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Is Facebook Your Financial Advisor?


Christian talk radio with Rob West

August 15, 2022

Do you have a financial advisor? Or are you taking advice from your favorite social media platform? We’ll talk about that today on MoneyWise. So the other day our team came across a post by personal finance blogger Anthony Isola. He was lamenting the state of social media advertising and its ill effect on society. He’ll get no argument here. Advertising encourages impulse spending, leading to ever more debt. What’s more, the products it pushes are often useless or even harmful to your financial health. Isola makes the case that there’s a type of psychological warfare going on in social media, but only one side is aware of it. Social media software engineers are using sophisticated algorithms to collect, analyze and exploit your buying weaknesses. The key to this success is getting you to stare at your computer or smartphone screen as long as possible. The author calls this stealing your attention. Getting you to scroll to, see, and click on an ad results in more dollars for the social media oligarchs. Now, just how do they do that? Ad designers had many choices for how ads could be crafted and targeted at unsuspecting consumers. These might include faith, love, friendship, and patriotism, but apparently, that’s not where the real money usually is. The biggest returns, it seems, generally come from darker emotions. Social media ad designers soon realized that fear and anger pay better. The reason for this is something known as Negativity Bias. Researchers discovered that, sadly, we’re likely to stare longer at something that’s destructive or harmful. Youtube videos of cute kittens might cater to a niche crowd, but far more people will camp on a video showing a car crash or a bridge collapsing, and therefore the ads that accompany it. Here’s another example. New York University conducted a study that found tweets containing moral outrage greatly increase re-tweeting, and Facebook posts containing themes of social unrest double the number of likes and shares. Now, obviously, this is disturbing information that we should all be aware of, but what does it have to do with your finances and your retirement plan? Well, remember that gloom and doom pays. The author noted the frequency of social media ads shouting warnings of economic armageddon just around the corner. You absolutely must buy this book or that video series to find out how to survive. The cost of those products isn’t the real problem, it’s the often bogus financial advice they hand out. This may lead people to cash out their retirement portfolios, buy far too much in gold and other precious metals, or any number of risky investment schemes. The author contends that Facebook has become the financial advisor of far too many people. HOW TO AVOID SOCIAL MEDIA-DRIVEN INVESTING DECISIONS One of our favorite verses is Proverbs 15: 22. It reads, Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed. But it’s key to choose the right financial advisor. Kingdom Advisors co-founder Ron Blue says you want someone who’s been trained and has committed to be a person of character, someone with a biblical worldview to serve you with financial advice so you can confidently navigate financial decisions as a faithful steward, and not react in panic when you see a disturbing ad on Facebook. Having a godly, Christian financial advisor, such as those earning the designation Certified Kingdom Advisor, has three blessings: It provides accountability from a third party. It provides security and familiarity for a surviving spouse, and the objectivity of a third party to bring wisdom into troubling situations. As a financial planner, Ron Blue successfully advised clients for decades, but even he has used the services of a financial planner for years. You can’t make a stronger argument than that! So instead of falling victim to some financial scheme on Facebook, go to MoneyWise.orgAND Find a Certified Kingdom Advisor. On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions: ● Is there a way to structure investments to minimize tax liability? ● How can you make headway with credit card debt when it seems you can only pay the minimum monthly payments? ● How do you determine tax liability on an inheritance? ● Can a person legally keep a life insurance policy on an ex-spouse? ● Is there a way to make a cash gift to your pastor tax-free? ● What is a Roth 401k? RESOURCES MENTIONED: ● Find a Certified Kingdom Advisor ● Christian Credit Counselors

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