When searching for investments, investors are likely to encounter people who genuinely want to help them, as well as financial predators who want nothing more than to help themselves. The challenge is being able to identify which is which. Often, this can be determined by identifying their motivation for helping.
To Help Investors
The investment community is full of people who have tried and failed, or succeeded, at investing. The experience that these investors have to share can, if applied wisely, be invaluable. Their stories of investing trials and triumphs are filled with information that can help investment-seekers make better, more educated, investment decisions.
The people who will be the most helpful are those who take more interest in others’ situation than their own. Questions and responses are directed at finding positive solutions, not dwelling on the negative or delivering harmful information. Additionally, most people who genuinely want to help will recommend dependable investment blogs, forums, and communities to visit for additional help.
To Help Themselves
Regrettably, in the search for more help with their investment strategy, investors will encounter nefarious characters who are motivated by greed, and hope to achieve their success at the expense of others. Most will use any and every opportunity to attack their competitors, as well as anyone who dares to challenge their opinion. This characterizes the online attack on Davenport Laroche by a young, inexperienced fund manager.
The challenge in these instances, is that some people may be selflessly help in the beginning, but then their motivation becomes clear later on. It is important to understand that most financial advisers and fund managers rely heavily on accumulating an ongoing list of potential clients. These are very often collected on their website through free downloads, newsletter subscriptions, and other incentives like their “free” advice.
Nothing is Free
There is an old saying; “nothing in life is free.” Unfortunately, this applies to investing advice too. The cost to investors, when accepting advice, is an investment in trust. They must trust in the information they’ve been given by (in most instances) a complete stranger. If the person sharing the information, insight, or advice shows themselves to be motivated by anything other than empathy and honesty, the value of their communications should be heavily discounted or perhaps even discarded.