“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
– Winston Churchill
I say a lot of “crazy” sh%t in these emails. And (probably) at least some of my readers have cringed once or twice.
But hopefully I’ve entertained you and (maybe) you’ve learned one or two things along the way.
But it eventually happens.
Someone gets a stick up their butt and sends me hate mail, tags me in a Fakebook rant post to call me some nasty names (some of which probably constitutes libel but isn’t worth the effort to defend).
Heck, late last year, a financial geew roo devoted an entire podcast show to (dishonestly) criticizing an article I wrote way back in 2011.
Now… I don’t go out there TRYING to make enemies. It just happens.
And, for me, it happens for a few reasons. Some of them have absolutely nothing to do with business or finance:
- I’m an atheist (and probably so are you– more on that in a moment) and that REALLY sets some people off. I don’t really advertise it… but I don’t exactly hide it either if you know what I mean. I don’t care that other people worship a god. It doesn’t pick my pocket or break my leg. But lots of people seem to care when someone DOESN’T. Heck… for thousands of years… do you know how many people have worshiped how many gods? Most people are atheists when it comes to the ancient Roman gods and religions like Mithraism, Gnosticism, Druz, Bábism, Canaanitism (do you really worship Baal and Mot?), Atenism, Manichaeism, Zoroastrianism, or any of the other THOUSANDS of religions.
- I’m a free market capitalist. Most people alive today don’t even know what real capitalism means. We live in a mixed economy and all the world’s countries live with something similar. You can hardly mention “freedom” without someone’s panties getting all twisted up. And yet, the standard of living for EVERYONE exploded upward during and after the industrial revolution– a time of very little economic regulation. The most innovative and profitable (and loved by consumers) markets today just so happen to be the freest, like the technology market. Contrast that with the healthcare and banking markets. Two markets people love to HATE and they’re also the two most heavily regulated markets.
- I sell life insurance as a way to help people save money (and guarantee it against loss). That might not sound very controversial, but hop on your favorite search engine and go read some of the stuff being published about whole life insurance. You’d think I was kidnapping and selling teenaged girls on the black market or something.
- I mock the phony gurus (geew roos!) because they usually (not always, but usually) are promoting some kind of woo-woo B.S. masquerading as good advice. Some of it even sounds logical and objective (e.g. the idea of “retirement planning”).
- I have a love/hate relationship with the financial planning industry. Most of what you read online is contradictory or oversimplified. The really good stuff is hidden behind paywalls and is meant for an audience of financial advisors. When I point this out to other advisors, I’m whipped and mocked for not towing the line.
- I don’t really like index funds. I used to be ambivalent about them but recently I’ve reexamined my opinion. They are fundamentally value agnostic (at best) and anti-value at worst. They demand an investor permanently eliminate the very idea of judging an investment as “good” or “bad.” They are usually falsely advertised as “well diversified.” You always overpay for the underlying stocks and you can never get the full value of the investments in the fund. And so on. I know, it’s heresy. Here’s the thing: you (almost) can’t find anything negative out there about them (except for pieces written by index fund managers, which should be a HUGE red flag). And, if you speak up against them in a personal finance forum, prepare to reap the whirlwind.
- I don’t do budgets and I believe they make managing money MORE difficult, not less. This should disqualify me from being any kind of mainstream financial advisor.
And so on.
I think there was supposed to be a point to this email but at this point, it’s lost on me.
Anywho, if you weren’t completely disgusted by today’s email, here’s more info about my insurance-based financial planning services: