I was driving to the car repair place that my brother uses down here in Florida (yes the same Suburban, now something about the fuel line) and we got into a discussion about NPR and other news programs.
My brother recently wrote NPR a letter and expressed his frustration about how the interviews go when the interviewer and the guest are obviously not on the same side of the issue. He said that it’s as if the interviewer is “reaching over the fence” during the interview. Not wanting to get too close to the guest and certainly not understanding the guests point of view the interviewer remains very distant from the guest and consequently the interview does not come off “fair and balanced”.
I appreciate Ron for a few reasons. First that he writes National Public Radio a letter! Nobody does that anymore, but we all should more often. Second because his next comment expressed the same frustration about most of the personalities on FOX news. He’s right. Neither one are very fair and balanced.
The truth is – I’m not looking for fair and balanced. What I want is the facts about the situation and then the persons opinion about it. I’ll form my opinion about what happens around me better as I understand implications of the events as others see them. The reason I like FOX news is that I agree with their opinion more often than I agree with the NPR angle. Both angles come through clearly.
When it comes to money, mortgages and investing – if you’re looking for fair and balanced, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’ve got definite opinions about money matters and I’m not afraid to share them. Here are a few topics that you will hear my opinion coming out on:
How much cash should you have on hand at any given point?
Should I be investing in the Stock Market?
Is a Roth IRA better than a traditional IRA?
Which is better – active or passive investing?
Do we need a Trust or is a Will sufficient for us?
Will this refinance pay off for us?
Do Free Markets work to set prices of goods and securities?
Should I buy an Annuity for any reason?
Which better, term insurance or whole life insurance?
What my clients and others don’t need is yet another source that will present all the options as if they are all equal. Many of these issues are in fact mutually exclusive, and very often one stands in sharp contrast to another. In many situations, there cannot be not two right answers.
What you need from me are four things:
1. My understanding – how well do I understand your situation?
2. My opinion and advice. What would I do if I were in your shoes?
3. My reasons. What are the facts and what is the research that has brought me to these conclusions?
4. My angle. How do I get paid and what are the implications for me of the advice I give you?
Your job is to make a good decision – something you are well prepared to do once you know the above.
Lets face it – no one is fair and balanced. No one is perfectly objective. Every one has an angle. This isn’t wrong.
My clients want me to make money so long as the value exchange is fair. It’s only wrong when folks don’t want you to know what the angle is. You need guys like me to be up front with you about BOTH my opinion AND my angle. Given both, YOU will make a great decisions in 2010.