Whose advice do you trust? I mean, really, reallytrust? Your mom’s? Your doctor’s? Your work mentor’s?
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what makes an expert. Is an expert someone who has a degree? Who has personal experience? Who’s done a lot of research? I think that in American culture we respect and trust those who have actual training in a given subject matter. Like, we wouldn’t take medical advice from our friends but we would from our doctors because, duh, the doctor went to medical school. She has training and expertise on how to keep the human body healthy.
But what about personal biases that the doctor might have? At the end of the day, we’re all just people. The doctor might be getting kickbacks from a pharmaceutical company to prescribe certain drugs that she might not actually think are best…but she advises using them anyway because she makes a profit from every script she writes. Or what if the doctor smokes? Is she going to harp on me as much as she should about my smoking habits? (I don’t smoke anymore, but you get the point.) So yes, my doctor is an “expert,” but what does her expertise matter if she’s not sharing it with me in a meaningful way?
I think you can see how this gets back to the subject of personal finance. What makes a personal finance expert? How do you know whose advice to trust? Whose advice do you trust when it comes to your money?
P.S. – If you haven’t entered my Turbo Tax giveaway yet, you should. Take it from THIS expert. I mean, come on, it doesn’t take a genius to tell you that it’s a good idea to do your taxes for free!