The Simple Dollar Podcast #14: Personal Finance Media

The fourteenth episode looks at the personal finance media. Who can you trust? Total length: 7:25.

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Episode Notes
Here are some additional notes that go alongside the comments in the podcast. Approximate times for the corresponding links and notes are listed.

0:00 – The theme song is a snippet of a Camper van Beethoven concert on October 25, 1986, shared via their very open taping policy. Listen to the concert in its entirety.
0:45 – The news story I refer to ran on local news in Des Moines and is apparently no longer in their online video archives, unfortunately.
1:45 – I trust Dave Ramsey, for example, when he sticks to finances, particularly debt elimination. He knows what he’s talking about, you can run the numbers yourself, and lots of people have found success using his methods.
2:40 – On the other hand, I don’t trust Robert Kiyosaki at all. Yes, his works are inspirational for entrepreneurial types, but I have a hard time trusting anyone who refers to a person who chooses to work a traditional job as a “hamster” as he does in Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
3:42 – Financial bloggers I trust include J.D. Roth and Jim Wang. Bloggers I don’t trust include Casey Serin, whose blog is now defunct (for good reason).
4:40 – The format matters, too. I tend to trust Jim Cramer in book form (because he gives very sensible long-form advice), but in short doses, I don’t trust him at all because he tends to go off the cuff with advice not based in fact.
5:55 – I’m not wholly condemning things like the Wall Street Journal and Money Magazine, just saying that my trust tends to focus more on the individual writers, not that it appears in those publications. I trust Sam Walker, not the WSJ. I trust Jason Zweig, not Money Magazine. That’s the right place to put it, I think.
7:20 – A preview of next week’s topic.

One thing I’d like to do in a future episode is have an audio reader’s mailbag. If you have a microphone on your computer and can record an MP3 of a simple, short question you might have on personal finance, careers, pop culture, or anything else you’d like me to answer, record it as an MP3 and send it to me. Keep the total recording under 15 seconds, please. Also, if you use Skype, feel free to ask your question that way – my username is trenttsd.

Comments and suggestions welcome.

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  1. lurker carl says:

    Little has changed regarding human nature over the centuries. Two very old saws come to mind regarding today’s non-stop media blitz.

    “Half a truth is often a great lie.” Benjamin Franklin

    “Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.” a Middle English saying attributed to many

  2. Dan says:

    I’m so glad someone else sees what I know to also be true.

    A few years ago, someone close to me was involved in an “incident” involving police and some politics…

    Of course, the news hangs out around police stations, so they caught wind of the “story”.

    They tried to reach the “someone close to me” for comment, which I said do not talk to them, and it was good advice….the news twisted and made up THEIR own version of the ‘event’ anyhow.

    Then once one station gets wind of it, they all want a piece of it. My advice again was to not communicate, don’t even say ‘no comment’…just ignore the phone calls (thank goodness to caller id).

    After about a week or so, some other “story” came along and they forgot all about the aforementioned ‘event’.

    (the event, incidentally, was a misunderstanding, nothing illegal, and was resolved before the police station really was even involved)

    so ever since that day…I refer to the station as “call letters” Fake news…and now knowing how they reeeeeaaach for stories sometimes, it’s almost fun to pick thru their news and note the fakeness of it all.

    When I want to know a news story, I pretty much turn to the internet now, a few google searches later, and one can piece together whatever the gist of the story is.

    If I had enough money, I’d start my own news source…make it completely unbiased (well, as much as humanly possible- even voice inflection can lead to bias) and simply report, just the news…just the facts…leave all color commentary to the viewer.

  3. AJ says:

    Thanks this is good to know.

  4. Eric C says:

    I love the site, but I just listened to the podcast and I have some disagreements.

    1. Bashing the news media is kind of old. I’ve worked both as a reporter and as the reported. Every one tries their best. Also, to address Dan, I don’t think people often like having a mirror held up to their lives.

    2. No, the news media is not going away. Single writers are not gaining power. Want proof? Politico. Politico.com wasn’t the number one politics site, and source of news, last election because one person wrote it. It was because they have hundreds of employees covering all of wahsington. I could write a lot more, but i just have to disagree.

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