Advice is something there is no shortage of. Everyone wants to tell you what’s good and bad for you. We are bombarded with advice on medicine, investments, exercise, foods to consume, vitamins to take and legal issues on every topic imaginable. Which advice is good, which is bad, which should we act on and which should we ignore? Sometimes advice is critical to our well being. Other times advice can harm us terribly. Choosing can sometimes present a conundrum at times.
My opinion on whose advice we should consider following, should be judged heavily on the root source of the advice. One question you might ask is “what’s in it for the person giving you advice?” Are they trying to sell you a product or service – thus by advising you perhaps they can enhance their bank accounts? Or is your advice coming from your parents, or a trusted advisor who sincerely cares about you and desires to protect and guide you positively, without any other agendas in sight?
Most advice that travels across the airwaves of Radio and TV has a tendency to advance the advisors or an advertisers cause. However, advice should not be shunned completely, if someone is making money by providing it. For instance, new books written by so called experts hit the bookstores daily and their authors subsequently hit the road promoting their books. Lots of money is made by the authors and the publishers. Some authors have excellent advice to share with their readers. Others write books, or use ghost writers in order to make an easy buck. How do you distinguish between the two?
Like all issues regarding life, there’s usually a track record left behind, that can be traced about individuals, companies, executives or politicians who give advice. If an individual or company has a history of lying, cheating or deceiving -- and decides to write a book to “enlighten their readers and give them advice” – I would be skeptical about believing them or acting on what they advise. For example both Pete Rose and Jose Canseco have written books. Both of their backgrounds contain trails of lies and deception regarding their activities. Regardless of their skills and records they achieved in baseball, why should anyone believe them now? Let alone take any advice from them.
On the other hand, we shouldn’t let the liars and cheaters in our world taint our opinions regarding advice in general. As a parent, a consultant and writer, I give my opinions on lots of issues as well as advice about how to live a healthier, happier and more balanced life. My own life is far from perfect and I surely don’t have the answers regarding all of life’s many issues. I struggle each day just as everyone else does. However, I have no hidden agenda’s attached to any advice I may give. I always try my best to “Do what’s Right.” I take my lumps; live and learn; and then share what I’ve learned from my own experiences. If I could save another human being a single dose of pain that I had to endure to learn, I consider that an accomplishment worthy of my time.
With regards to advice, personally I believe in seeking as much as possible regarding issues I am not familiar enough with. I ask lots of questions and try to surround myself with honest friends, neighbors and advisors that I trust. I pay for lots of advice from accountants, lawyers, doctors and other professionals who I believe to be honest and very knowledgeable in their respective areas of expertise. And in almost all cases, I will act on their suggestions since I trust them. TRUST is the keyword for me.
My accountant is one of my most trusted advisors. Over the last twenty years, I have spoken with him at least once a quarter and he has proven to be a tremendous asset. My doctors and dentists enjoy having me as a patient because unlike most of their patients, I follow their advice and heal quickly and stay healthier – because I listen. I compliment them for their services and they thank me “for listening and following their advice.”
I have not been so lucky in finding honest and trusting advisors in the investment world. Since the late 1970’s I have dealt with some of the top names in the Brokerage industry. Each company couldn’t wait to get me as a client – and in each case I always ended up disappointed with the results after following their advice.
The BEST advisors during my lifetime were my parents. They had no hidden agenda’s. Just genuine love driven-advice that always proved valuable. You just have to be smart enough to listen to your parents while you are young and prone to making foolish mistakes. That’s my best advice for all who are looking for an honest opinion.