Earlier this week I read an article on Advisor.Ca that talked about where Canadians were obtaining their financial information. The article quoted a survey conducted by Investors Group that found 42% of Canadians who save and invest are using online and social media to guide their decisions.
The author goes on to express concerns about how inaccurate some information on the internet can be, and that it’s “scary” that 6% of Canadians said they use information gleaned from blogs, Facebook and Twitter as a preferred source of financial information.
Financial Information: Looking For Alternatives
Like all personal finance blogs, we have a disclaimer stating that the financial information presented here is for entertainment purposes only and that you should consult a professional investment manager before making any major financial decisions.
Most people are smart enough to understand that concept, but they are likely seeking affirmation on their approach or else they are looking for non-mainstream opinions on personal finance.
The author who views that 6% of Canadians are getting their financial information through blogs and social media as “scary stuff” will probably be more frightened in a few years, since that number is likely to substantially increase over time.
The fact that mainstream media are using Facebook, Twitter, and their own personal blogs to engage with their audience proves that this growing trend is not going to go away anytime soon.
I would guess that the majority of the survey respondents were most likely looking at mainstream media or regulated financial websites and social media accounts rather than just some guy’s personal blog.
Mainstream Media All Sounds The Same
There are a few notable exceptions, but for the most part the information you get from the mainstream media and financial services firms all sounds the same. It’s a cycle of RRSP articles and tax season tips, mixed in with your typical fear based messages about not saving enough for retirement, sky-rocketing inflation, peak oil, and real estate bubbles.
Speaking of real estate, how many articles have you read since late 2008/early 2009 telling you to lock in your mortgage before rates start shooting up? Those types of articles grab people’s attention and sell newspapers for sure, but should they be taken as solid advice?
For people who were interested in a different opinion on that subject, they could find some good financial information on Canadian personal finance blogs telling you some reasons not to lock in your rate. Reading opposing views is healthy and helps people form their own opinions about what is right for their own personal situation.
Where Do You Get Your Financial Information?
For me personally, I’m an information sponge and I try to absorb everything I can on the subject of personal finance. From the more mainstream books, magazines, television programs and newspapers to alternative sources like personal finance blogs, podcasts, online forums, and social media sites there is a plethora of information to help you form your own decisions.
With all of this information at our fingertips it is becoming easier to take a do-it-yourself approach to personal finance, certainly when it comes to investing. But if/when I require financial advice on taxes, small business, real estate, and even retirement I would absolutely consult with a professional before making major decisions. You can’t do everything on your own, but you owe it to yourself to be as informed as possible.
So where do you get your financial information from?
- Financial Advisor
- Financial Services Websites
- Traditional Mainstream Media (TV/Newspaper/Radio)
- Books and Magazines
- Personal Finance Blogs
- Facebook and Twitter
- Family and Friends
- Paid Subscription Newsletter
Leave a comment and let me know your trusted sources of financial information and if you like to DIY or rely on professional advice when it comes to your finances.