Most people believe that there is more financial information available on television, in newspapers and magazines, and on websites than one person could possibly review in a lifetime. They may be right!
Our Google search for “Financial Advice” on August 11, 2007 yielded 112 million results. A search for “investing” yielded 104 million results. We then narrowed our search for sites that had all of the following tags: “investing,” “high income,” and “financial planning.” This narrowed the results down to 133,000. Obviously, we agree with the sentiment that there are an almost infinite number of places one can look for financial advice. However, who is this advice for? Consider this statement:
Most financial information available in newspapers or magazines, on television, or within websites is inappropriate and often detrimental to a Doctor’s planning. How can there be so many places to find financial information and so few reliable sources for Doctors? To answer this question, let’s start by looking at a list of television stations, newspapers, magazines, and websites. Which of these outlets would you consider to be for Doctors and which would you consider to be directed at Average Americans?
Television: Fox News, MSNBC
Newspapers: New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal
Websites: FoxNews, CNN, CNNMoney, USAToday,
WSJ (Wall St. Journal.), Forbes
Magazines: Smart Money, Money, Business Week, Fortune, Fortune Small Business
If you are like all of the colleagues and clients we asked informally, you would say that almost all of the aforementioned media would deliver information which would target wealthier Americans, such as Doctors.
The important point we are trying to illustrate with this data is that almost all of the high-end magazines and websites in the first list have an average audience household income of less than $100,000. Every single one mentioned on that list, except The Wall Street Journal (TWSJ), has an audience with an average household income of less than $150,000.
For the purpose of our next statement, we would like to exclude TWSJ. Though TWSJ focuses on business and financial markets, its primary goal is to report the news. It does not take a position of encouraging or promoting any particular products, strategies or financial philosophies. Given this caveat, our conclusion from the aforementioned data is:
Even the highest level media outlets in the United States are not targeting and delivering appropriate content to an audience with an average income above $150,000. Why is this information important to our discussion of financial planning for Doctors? Let us explain what we learned from the publishing of our last book, Wealth Protection: Build & Pre-serve Your Financial Fortress for John Wiley & Sons.
The Media Business: “Get The Eyeballs”
If you are in the media business, it doesn’t matter if you are publishing magazines or websites, or producing television or radio programs. The goal is always the same if there is advertising involved—provide content that will attract a large enough audience to generate ad revenue. You generate ad revenue by proving that you can deliver a significant audience and that you can accurately track the demographics of the audience. All of the sites, magazines and newspapers mentioned earlier are in business to make money. If they don’t generate content that maintains
an audience large enough to support the necessary ad revenue, the company will go out of business. They must “get the eyeballs.” Their business model is really that simple.
To attract a large audience, these outlets have to deliver content that appeals to a large audience. After writing our last book for John Wiley, we appeared on over 120 radio and television programs. Though the book Wealth Protection had interesting philosophical lessons and over 62 practical lessons on advanced financial, legal, and tax-saving techniques, almost every producer and interviewer wanted us to discuss topics in the book we thought were the most basic. What we were told by one host was that his goal was to keep as many people as possible interested in the interview. He didn’t care if the information was fresh and exciting. He wanted to make sure that “Joe Lunch-Bucket” (his words) wouldn’t be put off by the topic. He told us that talking about ways to save $100,000 in taxes or ways to efficiently buy rental properties would alienate most listeners—which, in turn, would cause the show to lose “eyeballs” (or “ears,” as is the case in radio). He was not going to allow that to happen.
Until John Wiley asked us to write a book about Affluent Americans (Wealth Secrets of the Affluent—publishing date April, 2008), we had received very little interest from the popular press in regard to the education we have regularly offered to high-income clients for the last twelve years.
Consider the following:
· Every information/publishing company is in business to make money.
· The money almost always comes from advertisers.
· Advertisers pay more if the audience is larger.
· A publisher must continuously offer appropriate content to the masses to maintain and grow an audience and attract advertisers.
· Even the high-end distribution channels don’t target consumers earning over $100,000.
If you consider these five statements you can clearly conclude that:
It is almost IMPOSSIBLE for Doctors to find useful and appropriate financial information from popular newspapers, magazines, websites, or television programs. This is why most of the information contained in this book may seem foreign to many readers. The tips, tools, and strategies offered here are not the kinds of things that most information outlets would ever deliver because, quite frankly, there is no business reason for doing so. Fewer than 10% of Americans would find much of the information in this book applicable or beneficial. If it is important to “fit in” and do what everyone else does—even if it is not the best course of action—this book is not for you.