Financial Salespeople Pretend to Give Advice, We Pretend to Listen

All of our lives are filled with hidden motives; the false promises of Communism exemplify this.

“They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work.”

This saying summed up a system that brought poverty, starvation, and genocide to millions. Power and greed were the hidden motivations of its evil leaders; not a “worker’s paradise.”

America offers its own hidden motivations.  Our systems of higher education, healthcare, and financial advice all fall under the category of illusion.  Do we really know what we want?

Many colleges have become “diploma mills.”  Students are majoring in grade inflation. They learn many facts they will never use.

Prospective employers are keenly aware of this, but they hire the graduates anyway; knowing full well they will have to start their employees’ education from scratch.

College has become a quest for an often meaningless piece of paper to mount on a wall. Students are not taught how to love to learn. Instead, they learn to love how to impress people.

Don’t believe me?  Take a look at these sobering stats from the 2011 book, Academically Adrift.

The typical college student’s week consists of:

  • 13 hours of studying;
  • 12 hours of “socializing with friends;”
  • 11 hours of “using computers for fun;”
  • 8 hours of working for pay;
  • 6 hours of T.V. watching;
  • 6 hours of exercising;
  • 5 hours pursuing “hobbies;” and
  • 3 hours on “other forms of entertainment.”

Despite all of these distractions, the average college students G.P.A. is 3.20!

Healthcare is another field where our true motives are hidden behind a wall of prescriptions, procedures, and doctor visits.  Do we really want good health or someone to just care about us?

The positive effects of a good diet, daily exercise, and proper sleep will do more for the majority than any prescribed pill.  So, why do we choose to ignore this “boring” solution to many of our maladies?  A hidden motivation for something more than good health may provide the answer.

Finally, America’s system of providing financial advice provides a mecca for hidden motivations.

Most say they desire a simple and sound financial plan with a moderate degree of risk; the end-game being a comfortable retirement without running out of money.

The financial reality is way different.

Many investors:

  • Chase performance (“The Hot Stocks for 2018!”);
  • Purchase products they don’t understand;
  • Spend more than they earn by running up credit card debt;
  • Choose a financial advisor based on the car he drives, the artwork in the office lobby, or money the advisor spends on dinners/tickets or entertainment;
  • Follow the herd; and
  • Clip coupons, but have no idea of the investment fees they pay.

Many investors’ hidden motives conflict directly with their stated goals.

Why is this so?

Maybe the motives of many investors are really about fitting in with the group, being the center of attention, or a lust for excitement?

You can’t say what you want if you don’t know what you want.  Uncovering your hidden motivations will make you rich in many ways, not just monetarily. Self-deception regarding health, education, and money is a disease that can be cured if you are true to yourself.

Sadly, many of us continue to desire all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons.


Sources, The Atlantic, What’s College Good For? by Bryan Caplan;  Podcast,  Robin Hanson author of The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives In Everyday Life