What Financial Information Sources Do You Truly Trust?

I was recently complaining loudly in the comments section of a political blog about the contradictory information one will find in different segments of the mainstream media when I began to consider what information sources that I actually trust. For example, the only news source that I generally trust is National Public Radio and even they have a slight liberal tint to their news reporting.

That evening, I was at home reading a personal finance book when I began to wonder the same thing about financial news and advice. What sources do I actually trust when it comes down to it? I decided to make a list.

I trust pieces of information that come from three or more distinct sources. If a claim is made in a personal finance book or magazine that piques my interest or might be the basis of a personal finance choice of mine, I generally don’t immediately trust it; instead, I seek out supporting sources. If I continue to find the same idea expressed from a lot of different sources, I usually trust it.

I trust Consumer Reports. They’re a nonprofit entity whose sole goal is to compare and contrast features of consumer goods. They’ve got a stellar record of doing this and their results are proven again and again to be as reasonably reliable as can be expected given their adherence to quantitative analysis. For product comparisons and ideas, I trust what I read in Consumer Reports, though I don’t consider them the bottom line in qualitative reviews.

I trust The Wall Street Journal. Some complain that their information is too slow for the modern age, but the difference between the WSJ and many internet sites is that the WSJ takes the time to properly investigate matters and write them up in a clear and concise fashion. Though I might find quicker information on the web, it doesn’t have the “trust factor” I get from the WSJ.

That’s basically it. I have sources that I’ll rely upon for strictly numerical data, but in terms of actual meaty content, those are my only truly trusted sources.

The proper question at this point is what sources do you trust for your financial information?

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  1. Sun says:

    I really don’t have a source I can say I trust absolutely. Except hard cold numbers, I don’t take anything for sure. Of course, non-profit organizations such as Consumer Reports are less likely to be biased toward other industries or entities.

  2. dimes says:

    Don’t trust any source who has anything to gain from your attention.

  3. Dan says:

    Everyone has something to gain from your attention: magazines, newspapers, bloggers, media pundits. It’s really a matter of who has honesty and integrity. I’m a magazine editor for a residential construction magazine. Our readers trust our tool reviews for a few reasons: 1. We don’t care if we piss off the advertisers (only 1/2 our revenue comes from advertising compared to 3/4 or more in other magazines), 2. Our articles are written by builders and edited by former builders, and 3. We have a 25 year track record of honesty with our readers.

    Consumer Reports is great for many things (I susbcribe), but sometimes even a non profit can get stuff wrong. Not because of bias but because they don’t understand what they’re talking about. I read a review of circular saws in their magazine a while back which gave a ton of weight to the blade(!). Blades cost $10 and are disposable. When I was a builder, I bought a new blade before every house. They also fall a little flat on thing like insulation and energy efficiency measures in the home, which depend on a bigger picture than most people, magazine editors included, realize.

    Who do I trust for financial advice? I ask my accountant, my attorney, and my wife, then we sift the information and make a decision. I take my financial advice from rich people, because they’ve got a proven track record. I read the WSJ for money and business stuff, but really, if you take a long term view of investing, the stuff in the paper is irrelevant (unless you’re smart, and gutsy, enough to buy low).

  4. imelda72 says:

    NPR has a SLIGHT liberal tint?? LOLOLOLOLOL!! I’m a hard core liberal, but even I find that comment amusing. ;-)

  5. beth says:

    true Dan about “I take my financial advice from rich people, because they’ve got a proven track record.”
    It’s definitely long-term investing to reach my goals but explore the deeper meaning of “(unless you’re smart, and gutsy, enough to buy low)”. That sounds like a confidently informed risk-taker, and I think that is what “rich” or financially independent people do.
    There are so many books that reveal common threads that make up the thought processes of the wealthy mind. My thinking has to be willing to take risks and believe it will work and to take losses along the way. I guess it may really be perseverance and wisdom together….

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