Bigger Picture

The Reformed Broker On Advisors And Twitter

I try not to make new posts simply a re-post of another person’s writing; I usually just retweet them on Twitter and add them to the Weekly Mixtape. However, every once and awhile I’ll come across a post that makes me say “Yup” out loud as I am reading it. Last week, Ben Carlson had a few. And this morning it was Downtown Josh Brown.

“I don’t think I would ever invest money with someone who isn’t on Twitter”

Right away he grabs your attention and follows with compelling arguments why the use of Twitter, blogs and social media is a positive for clients and investors. I’m not going to summarize the post, the link is below for you to read in its entirety.

However, I want to share a few quotes with a little bit of my two cents…

“For a long time, people giving financial advice were nameless and faceless, completely out of the public eye. They developed new business through referrals and in-person networking. They mostly worked for gigantic corporations and were dis-incentivized by their firms’ compliance rules from saying anything publicly or having any opinions that could reach beyond a one-on-one conversation with a single client at a time.”

For too many years I was frustrated that I was not allowed to have and express my own opinions. The companies I worked for discouraged email communication with clients, let alone written blogs and tweets, for fear of something in writing that could be misconstrued or used against the company. I guess that’s understandable, given there were thousands of employees to worry about. But, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to sit quietly forever and part of my business model would eventually include writing and creating content; leaving the corporate world was a no-brainer for me–it wasn’t if, but when.

The ability to have a blog, podcast and interact with FinTwit has been a huge benefit for me and my clients, and I hope it has been for readers and listeners as well.

“Well, have any of his ideas been tested? Has he himself been vetted, by someone other than the firm that hired him? Is there any social proof anywhere online that he’s been deemed credible by a large group of people? No? No record of his thoughts on the markets being debated? No forum in which the things he believes about the right way to invest have been challenged?”

You better believe before I post anything on AAYB or Twitter I’m double checking my numbers and supporting evidence; the last thing I want to do is write something that is wrong. There are people looking to find errors and point them out, and it doesn’t take long to lose your credibility; once your credibility is gone, good luck earning it back. This peer fact-checking of sorts is a great benefit of blogging and Tweeting as it has forced me to do more research and due diligence and in turn, my knowledge in various investment and financial planning topics has increased.

Not only do readers benefit from getting accurate information, but clients also benefit because I’m learning as I research; I can honestly say I’m smarter and a better advisor because of the content I produce.  On multiple occasions, I’ve discussed or used a strategy with clients that I learned while writing a blog post.

“Just because someone shares their ideas on Twitter, or has a blog, or has engaged in some online debate about their philosophy, this does not automatically render them worthy of your trust and confidence in their ability to help you. Finance Twitter has a lunatic fringe all its own, which is part of the charm.”

I just wanted to reiterate that having a blog or podcast does not render anyone an expert.

“But can you imagine trusting someone who has never been actually’d and forced to change their mind? Who has never had the conviction in his or her own ideas to put them out in front of the world? Who has never been forced to come up with the research backing any of their claims? Who has gotten by, all this time, stating their beliefs in the shadowed safety of a phone conversation with the uninformed, and has never had to defend a single word of it?”

I’m obviously biased, but knowing that an advisor is willing to publicly state their approaches toward financial planning and investing shows a higher level of confidence. Confidence in the validity of the information being shared. Confidence in the ability to defend their stance. Confidence that others will see value in what they have to say.

It’s up to you to determine if that confidence is deserved.

Be sure to read Josh’s entire post; this was just a teaser…

The Reformed Broker: The Crucible

NFSW–Explicit Lyrics:

Disclaimer: Nothing on this blog should be considered advice, or recommendations. If you have questions pertaining to your individual situation you should consult your financial advisor. For all of the disclaimers, please see my disclaimer page.