Can Any Personal Finance Pundit Be Trusted?

by Jason Unger

The recent look inside Robert Kiyosaki’s wealth seminars generated an interesting discussion in the comments about personal finance pundits and whether they ever have your best interests at heart.

It’s a great question, since most pundits made their money telling people how to get rich — reason enough to raise an eyebrow and wonder if their advice really works for you and me.

So, let’s take a look at some of the biggest names in personal finance and see if they can really be trusted.

While there are a ton of commentators and money gurus on TV and radio, let’s discuss a few of them: Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey, Jim Cramer and Robert Kiyosaki.

For argument’s sake, let’s assume that each one of these pundits believes that they have your best interests at heart.

Meaning, they shell out personal finance advice that they believe works for everyone who is listening — not just what worked for them or their “great idea” about making money.

While I doubt that this is true in every case, it’s worth giving them the benefit of the doubt.

But one crucial thing to remember is that all of these pundits are also storytellers — meaning, through their books, TV shows and radio shows, they need to create a compelling, interesting story that keeps people reading, listening, and buying books and other products.

That’s why phrases like “in this economy” permeate the media — the storyline needs to be established so you, the consumer, understand why you need to do what you need to do.

But at the end of the day, each of these pundits is also in sales; without selling you on their products or their sponsor’s products, they wouldn’t be on the air.

I want to open this up for discussion. Can you really trust any personal finance pundit? Does their need to stay on the air and sell books make their advice less trustworthy?

Tell me what you think in the comments.

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