You shouldn’t listen to me. That probably sounds like a strange thing for a blogger – or anyone really – to say. But, hear me out on this one.
The exact purpose of a blogger is different depending on who you ask. In its simplest form blogger is defined as ‘a person who writes material for a blog’.
We all put a lot of time and effort into running our sites and creating content, and I definitely appreciate you reading! But, I do not want anyone to take my word as gospel and think I’m always right or hold all the answers.
For me, I believe my purpose as a blogger is to offer information that you can use to help form opinions. But, I do not want anyone to follow exactly what I do – it won’t be the right decision for you.
In this post I’ll cover the following:
- What started this thought process
- Why you shouldn’t listen to me
- What you should do instead
- Who you should listen to
- Where else to get information
What started this thought process
I’ve been considering this issue for a while, but a recent video brought this to the forefront of my mind.
A video has been doing the social media rounds where a couple claim to have turned $400 into $14,000 in one month. They said they did this by buying stocks when they’re on the way up and selling them when they stop increasing. Most investors will tell you this is a very dangerous way to operate.
I won’t link to the specific video as that only serves to draw more attention to it and potentially exposes more vulnerable individuals to it. But, it’s not the only video of its kind. In fact, there’s thousands of accounts across all social media platforms, including YouTube and blogs, promoting similar practices.
This is very worrying, because individuals consume this information and try to replicate the dangerous practices, often to their own detriment.
Why you shouldn’t listen to me
I am not a financial adviser and don’t pretend to be. I can’t tell you which stocks to invest in or which ISA is right for you. If I claim to, I actually fall foul of the Financial Conduct Authority’s regulations.
Instead, as a financial journalist, I try to use this blog to start a conversation about financial issues and get people thinking about their money. I can suggest things you should consider and what factors help you make decisions. But, that is as far as I can and should go.
I may also share my own experiences to illustrate a point or for general interest. For example, I may explain in a post why I have a Help to Buy ISA and how it works for me. However, this doesn’t mean it’s the right decision for you.
Generally, I try not to give straight yes or no answers to questions – because in finance most issues are subjective. Credit cards are a controversial topic, but I’m not going to tell you whether you should or shouldn’t use them. Instead, I try to outline the pros and cons that you should consider when making your decisions.
I hope this approach is helpful and makes financial information more accessible, but this blog will not – and shouldn’t – provide all the information you need to manage your finances in the best way possible!
Often, I’ll link to other sites from official bodies which offer more information and advice – so do check these out.
These offer a gateway to more information that hopefully backs up what I’m saying. From here, you should be able to start forming your own opinion as to whether a certain option is best for you.
What you should do instead
I’m not saying don’t read blogs or watch videos at all – please do keep doing this! They’re a great source of information and you can learn so much from them.
Instead use the information to help formulate the broader picture. Read reviews of different apps and products to help decide which might best fit your criteria. Just make sure the ultimate decision is always yours and not what someone else has told you it should be.
Some posts will be ok to take as straight information – say if a blogger has a ‘top interest rates for savings accounts’ post. The accounts won’t necessarily be the best fit for you, but the rates will be accurate – as long as it’s updated regularly!
But, please consume the content with a critical eye. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
If someone is selling ‘get rich quick schemes’ or telling you ‘one easy step will make you millions’, I would encourage you to question it. And, if necessary – hit the unfollow button.
Who you should listen to instead
In short, you should listen to professionals.
If you want genuine investment advice, you should go to someone who is qualified and licensed to get that advice.
For investment advice and financial planning, an independent financial adviser will be the best person to help you. Speaking to friends and family is often a good way to find one, as they may have recommendations.
If not, you can always look online and check out their reviews and credentials to see if they might be a good fit.
For tax related issues – which is very important to get correct if you’re a freelancer or side-hustler – you should speak to an accountant or tax adviser. Many will offer you a free or discounted initial consultation, just like Robin from By the Book Accountancy and Tax.
If speaking to someone directly feels a bit daunting, you could start by using robo-advice. These often have reduced fees and may be suitable for your current requirements. But, again – that is a decision only you can make.
Where else to get information
Financial advice isn’t for everyone, particularly if you’re just getting started or don’t have much money to invest. But, there are other ways of getting impartial, critical and fact-checked financial information.
Citizens Advice has some really good information on finding quality, impartial advice.
There’s also a lot impartial news sites that can help you. Anything posted on these goes through editorial standards checks, so you know the information won’t be misleading. Beware, it still doesn’t constitute financial advice though.
Additionally, lots of investing apps and other financial services firms have their own blogs and podcasts. The information on these will be correct, but may have a bias towards their own products and services, so do keep that in mind.
If you found this post interesting, please like it and share across social media or send it to your friends. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and experiences. What do you think about this topic? Do you agree that you shouldn’t listen to me? Where do you get your financial information from? Comment it below!
Don’t forget to follow me on social media @Katie20Percent to keep up to date with all my latest posts and content!