woman looking at a ipad with grimace on face

I saw a “floater” in my eye and, like any responsible person, I Googled everything I could find on the topic. From a respectable site, I discovered, “Floaters are very common and typically don’t require treatment.” Relieved, I figured next time I go for an eye exam, I’ll mention it to the doctor. Months later, when getting a check-up, the eye doctor referred me to a specialist and sent me to the emergency room. Emergency??!! The ophthalmologist asked why I didn’t come immediately. “Let me guess,” he said, “Dr. Google told you floaters are no big deal?” 

I decided that instead of getting expert medical advice, I would do my own research. Why bother with someone who had spent years studying the topic when I could learn it online? 

When to get expert advice 

Recently, I used the same question that the eye doctor asked when a client told me about a great stock pick. “Let me guess,” I said, “An ‘expert’ on Reddit or Robinhood suggested the company?” 

Where to get the best advice and investment ideas 

Before you risk money based on a rumor on a chat board, consider the motivations of the people posting ideas. 

  • Are they making exaggerated statements to garner attention and grow their audience? 
  • Are they receiving a financial kickback by having you go to a website that pays them a commission? 
  • Are they encouraging people to buy a stock, thus pushing up the price, so that they can sell their own shares? 
  • Are they neglecting to disclose the risks of the investment? 
  • Do they actually know anything about investing? 

Every so often, a new “hot” investment idea in trading comes along and many people get swept up in the excitement, only to lose their life savings. 

Instead of looking to make unrealistic returns from investments you hear about on the internet, consult with a professional. I learned that from my ophthalmologist, and I hope that you’ll take that lesson from a veteran Wall Street investment professional. 

If you’d like to discuss some investment ideas with a financial professionalget in touch, doug@profile-financial.com. 

Published June 3, 2021.

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