If you are confused about where to go for financial planning and investment advice, it is no wonder. There is so much information and misinformation about planning and investing that it has all become very confusing. You can’t pass a newsstand, a website, or a cable channel without someone offering you financial advice, most of which is irrelevant, if not downright harmful, to your financial condition. They all seem to tell you what stocks or mutual funds to buy as if everyone in America should be buying the same ones at the same time – and then a bunch of different ones the next month or year.
You might be able to find some answers on the Web. Every answer you need to find is probably out there somewhere, but how do you know which information is reliable? How do you even know you are asking all the right questions and including the relevant information on which to base an answer to your question?
Some of the financial newspapers and magazines are excellent, but others are not. The cable financial channels have up-to-the-minute news and data, ready and at your disposal. Just like the print media though, you need to learn to cull what is useful and disregard the rest. If you don’t make a living as a trader on Wall Street, most of the information is useless to you anyway.
Some portfolio manager touting his stock picks on CNBC will do little to further your financial goals. He is there to promote himself, his picks, and his investment vehicle. If he looks good on TV, he might be able to cut a better deal for himself with his employer or with someone else down the road. If he names the stocks in his funds on TV, some people might want to buy them. If enough people want to buy them, their share price could rise, making him look good. If he touts his funds on TV, more people may want to buy them. The more people that buy the fund, the more people that pay the fund’s management fee. The higher the fee collected by the fund company, the more money it will have on hand when it is time to pay out the hefty bonuses to its star portfolio managers who are always on TV. Whew! I think you get the idea. None of these things help secure your retirement.