SPRUIKERS vs ADVISERS
I was recently tagged in a post by one of my awesome and intelligent clients. The post was an ad from yet another "Spruiker" promising quick riches by investing in property. The ad said people could pay $0 tax and pay off their mortgage in 5-7 years. These shysters even used a photo of The Project presenters (Waleed and Carrie) to get attention. I can only think they wanted people to feel like it was a legit claim because it was “on TV” even though they weren’t in the picture. I didn't respond to the tag initially. But it has since touched a nerve, so here is my public response.
The reason it touched a nerve is because I am seeing way too many Social Media Spruikers (Property Gurus, Business Coaches, Bitcoin Experts and Forex Trading Specialist, etc) on Facebook giving people false hope about achieving Financial Freedom by hyping themselves up and lying about how they can help people get rich quick. This upsets me because all it does is confuse people. It leads them to do dumb things with their money and stops them from doing their Financial Planning properly, so they can really improve their financial situation in the best way possible.
So, to help people (especially young families) be more informed about who these people are that keep promising them riches, I thought I'd share the 3 biggest differences between Spruikers and good Financial Advisers. That way people can better choose who they want to take financial advice from in the future. (In order to be as truthful as possible, I will only refer to myself and how I work as a Financial Adviser, as I can’t speak for all other Advisers).
REGULATIONS & AUTHORISATIONS
Financial Advisers are legally authorised, and government regulated to provide financial advice to their clients. This means the advice needs to be in the client’s best interest. If it is not, then the Adviser can be reprimanded and lose their authorisation and the client can receive reparations for their losses.
Spruikers are not authorised or regulated to provide advice to clients. A big example of this is Property Gurus who give advice on which properties clients should purchase. As property is not deemed as a Financial Asset under ASIC. That means Spruikers can give advice on this asset without any training, qualifications, regulations or authorisations. Therefore, if the property ends up being a dud, there is no backlash on the property guru for recommending it and the client has no recourse for their financial loss. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen to many people during my career. They get ripped off and cheated out of lots of money and there is nothing they can do about it because they were tricked into believing the hype. (It’s easy to sell hype when there is no risk of getting in trouble for it).
PAYMENTS AND SERVICES
A good Financial Adviser is paid a fee for their advice and services. Again, due to regulations, they have to ensure they provide their advice and services in a very clear way. They also have to demonstrate they provided their service to ensure clients got what they paid for. If they do not, they can be reprimanded by the regulator and clients can be reimbursed for any poor service or advice.
However, Spruikers don’t have this requirement due to no regulation. So, people can pay money and not receive a full service or the service they expected and there is nothing they can really do about it. Also, Spruikers often receive backdoor payments for selling you products (theirs or other peoples) which incentivises conflicts of interest. Again, using Property Gurus as an example as that was the ad I saw and also the common one I’ve seen in my career, many property Spruikers sell clients into property developments where they get an undisclosed commission on the property purchase. This means they can get paid $20,000 -$50,000 for each person that buys a property from their developer. This creates a conflict because they are meant to be helping their clients get rich but the higher the property purchase price the bigger the commission they get which may not be good for their clients. Also, once clients have bought a property, there is not much incentive for Spruikers to stay around and keep helping. Instead they usually head off to find more buyers because it’s more lucrative for them to sell the hype then to deliver the hype.
HONESTY & ETHICS
Financial Planning often gets a bad rap when it comes to ethics. And that makes me sad. But I understand why, there have been a few bad eggs in my industry who have made the majority of the industry look bad. But regardless of these bad eggs, I know many good Advisers who are ethical, honest and caring people who always do the right thing by their clients. I myself am one of these Advisers and I’m proud of it. I see being a Financial Adviser as a massive responsibility and I take it very seriously. I realise that my client’s lives depend on my advice and support and I value every relationship I have with my clients. I always tell them the truth, even if they don’t want to hear it.
One of the biggest truths I tell my clients is that building wealth takes time. It does not happen quickly. It takes ongoing effort over many years to build wealth. This is not only true for money but also other important areas of life. Relationships, health and happiness do not come quick and easy. You have to work at them and earn them. Now whilst this might not sound sexy, it is true.
The other truth I tell my clients is that if there was a magic trick for getting rich quick that I knew, I would be doing that myself? The truth is I am doing for myself what I tell my clients to do. It’s what I know to be the best way to build wealth. The only way. I am working hard and building my wealth one step at a time because that is the most tried and tested way to do it. It has been for hundreds of years and will be for hundreds more. Warren Buffet the richest man in the world did it this way. And if anyone would know the magic trick for getting rich it would be him and he always says, there is no tricks. So, don’t just take my word for it. Instead take his.
Unfortunately, these Spruikers promise people the opposite of what I believe is the truth. They promise clients secrets and magic tricks because that’s what people want to hear even if it’s not true. But to me, if they had some magic trick and it worked so well, why are they not just doing it themselves? Why are they instead trying to sell it to you?
I think the only truth here is that they are lying. I feel they lie about their success and the success they can create for clients. I’ve been watching these spruikers pop up for years and guess what, they all say the same thing. Here’s how their typical story goes “I became super successful. I became a millionaire. Then I decided I wanted to help more people from the goodness of my heart. So, I set up this business and now spend all my time spruiking it, so I can charge people thousands of dollars to help them because they are struggling. I’m a modern-day saint”.
But my question is, if your tricks work so well, why did you stop? Why didn’t you keep going and become even more successful? And if you don’t care about success anymore, and you want to help people, why are you trying to be successful with your new Spruiker business? Why does it have to be profitable? Why don’t you use your millions to make it a charity or just give your tricks away for free because you don’t need any more money and don’t want success anymore? It’s a bold claim to say they are lying. But to me, if they are all saying the same thing, spruiking the same stories and secrets then someone has to be lying. They’re just can’t be that many compassionate people in the world (or Australia for that matter) who all got “successful” with their secrets and then decided to “help” people by sharing their secrets for a hefty fee.
I think the only secret they really have is one they are not sharing with you and it’s this – the quickest way to get rich quick is to sell people get rich quick schemes. It’s be happening for thousands of years. It’s a con. But the only people who get rich quick from this shit is the sellers of it, not the buyers of it. It’s just like back in the gold rush days, the richest people were those selling the shovels not the people buying the shovels
Anyway, that’s enough of a rant for now. Hopefully by uncovering some of these Spruikers secrets, you can see their bullshit for what it really is, and you won’t get caught out by them anymore. The moral of this story is, don’t waste your money on trying to get rich quick because as is often the case in life, "if it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is".