a small fish? What happens when you have millions of followers/subscribers that consume your content all the time? Well, you get offered millions of dollars from countless companies. This is where the problem arises and why you should be skeptical of all financial advice you get from anyone. Specifically, a stranger online.
The fact is that money talks. While we can all sit here and act like we wouldn’t take the money, 99% of people would. For the right amount, I would as well. This has been a huge issue over the last couple of weeks when FTX, a crypto exchange, went bankrupt.
FTX was no small startup, it was actually the opposite. It was the second largest crypto exchange in the world and was promoted by people with huge followings, on and off the internet. People like Tom Brady, Kevin O’Leary, Graham Stephan, Andrei Jikh, and dozens of others. These types of celebrities have enormous reach, which resulted in marketing FTX to hundreds of millions of people, all over the world.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know the punchline. FTX went bankrupt.
So now what? Well, those millions of people that signed up for FTX, and transferred their hard-earned money onto the exchange, lost it all.
It’s a terrible story that is going to break people, ruin families, and probably result in more than a couple of deaths. But who is responsible for the promotion of a product that turned out to be a giant scam? In my opinion, the blame is on everyone.
Let’s take a step back and look at this as the big picture. While I’m using FTX as the example, there are hundreds of products that get promoted every day that are scams. Belly bands that make you sweat to “shed stubborn belly fat” or online courses that are really just multi-level marketing Ponzi schemes to get people to sign up. They are everywhere and you are exposed to their marketing every day, even if you don’t know it. The issue is they just aren’t as big as FTX by themselves, but grouped together and you have an issue that affects the masses.
The fact of the matter is people like Tom Brady don’t know a thing about FTX or how the business works. Their manager finds them a good deal and they tell Tom, or any other celebrity, when and where to be so they can do their 30-second commercial and get paid millions. But what about personal finance-related content creators? Surely, these people have done their research on these companies and can tell when something is good for their audience or just a scam. How else could they have millions of subscribers?
The short answer is most of the time they’re not doing that great of research. I personally put out a video a couple years ago explaining and promoting an online platform that I quickly realized was not all I thought it was. Within a day of posting, I got lucky and was educated by a viewer on why the product was garbage. I took the content down and got something even more valuable. I got taught a good lesson about what to promote and what I need to look into more.
Because of this scenario, I have tried to stick to the things I know, things that have been around for a while, and things that are moderately low risk. For example, Wealthfront is the platform I like and use for my general investing and high-yield savings account. I promote it all the time and get a small kickback when people sign up through a link I share. Wealthfront has a good track record, is FDIC insured, and is regulated by the SEC. If we go to the other side of the risk spectrum like investing in crypto, you will notice that my tone in those pieces of content changes drastically. Algo or Algorand is something I have covered extensively but I’m always sure to note that investing in it is essentially gambling and I don’t think it’s a good idea for the majority of people.
This is an investment I’m down over 75% on as of November 2022.
I told you it was gambling!
It’s a weird relationship between risk and disclosure. You want to make content about the things you are interested in but you need to remember there are people on the other side of the screen. We all use the internet for guidance and my readers are making life decisions that could potentially be catastrophic for their financial situation.
The harsh truth is that while you can blame your favorite content creator, or celebrity for promoting a company that went bankrupt, at the end of the day it’s on you to do your own due diligence. It’s your money, your life, and you have to take responsibility for that. You need to realize most people are just doing what they think is right but we’re all just winging it, doing what seems like the next best decision, and we don’t know what will happen in the future.
So yes, I feel awful for the people that lost everything with FTX. I also, know that content creators should do a better job vetting sponsors and what products they promote. Some of these people make millions of dollars, and surely they can spend a little bit of money to make sure what they are marketing is actually good for their viewers. Because without the viewer, they have no business.
The bottom line is that the best financial advice I can give someone is to understand no one knows what will happen in the future and you should take that into account whenever anyone, online or offline, promotes something to you.
Thanks for reading.