Updated on 11.14.07

Where Do You Get Your Financial Advice?

Trent Hamm

Some of my most faithful commenters have personal finance blogs of their own, and one of them, Mrs. Micah, asked a question that really got me thinking: where do you get your financial advice?

The more I thought about the question, the more I realized that the answer isn’t as obvious as it seems at first, so I’ll progress through my ideas about that question.

My first and most obvious answer is the personal finance resources that I read regularly, like personal finance books, blogs, magazines, and so on. Most of the raw personal finance information that I absorb comes from these sources.

But that’s the easy answer. Where do I really get my personal finance advice? To me, advice means more than just absorbing information from others – it also includes the situations where people provide direct comment on my own life and how I live it.

In that light, my biggest source for financial advice is my wife. She might not be the most informed individual about how to eke out an extra percentage from my investments, but she does know me – who I am, what our situation is, and where we’re going. Often, I’ll collect the data I need for various points of view and then present them to her, and together we talk through the situation and determine a plan. When I’m trying to make a decision about my financial situation, she is the first person that I turn to.

If that’s not enough, I turn to my parents. They generally offer lots of good arguments for staying the course in whatever I’m doing, simply because things have turned out all right so far since I began turning my financial ship around. Before then, I didn’t really talk to them at all about my finances, but I’ve come to find them to be excellent advisors when I’m troubled. I’m also coming around to talking to my mother- and father-in-law about things, but since my relationship with them is still relatively young, I sometimes don’t ask such strong questions of them.

After that, I listen to my readers. Quite often, if something is still troubling me, I’ll voice that concern in the form of a post here at The Simple Dollar and then take all of your comments to heart. Often, writing the post makes the answer clear; other times, I’ll rely on your comments for guidance. Often, you say what I’m already thinking; other times you rip my ideas to shreds. Either way, you aren’t afraid to pull punches and call me out when I’m getting overly confident or am looking down an inconsistent path.

If that’s still not enough, I turn to meditation and/or prayer. I take in all of the advice that I’ve heard and spend some time in deep meditation. The answer – the truly right answer – then comes from within. I won’t debate whether that’s a subconscious thing or a supernatural thing, but I find that such steps are often the key to me finding the right answer.

Those are my key sources for financial advice. I start with information (books, magazines, blogs), talk to those who love me, reformat that question as an article that addresses my readers, read the responses, then take all of that and meditate on it. In the last year, these sources have served me incredibly well.

Loading Disqus Comments ...
Loading Facebook Comments ...
  1. vh says:

    1. Publications such as the New York Times business section, the Wall Street Journal, Money magazine, Consumer Reports, Consumer Reports Money Adviser, and even AARP Magazine.

    2. Professional financial advisors (Stellar Management in Phoenix, AZ)

    3. Fund experts at Vanguard

    4. Occasionally, friends who seem to know what they’re talking about

    5. A smart Realtor with an MBA and a track record of success in more than one business

    6. And I get a few ideas from PF blogs, all taken with a grain of salt!

  2. Mrs. Micah says:

    Thanks for responding, Trent. :) My favorite source for ideas is the blogosphere and then, like you, I discuss things with my spouse and sometimes my parents.

  3. vh says:

    waitaminit: add to that…

    7. A smart & honest tax lawyer

  4. jtimberman says:

    When it comes to making choices related to finance, I ask God and I ask my wife.

    When it comes to doing research and finding information about “best practice” methods for handling money, I look to rich folk for advice. Primarily Dave Ramsey, since not only is he a multi-millionaire, but he went to rich folk for the advice he put together when he wrote his original book.

  5. ClickerTrainer says:

    You know, from the number of Viagra ads I see in the course of one day (latest being at the end of THIS article), I would think that is the number one problem in the world. Forget financial advice, forget crime, war, etc. Just cure E.D. and world will be all sweetness and light.

    /end rant

  6. Sean says:

    When it comes to investment advice I like to do the opposite of whatever is being touted by the talking heads on CNBC or what my broker is telling me. For specifics on accounting my CPA is the man I turn to, for the basics of budgeting though I still haven’t found better advice than The Richest Man in Babylon and the Millionaire next door.

  7. Becky says:

    When it comes to advise about saving and spending, I look to my husband, Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money, books, and, most recently, cool blogs like this!
    When it comes to actual investments (ie. mutual funds), I look to my boss and my company! I work at a financial services firm and my boss is a financial advisor :)

  8. Peter says:

    I’ve gotten tons of advise from friends and acquantances. I have found that other people are more than willing to tell you in no uncertain terms exactly what you need to do with your money, and they are especially good at tolerating high risk with your funds. Of course, since you typically get what you pay for, and their advise is typically free, you should always weigh that into the worth of their advice :-).

    That said, I’ve taken most of my advise from a variety of books, magazines, and some from paid professionals. Two things that stand out and got me started. 1) My priest asking me if I wanted to be rich when we met with him to discuss our wedding and his subsequent explaination that we need to save and invest some portion of our salary (e.g. pay yourself first) 2) Taking a adult education class at our community college describing the basics of investing. This openned my eyes to the fact that just squirrelling money away in a savings account really isn’t enough.

  9. Heidi says:

    I work in the Financial Services industry and my list is much like vh’s:
    1. the trades and industry periodicals
    2. funds & cash managers at my office
    3. FS blogs via RSS feed
    4. realtors, commercial lenders, and attorneys
    5. my sister, the accountant
    6. books
    7. my customers (more often than not, they are cautionary tales about what not to do).

  10. Mrs.Frugal says:

    My husband and I work most things out ourselves by looking in books and getting ideas on-line. We don’t include family too much, unless the idea or question we have requires no background. Family involvement sometimes creates too much drama.

    We are still just getting started so that changes things a little. Just starting our emergency fund (used it all this year between medical expenses, car died and need to be replaced, and job hunting after college).

    We will probobly look more places after we get more settled.

  11. glblguy says:

    I pull from similar places that you do, but I’ve found that most of my ideas just come from paying attention to experiences I’ve had or decisions I’ve made throughout the week.

    Since I’ve been blogging, I find myself in a constant mode of relating various events in my daily life with personal finance.

    Just living life day to day and interacting with people provides me with tons of material.

    Great insight into your thought process. Very beneficial for those of us smaller (ok, much smaller) than you :-)

  12. I agree with everyone that has posted with regards to good places to find information. What I like to do, which I highly recommend to anyone, is to use some sort of RSS reader. There are many different ones, some free, some you have to pay for, but it is totally worth it if you are not already using one. By setting up a list of feeds I can watch 30+ blogs everyday, without having to visit each site individually, and pick and choose the articles that I find to be important and/or relevant to me.

    the Street
    Yahoo Finance
    Simple Dollar
    Get Rich Slowly
    (There are more a lot more, but those are the ones that I find the most useful, Digg not so much, but it’s interesting)

  13. Debbie M says:

    I am surprised to realize that I get most of my financial advice from myself.

    I start out with a lot of raw data. For example, to learn about taxes, I read the tax form and the instruction booklet it comes with. When you look at the actual form, you learn things like what can be deducted. If you have questions about your own situation, the instructions can fill you in. If you need more information, you can call the IRS, but I never have. Taxes seem very complicated, but you really only have to know what applies to you, and when you start with a 1040EZ form and then work your way up, it’s not hard.

    Another example is reading all the stuff HR gives me on insurance and retirement. I may have read every word on the pension website. Then if I have specific questions (like how do I apply to this), I talk to HR, and if I have general questions (like what’s the best way to invest) I check google and maybe even libraries for more information. I also ask my friends questions when they are trying things I want to know about. And I also get some data by doing things and seeing how well that works!

    Once I know what some possibilities are and what some advantages and disadvantages of different possibilities are, I usually don’t have any problems making decisions. Other people just don’t know me as well as I do. Although if I’m about to make a purchase of something that one of my friends is really into, I will try to get their viewpoint before making my final decision, and sometimes I even just ask what their recommendations are without doing much research myself.

  14. Mrs. Micah says:

    Heidi–I think one of the best parts of getting advice from other people is getting the chance to learn from their mistakes. In a sad way, it’s great that you get to hear about so many peoples’ mistakes. Excellent chance to learn what not to do. :)

  15. Definitely my biggest source of info has been books since they existed way before the internet. ;) I also gather info from newsletters, financial radio shows and these days, I hit online resources as well. Forums can be dicey because you never know if you’ll get an anonymous tip that may not be on the “up and up”. I have been a victim of my own foolishness, following financial tips from forums. Really, the focus should be on financial education and not random stock tips. I also get valuable information from friends who are experienced investors, particularly in the real estate and entrepreneurial fields.

  16. My financial knowledge is a combination of my financial and legal education background and what I learned on my own. I find the vast majority of people I know are not particularly interested in discussing financial matters, so I pretty much have to rely on my own efforts.

  17. nebula61 says:

    I wish I knew all these people who like to talk about finances–I find, like Money Blue Book, that everyone I know is extremely reluctant to talk about money. I rely on books, finance websites and blogs like yours.

  18. Ryan says:

    I spend at least an hour a day reading books, financial sites, newspapers, and always have some financial program playing in the background. I also regularly connect with high-wealth people and pick their brain as much as possible.

  19. Steven says:

    Warren Buffett’s letters to his shareholders.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *