I admit it – I’m a closet Randi Rhodes fan. It’s not even her show so much as her personal story, her ‘damned the torpedoes’ approach to life, and her in-your-face style. If I ever had the pleasure of meeting her, I would be thrilled if we hit it off and became friends.
But I cringe every time I hear one of her radio commercials.
In the ad, Randi advises her listeners to buy gold. She gives a bunch of solid reasons, and plugs a specific gold-based security. For the plug, I assume Randi gets paid both for her personal endorsement and again when the ad airs on her show.
I hate the ad for the same reason the folks who pay her for it presumably love it.
I hate it because it works.
Listening to her radio show, it’s obvious many of her callers are big-time Randi Rhodes fans. These fans end up building a personal relationship with the personality known as ‘Randi Rhodes’, and they trust her. So when Randi says ‘buy gold’ it’s pretty safe to assume some (many?) of her listeners do so. Blindly. Otherwise, they wouldn’t bother running these ads, and as I recall they have been running for months.
To me, these ads are worse than the Chevron ads appearing at Dkos. The Chevron ads are pernicious, but at the end of the day one gas company is simply trying to convince you to spend your dollars on them rather than someone else. By pretending to be something they are not. Either way, you are spending money on a consumable item you would buy anyway.
Financial advice is a very tricky business. Financial advice is for keeps. In following someone’s advice, you will either make money or lose it. Your chances of breaking even are slim.
So my Free Financial Advice is very simple. Be very wary before following somebody else’s Free Financial Advice. So when you need financial advice, you must go to the professionals first, talk to them at length about what you need to do, it can help you gain a lot more clarity and stop you from doing something you may regret.
Let’s take the US Dollar as an example. The Dollar is on a downward trend, and has been for years. But like any other ‘investment’ there are fits and starts to the trend. As I type this, on the morning of Monday October 22, 2007, the Dollar has hit a record low against the Euro.
But will the Dollar stay low? Will it go down further? If so, when will it bottom out? Or will it?
These questions are impossible to answer with certainty.
For example, it is possible that The Fed will react to the latest slide and do something very unconventional this week. They might raise interest rates. If not this week, they could do it next month. If they were to raise rates, the dollar would strengthen at least for the short term. This morning, I read one prognosticator predicting that even if the Fed maintains the current rates, the dollar will rise because it will be seen as a sign of stability. Makes my head spin, all these predictions.
Another scenario – the current account and trade deficits may shrink faster than most people anticipate. If so, again the US Dollar could rebound a little.
Or, we could get some really bad financial news and the Dollar could sink even lower. And faster than most would expect.
The key point – Nobody Knows For Sure.
I don’t know your personal financial situation. I don’t want to know. But I do know that I would be very careful before advising you on how to invest your money. I certainly wouldn’t suggest you borrow money to invest in something I thought was a sure thing.
Unless it was, as Buhdy suggested the other day, to buy beer.
Beer is always a good investment. And now, thanks to CD, we now know how to make it ourselves!