07/21/2014 04:52 pm ET Updated Sep 20, 2014

Beware the So-Called Financial Whiz

One would think by now that people would have figured this whole thing out. One would at least suppose people are smarter than before, that they don't just follow the next so-called financial guru. Alas, the evidence doesn't support this optimism.

No Easy Button Here
Here's what this is all about. Sadly, way too many people, even today, even after having been warned over and over again seem to want to look to the latest financial whiz for guidance. Just tell me what to do, they plead in desperation. Yeah, well, that doesn't usually work out so well.

Group Think
What's going on here? Consider that humans are social animals and tend to naturally seek out a group, a gang or a clique. Call it a need to belong or whatever. Also, keep in mind that for each group that is assembled, there arises a leader, or in this case, the guru.

Financial Gurus We All Know and...
Take a look at some famous financial gurus that we all know and love. There is of course the famous, or should we now say infamous, Robert Kiyosaki. Next in line is Suze Orman who has made quite a name for herself over the years with her financial advice. Oh, and let's not forget the other side of the aisle, the religious, spiritual approach as offered up by the likes of Dave Ramsey.

Now, don't misunderstand. Some of these financial gurus really do have some good advice, some financial wisdom that worked, that sort of thing. And if that is where it stopped, it would probably be okay. Yet, what happens more often than not is that some people just start following "The Gurus" advice blindly. Blindly as in not considering if that guru wisdom actually applies to their own personal financial situation.

Spoiler Alert: There is no free lunch. Yeah, we all want to push the Easy Button and make our financial problems magically go away. Yet, as you have probably noticed, the real world doesn't quite show up that way.

Your 1st Clue
Try on another analogy that is just as, if not more popular. Yes, the topic of weight loss and diet plans. Here's a clue: if there was one diet that worked there would only be one diet. Have you been in a Barnes & Nobles lately and checked out the weight loss section? Have you noticed that there are shelves upon shelves of weight loss solutions. Lose 'X' pounds with the easy buy this book plan.

Here's your first clue to take home today. Personal finance works exactly the same way. If there was one personal financial plan or strategy that worked for everyone, you wouldn't see so many financial gurus loudly proclaiming that their personal solution is all you need to solve all of your problems.

Your 2nd Clue
By the way, there's another clue for you. Anytime that someone starts "s-h-o-u-l-d-i-n-g" all over you, it's best to take a step back and take a careful look at what's going on.

What is the answer?
Just like your Grandma told you years ago. Take any sort of financial advice or wisdom with a grain of salt. In other words, make sure that it actually makes sense for you and your personal financial situation.

That being said, there are important times in your life when it absolutely makes sense to seek out the advice of a personal financial professional. For example, suppose you are in a personal relationship and one or the other of you is, shall we say, questioning the other about the money and why the money runs out long before the month does. In that case, you might want to have a candid conversation with your partner as seen here.

Bottom Line: Recognize that personal finance is exactly that, personal. Don't expect generic financial advice from the latest financial guru to solve your problems. Recognize these are your finances and you have to weigh the advice along with your personal situation and throw in a little common sense. You and your wallet will be glad you did.

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