Bad Money Advice
Bad Money Advice is a new blog I discovered through one of the eighty five million personal finance blogs I read. Written by “Frank Curmudgeon,” Bad Money Advice has an interesting take on some of the personal finance advice available on the net and elsewhere, finding errors where others miss them and deconstructing the overly simplified take on broad stroke financial issues that are covered by the mainstream media. I suspect Frank Curmudgeon is a dyed in the wool conservative, but I love him anyway.
Today, Frank talked about the unique problem of determining who is qualified to give personal finance advice:
But all this begs the question as to what a properly qualified giver of advice on personal finance would look like. Would they have impressive credentials, such as advanced degrees or professional certifications?
Based on a quick review of Wikipedia and various other websites, as best I can tell, Suze Orman, David Bach, Dave Ramsey, Phil Town, and Jim Cramer have between them only one graduate degree. (Cramer went to law school.) Orman majored in social work in college. She and Bach once worked as stockbrokers, so presumably have the necessary government licenses. (But then so does Martha Stewart.) Again, as best I can tell, none of the five have any professional designations or certifications.
Generally speaking, the people who are avowedly in the business of giving advice have only the circular qualification that they’re successful givers of advice. And that’s a qualification, it seems to me, to which the big bloggers have as legitimate a claim as the big gurus.
Moreover, there really isn’t a better qualification out there. There are no prestigious graduate schools of personal finance. There is such a thing as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation, but it is not widely recognized. There are no government licenses for financial advisors, nor is there anything remotely like the professional certification process we have for doctors and lawyers.
Personal finance is an unsettled field. Some know more than others, and some claim expertise while others shy away from it. But nobody has any particularly useful qualifications.
Well said, Frank. You can read the rest of the article here.