The best protection for your money is Knowledge


Finding advice on personal finance isn't hard- the hard part is differentiating between the good and bad advice. The Internet, radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and even old-fashioned books are teaming up with financial gurus and guru wannabees, showering you with the latest advice on what to do with your money. While much of that advice will make someone rich, it may not be you; it may be the advice giver instead- and even worse, that someone may be getting rich at your expense. You can turn to a professional financial planner to help you establish a lifetime financial plan, but it will be up to you to manage it. The bottom line is that you need to understand the basics of personal financial management if you are going to achieve your financial goals- it's also the only way you can protect yourself.

A solid understanding of personal finance will:

- Enable you to protect yourself from the danger of an incompetent investment advisor.
- Provide you with an understanding of the importance of planning for your future.
- Give you the ability to make intelligent investments and take advantage of changes in the economy and interest rates.
- Allow you to extract the principles you learn here and elsewhere and apply them to your own situation.

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Because financial problems in real life seldom perfectly reflect textbook problems and solutions, you must be able to abstract what you learn in order to apply it. The only way you can effectively abstract something is to understand it. As with most else in life, it's much easier to do it right if you understand what you're doing and why you're doing it.
And when you know what you're doing you don't have to rely on insurance salespeople, personal financial advisors, and stockbrokers- after all, they may actually be acting in their own interests rather than in your best interest. For example, an insurance salesperson, motivated by a potential commission, may try to sell you insurance you don't need. A personal financial advisor may try to sell you financial products, such as mutual funds, that are more expensive than similar products because he or she receives a hefty commission on them.
That doesn't mean you should avoid insurance salespeople or financial planners but you should choose them carefully. Pick a financial planner just as you pick a competent and trustworthy doctor-look for one that fits your needs and has a proven record of ethical and effective assistance to clients.

If you trust your your financial planner- you have to believe he or she has your best interests at heart. Just keep your eyes open, and of course, be aware of ulterior motives when making financial decisions.

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