Did you catch CNN Money this afternoon? Or what about the latest financial expert featured on Oprah? Did their advice speak to your situation, personally?
Good, I didn’t think so either.
One of the issues I take with some of the “personal finance experts” out there today is that none of the advice is truly personal. Their approach is often too generalized because they are catering to a large audience which means they lack true accessibility to people that need personalized advice.
We Need More Coaches (real people), Not Experts
Experts tend to preach and throw the advice at the people receiving it without any consideration for the individual situation they speak about. Every one’s situation is different, right? So why do we flock to experts? Rarely are they able speak to our lives the way someone who had the time to sit down and review our situation would.
Over the summer, I had an opportunity to sit and meet with a financial coach who reviewed my situation personally gave me advice based on my situation. That’s something I really needed because my situation, is just that-my situation. After spending what seemed like years sifting through certified financial planners who only wanted to set me up with the next best fee based investment account, I gave up. They just didn’t get it. I needed someone who got me and it was truly the best decision that I made for myself and for my finances.
Personal Finance Bloggers vs Personal Finance Experts
Recently, a “personal finance expert” confessed to me that she doesn’t mingle with personal finance bloggers since they dilute her message and dance in her space. She felt this was a threat to her brand being that we essentially discuss the same issues. Looking at her social media profiles, I could easily see why. She spent more time promoting herself and “her brand”, rather than finding a way to intimately communicate with her audience about their financial issues.
This is something I have always taken issue with and just one of the reasons why I started this blog. While Suze Orman is someone I’ve admired since the age of 11, I wanted to lend a more personal voice to the personal finance blogosphere. Where these experts often miss the mark is they spend too much time talking at and preaching to their audience while never sharing much of their own experiences.
One of the reasons why personal finance bloggers are so popular (IMHO) is that readers are able to connect with them because we are just like you. We talk about our daily struggles because we aren’t perfect. Some of us even tell our readers how much debt we owe, savings in the bank and what we spent this past weekend.
That’s what people want to see. Experiences which look like theirs, not another book with regurgitated and refashioned financial advice like “save more” and “spend less”. My advice to the experts? Get real with your audience and help them see that you’ve been in their shoes while addressing their situations personally.
Become Your Own Money Expert
One of the things I value since starting this blog is the awareness about myself and the things I’ve learned along the way based on my own experience. I don’t need Suze yelling at me telling me how silly I am for wanting to take that trip to Costa Rica because I am in debt. I also don’t need a financial website for women to tell me about my money in intellectually insulting lipstick chatter while selling me blushes and blowing me kisses. I want it straight with no chaser. And, I think the best place to get it is through my own experience while sharing it with others.
You already have the answers, don’t wait for a “personal finance expert” to be the “be and end all” for your finances. It doesn’t take an Ivy League MBA to help us understand why we should spend less and save more. Sure, you may pick up one of their books to learn the basics but everything else is basically about your experience and the lessons learned from it.
What are your thoughts? Who are you listening to and why? Do personal finance experts have your attention?