Monday Musings - 2

Let's talk about something today that really gets me hot. Something that makes me angry to no end. Something that makes me furious when I see the ads for it and when I see people paying hard earned money for it...Financial advice.

To get you in the mood for a bit of anarchy take a listen:

Now that you're ready to overthrow  the man (or woman) let me continue with some clarification. I have no beef against those pay-for websites that have programs that run screens and perform quantitative analysis on a stock's historical data so that it can be more easily interpreted. What I am talking about is that company, that site, that person, that is claiming they can teach you the way they made their fortune for only $49.99 a month! Well let's go ahead and take a look at something here.

At $49.99 a month (or $600 a year) you have a chance to be rich! You get webinars, videos, and live chat rooms. How does this really work though?

It is a slippery slope that is made for you to make just enough, or even break even, while following some simple rules that you could have learned yourself for pennies on the dollar. After you are a member for the said $49.99 then you can join MVP for $99.99, hit a class for $500, and even get a private mentoring session for a mere $1500. This sounds great but let me tell you a little could have done this yourself for much cheaper.

Are there people that are actually good at picking these swing or overnight or day trading picks? Of course there are! We had a couple of these accounts running on the site when we started, something that I foolishly thought would drive more people to our site to learn about how to trade, read charts, read volume data, etc. You know what we got instead? We got a bunch of people that wanted to see us buy and sell stocks live so that they could follow blindly. This was then followed by cheers or boos over the next hours, weeks, or days depending on how that particular stock moved. These things teach people how to follow not how to lead.

That is not what we are here for and not at all why we created the site. So what started out as something great became something toxic. This unfortunately is a culture that has been created by the internet "gurus" that have cast a sort of hypnosis on their followers, claiming that without their guidance there is no chance to make any type of money. That couldn't be further from the truth.

I remember hearing a saying in a movie, not sure which one, that went something like this:

A failure reading a self-help book is just reading  how to fail in a different way.

Now I don't have any qualms with this quote. Most people that begin to read self-help books have no clue about how exactly to place those tactics into their life so that they can turn it around. They need someone to help them. That being said I also do not believe that now in an age of readily available information for free that you have to pay someone to help you be more successful at any venture you are looking to accomplish.

What you can do:

  1. Buy & Read that Book
  2. Find a blog of a successful person, eager to teach
  3. Listen to free podcasts
  4. Join a local group (or online group) that shares these interests
  5. Watch some great YouTube videos

All I am saying here is that there is no end to what you can learn about your financial goals and how to plan for them free. There is no shame if you have already paid someone for help and been burned. Most of us have been there at some point. Sometimes it takes these types of mistakes to learn that while you were watching that chat room, or handing some adviser a percentage of your hard earned cash to handle money that they really could care less about, you really were learning very little to be an independent investor.

You can do this yourself! It just takes a little bit of hard work and diligence.

Let me give you a three goals this week to help start the journey toward financial freedom:

  1. Listen to a financial podcast on your way to and from work each day for the next week. (This should take up none of your extra time.)
  2. Read 30 pages a day
    (This should take 30-45 min of your time. Do it before you watch any TV.)
  3. Read one quarterly report this week.
    (This may take up an hour in your entire week.)

Follow this for a week and let me know how it goes!

Remember that you can learn to be a great investor if you take the time to do the work. Even Warren Buffet was an amateur at some point.