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Common Knowledge and Wisdom Are Often Wrong


How much of what we know is wrong? Over the years, everyone remembers great proclamations that are later rejected, because they just aren’t true. The Earth was thought to be flat, and many people were probably astounded to learn otherwise. When should we be skeptical, and when should we blindly accept a so-called truth?

Very few issues of any consequence are black-and-white. This is especially true in politics, investing, and even science. Is global warming caused by people? Is there actually global warming? Reasonable people can (and do) disagree.

Investing is an area in which absolute agreement is rare. The popular term “Bull and Bear” is very descriptive, as it shows the differing sides of any financial subject. Much of what we present in the office, on the radio, and in our blog, is pure fact, such as market results for the past week, month, year, or whatever. But much of our content is subjective.

Can you beat the market? Should you try? Can your advisor make and keep a promise to beat the market? Do you really need an annuity? Should you take Social Security early? Do you need a Will? A Trust? Life insurance? Are you paying a reasonable amount in taxes? Are you getting a tax refund that is too large? Are you having to write a check on April 15th? The list goes on.

The practice of financial advising is filled with people from all walks of life, all degrees of success, all qualifications, and all business models. In our opinion, we have the best model for the nature of financial advising, in that we are fee-only fiduciaries, which requires us to place the clients’ interests ahead of our own. We are also Certified Financial Planners, trained to deal with the gamut of personal financial issues, including Insurance Planning, Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Retirement Planning, Educational Funding, and other topics.

Non-fiduciary advisors are actually salespeople, who are trying to make a living by selling something for a commission. Some of them have clever ways to obfuscate the commission in the “grey area” of compensation. Financial regulators are (finally) requiring more transparency from commission-based salespeople.

One of our favorite pastimes is taking recent headlines and debunking them. Believe me, that process is easier that you might think. Bad advice, dumb ideas, and lies abound in the financial cyberspace around us. Our mission is to help you navigate through all the noise.

If you see or hear something that doesn’t sound intuitively correct, you are probably right. You can always call the show to discuss the topic, or you can send us an email that we will discuss on the show in coming weeks,

One of the fundamental truths of life is that more knowledge is better than less knowledge, so long as that knowledge is the truth. We are here to help.

Van Wie Financial is fee-only.  For a reason.