Not that I don’t think they serve a purpose, but I increasingly tire of their blanket opinions on the recommendations of others. You’ll notice on this blog that I don’t ever specifically make any blanket recommendations. I give some opinions, but always ask that you consult an advisor or take some information with a grain of salt. This is by design. My firm is a Registered Investment Advisor, which means I have an obligation not to give advice only in my interests.
However, when you are a respected financial figure, I believe you have the responsibility… no, the OBLIGATION to be careful about what you say. I’ve heard it said that it’s entertainment, that it’s to drive ratings. Whether you watch CNBC or FoxBusiness, or listen to their radio shows, these pundits often have good information. MORE often, without actually understanding a persons’ situation, they make recommendations out of context.
Now, because they don’t receive direct compensation for that advice, they have no liability (not to mention the really, really long and really tiny print that comes on before and after their shows). Which means when Dave Ramsey claims that an advisor is a crook or a gambler without knowing the context of the conversation, there is no obligation on his part to be correct.
Dave is not alone. Suze Orman and Clark Howard make blanket statements about investments, and investments ideas, and investment professionals, all from a throne of misinformation and wrong conclusions. Now, what is interesting is that I believe they have done some good for people. But keep in mind that they have a self-interest in bashing others.
What is worse, is that like all media, their shows prey on the average consumer of their information, and advice is given in a vacuum (in Suze’s defense, she does gather some germane information).
There are investments I don’t understand. When I don’t, I have people that know more than I do educate me. I don’t automatically say they are bad. Their are investments I don’t like, for various reasons. Their are investment professionals I don’t like.
But that is no excuse to bash who and what I don’t understand. So I refrain from that.
So I would ask all of you (you few!) to take what financial “personalities” say with a grain of salt.