In an age of information overload and pervasive social media it seems everyone has an opinion they want to share. Being able to discriminate between what is useful and what is fanciful is increasingly important – especially when it comes to financial issues.
A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing
Ever had the temptation to jump on the web whenever you get an unusual pain to try to ‘self-diagnose’ what it might be? Or perhaps you have noticed a new wonder diet on your social media news feed that just happens to contradict the diet you read about last week. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing and when it comes to the internet a lot of discretion needs to be applied to the relentless clamour of opinion and advice from sometimes dubious sources.
Of course having the ability to access information and do research at the touch of a button can be extremely useful. The internet has empowered us through the democratisation of information, but while the benefits are undeniable, there is also a danger of ill-informed opinions and vested commercial interests being mistaken for well-considered and independent advice. This is particularly important to recognise when it comes to something as critical as your financial wellbeing.
Be careful who you listen to
The internet is not the only place where you may find questionable financial advice. Many of us have friends or family who feel compelled to give their heartfelt opinions on investment ideas. We open the newspaper and we are assaulted with exaggerated commentary about markets being a “blood bath” or in “free fall”. Then there is the hysterical reporting on the property market.
The bottom line is that advice on critical areas of our lives should always be taken from professionals. If you have an illness you see a doctor. If you have a legal problem you talk to a lawyer. For your financial future it is always best to use a professional planner who can give you advice that is independent, well researched, takes into account your priorities and goals and provides a sober long-term view of what is right for your situation.