Who Should I Take Financial Advice From?
There are plenty of people providing finance advice. But who should you actually listen to? Here’s how to ignore the noise and find quality money advice.
July 20, 2022
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or investment advice. Always consult with a professional financial or investment advisor before making investment decisions.
There are a million and one places to go for financial advice. You could browse financial TikTok or Twitter, peruse Reddit’s /r/wallstreetbets, watch the financial news or talk to your nephew who’s just a little bit too into crypto.
But quality financial advice is more difficult to come by. Everyone has an opinion, and most are happy to share it. Whether you’re looking for help with a tricky situation or simply looking for basic financial knowledge, wading through the noise and the nonsense to find quality insights is a challenge.
In this guide, we’ll cover how to find good finance advice from professional sources — and how to vet each source to ensure you’re getting the right information.
Where do people turn to for financial advice?
While everyone has a different approach to personal finances, we can look at surveys to find data on where most people are turning for finance advice.
A 2021 study found that 26% of people turn to a financial advisor for trusted advice. The survey specifically asked what Americans’ most trusted source for financial advice was. Here are the results:
Financial advisor - 26%.
Themselves - 20%.
Spouse/partner - 16%.
Family member - 13%.
The same survey found that 38% of respondents were working with a financial advisor. This is interesting, as only 26% of respondents indicated that financial advisors were their most trusted source of financial advice. This indicates that some people may be utilizing a professional, but still trusting their own judgment (or the advice of friends and family) over that of the advisor.
Where to seek financial advice
There are plenty of places to seek financial advice, both online and in your community. Here’s an overview.
A financial advisor
A financial advisor is someone who provides professional financial advice, for a fee.
Some financial advisors simply provide advice. In this case, their fee structure is usually a one-time fee for an appointment.
Other advisors provide guidance and actually manage investments on behalf of clients. These advisors typically charge ongoing fees, which are usually a percentage of the assets you have invested with them. For example, they may charge 1% per year — meaning if you have $50,000 invested with them, you would pay $500 per year for their services.
It’s recommended to find an advisor who is a “fiduciary.” A fiduciary financial advisor is an advisor who is required to act in your best interest. In many cases, this might mean recommending investment products with lower fees.
For example, if there are two similar investment funds, Fund A with a 0.3% annual fee and Fund B with a 1.0% annual fee, a fiduciary advisor would be required to recommend the lower-fee option if it's the best fund for your financial needs— even if Fund B would provide the advisor with a generous referral bonus.
There are plenty of online news sources, blogs and other publications that you can turn to for financial advice.
When it comes to these sources, it’s wise to be aware of a few things:
What is the publication? Is it a trustworthy, well-known source?
Who is the author? Are they an experienced financial expert? Do they have credentials?
What is the purpose behind the article you’re reading? Is it simply to inform, or perhaps is it designed to lead the reader to a certain conclusion (like signing up for a specific service).
The quality of advice in online publications varies dramatically. It’s important to pay attention and to take some things with a grain of salt. For important topics, it’s wise to double-check by utilizing multiple sources.
Online forums and message boards are another option. You can utilize these to seek personalized advice by posting questions — just be sure to not use any personal information.
Some options include:
Reddit’s r/personalfinance (all things finance).
Bogleheads (low-cost investing).
BiggerPockets (real estate investing).
MrMoneyMustache (frugal living and financial independence/retire early).
These forums allow anyone to comment on your posts and share their advice. As such, you should take replies with a grain of salt. Some users are very experienced and knowledgeable, but some simply are not.
Friends and family
While money is often considered a taboo topic, some people are more comfortable talking about it than others. Chances are you know someone in your circle who is good with money — it may be helpful to seek their advice.
This is a free source, but of course, the quality of advice completely depends on that person’s knowledge and experience. Just because they appear to be good with money, doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be able to give good advice for your situation. There are definitely pros and cons to getting money advice from friends and family, but depending on your situation it may be worth trying.
How to evaluate a source of finance advice
Whenever you seek out financial advice or read articles online, it’s important to evaluate the source. Here’s what to consider.
Certifications or designations
When working with an advisor or professional, look for professional certifications. You can also look for these designations on author bylines when you read articles online. Some common ones include:
These titles are proof that the professional has obtained a certification from an independent organization — which typically involves passing a rigorous test for both knowledge and professional responsibility.
Does the source have firsthand experience dealing with the topic at hand? Or do they have professional training in it?
When it comes to professionals, knowing that the advisor has formal training in the topic is most important. For individuals, like friends and family, lived experience is also important. For example, you probably don’t want advice on budget grocery shopping from your uncle who has spendthrift tendencies.
Does the source share similar values as you, at least when it comes to finances? For example, let’s say you’re hoping to retire early. Seeking advice from individuals or experts who have the same goal can be helpful — while advice from a workaholic may not be a good fit.
Learn more on the Tally blog
Want a great place to get started brushing up on your financial knowledge? Check out the Tally blog, where we cover topics including debt payoff, student loans, investing, budgeting and much more.
And if you’re hoping to pay off credit card debt, the Tally† app may be able to help. Tally is an app that helps qualifying applicants consolidate credit card debt to save money on interest. Learn how Tally works.
†To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. Based on your credit history, the APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% - 29.99% per year. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 - $300.