The Inside Edge Business Gazette

Darlene Garat, Garat Financial Group. She can be reached at 250.287.2310, or visit www.garatfinancial.com for more information.

Darlene Garat, Garat Financial Group

I spend way too much time online. I have Googled everything from removing a toilet (and then spent time searching for a plumber to install the new one) to diagnosing medical conditions. Some of the time, Google can be your best friend, when the answers you get are based on solid facts.

But misinformation can just be a click or two away. And it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish fact from fiction. This is especially true when it comes to financial advice – here’s why:

Problem #1: Disguised ads
Depending on your search engine, you might find yourself staring at a page full of ads after you click “search”. While some are obvious, they say “ad” as per regulations, some aren’t as straightforward. Because they go through a third party, like Yellow Pages, the listing doesn’t actually say “ad”. Linked information can be carefully slanted to endorse products, slipping in “alternate facts” to back up their claims.

Problem #2: Advice that works – but not if you’re Canadian
Too often, it’s impossible to tell if the advice you’re reading is meant for you, a BC resident. Even if you are staring at a page for the company on your statements, it’s hard to tell if you are looking at the US or Canadian version of that page. Financial advice can vary by province, as well.

Problem #3: Information can be biased
It can often be difficult to tell when the facts stop and the propaganda begins. Many financial columns are written by journalists who have no education or experience in the financial industry. These popular “opinion based” articles focus on worst case scenarios to build readership.

So, what’s a person to do? If you want to do fund research, use sites that allow you to view market performance based on actual data, like Globefund or Morningstar. Investments and insurance are complicated products – no wonder 88% of consumers prefer to use a Professional Financial Advisor to do the legwork for them, researching and recommending financial products depending on the individual’s needs and risk level. Working with an independent Financial Advisor helps to ensure you get information based on your situation, not the proprietary products they are told to sell.

Darlene Garat and the team at Garat Financial Group Ltd work with their clients to create real security. Contact them at 250.287.2310, or visit www.garatfinancial.com for more information.

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