14 January 2006

Why am I doing this?

The first question you should ask any blogger or website is their motivation for doing the site. Mine is that there is a lot of sharks in the water in the world of personal finance, taxes, and investing (most have a "recognizable" name). I've found only a few sites that actually try to help people rather than try to sell them something.

It didn't shock me that just about every major brokerage house has paid fines because they steered clients money into funds that were bad because the brokerage was paid a higher commission on those funds. It was (and still is) a common practice, which is sad considering most people go to these brokerages not knowing anything. That is why they hire a professional to manage their investments.

And the financial press isn't any better. Every day they exalt Google, Apple, or some other high priced stock. The same way they did during the dot-com boom and bust. Who needs profits when the press talks up your stock like it's worth its weight in gold?

In the world of personal finance, the U.S. is heading for a disaster. I'm not generally an excitable guy, but with personal savings rate being below zero and the crushing amount of debt that Americans are taking on to keep up with the Joneses, people are going to need a smack in the face sooner rather than later.

Taxes are a world to themselves. The sheer amount of crap out there astounds me. From the latest "you don't really have to pay taxes!" scam to misinformation from non-professionals tax blogs that are reliable and aren't above the heads of most people are hard to find.

So who am I to comment? Well, I am a tax professional that is currently studying for my CPA and CFP (Certified Financial Planner). I am someone that is fascinated by markets and investor psychology. I'm also someone that wants to help people, either through involvement in organizations such as the Jaycees or Special Olympics, or through helping a friend maximize tax deductions and learn to budget.

That's not saying this is all flowers and lollipops. This is also a vanity project (like all blogs). I like to write and if I don't find an outlet my boss tends to laugh at my research memos (it's the Irish in me that causes me to use words like I do, I swear!).

I hope that you find what I say interesting, and more importantly, helpful. Please know that I am not going to intentionally mislead you. I am not a shark, and I don't want you to be chum.

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