Everyone wants to be rich, if for no other reason than being rich means having enough money to do what you want to do, and when you want to do it. If it were that easy, life would be simple. Unfortunately having money and managing it well can be difficult. Most of us first learn about money from our parents: often the way they manage it can dictate the habits we learn when managing money of our own.
Inevitably, asking others about money and seeking advice on financial affairs is a natural next step. Sometimes friends and other family members can be a great source of tips and tricks to manage money, but it seems today that most of us look for independent advice, either from a local financial service or, increasingly, from famous personal finance experts on television, on the radio, or online.
Quite often, the reason some of these experts resonate so well with ordinary consumers is because they really do know their business and offer sound advice, and have often released books, resources, and tools that can be used to augment the information being offered. It also helps consumers if they can identify with the expert, many of whom relate stories of hard times, financial downfall and, generally, a messy life that they picked themselves up from and turned around in a hugely successful way.
Recently there has been some criticism of financial advisers because their advice simply can't be true for everyone - financial circumstances are different for every individual. The argument is that too much pressure is put on people to have perfect financial affairs when, perhaps, their lives have been affected by crises such as ill health, job loss, divorce, or just having low-income jobs. Also, some experts are seen to be growing richer by providing products and services that might be questionable, or for which financial companies have rewarded them handsomely.
While there is likely truth in this thinking about some in the finance industry, it would be unfair to tarnish all financial advisers with the same brush. Many people understand little about money management and welcome the education such experts provide. There are also many personal finance experts who do care, and who genuinely want to help their clients plan a better financial future for themselves and their families.
If you're looking to find out more about personal finance, here's a list of some of the more well-known personal finance experts who can offer a starting point for education and information.
10 Preet Banerjee
Currently host of 'The Million Dollar Neighbourhood' on The Oprah Winfrey Network, Canadian financial expert Preet Banerjee originally trained as a neuroscientist before settling on a career in the financial services industry. Banerjee is a regular contributor to television, including CBC's 'The National'.
In addition, Banerjee writes a column for the Globe and Mail newspaper and is the author of several personal finance books. In 2010, his 'WhereDoesAllMyMoneyGo.com' blog was voted Canada's #1 investing blog by the readers of The Globe and Mail. His popular podcast series is on iTunes and Banerjee can be found on Twitter @preetbanerjee.
9 Peter Dunn
Climbing up the popularity charts as a personal finance expert is former comedian Peter Dunn, who can be found at the petetheplanner.com website or on Twitter @PeteThePlanner. Dunn’s affinity for finance apparently started in his sixth grade math class, where a project on the stock market got him hooked.
After graduation he became a financial adviser, and within a couple of years he had started his own business. In 2006, he released his first book, ‘What Your Dad Never Taught You About Budgeting,’ and he is also the host of the Pete the Planner radio show, as well as the resident financial expert on Fox 59 News. Dunn has also regularly contributed to shows such as ‘Fox Business’ and ‘CNN Headline News’.
8 Gail Vaz-Oxlade
Jamaican-born Gail Vaz-Oxlade now teaches Canadians personal finance, focusing on families and young women. An early job in marketing led to her writing financial documentation for a banking client and spurred her interest in the finance industry. Since then she has hosted the popular 'Til Debt Do Us Part' and 'Princess' television series, written a number of personal finance books and has contributed hundreds of articles to numerous magazines and newspapers as well as online.
She is a regular columnist for Yahoo Finance, and her most recent venture is offering divorce support services including financial management. @GailVazOxlade is her Twitter account.
7 Farnoosh Torabi
A more recent face in the personal finance industry is Iranian-born Farnoosh Torabi who, at the age of 22, was $30,000 in debt and had little income to improve things. With degrees in finance and international business as well as journalism, Torabi started her career as a financial reporter at Money Magazine.
Facing her own debt issues, she wrote a book for young adults about financial independence, which was well-received. Torabi has since appeared on numerous television shows and presented a web series, ‘Financially Fit’ on Yahoo Finance. Her latest book tackles the complex money issue of women who are the financial breadwinners in their homes. Follow her on Twitter @FARNOOSH.
6 David Bach
Financial expert David Bach is probably best known for ‘The Latte Factor’ and his collection of ‘Finish Rich’ and ‘Automatic Millionaire’ books, which have sold over seven million print editions worldwide. A former Senior Vice President of Morgan Stanley, Bach started his TV career in the mid-‘90s in California. His on-air appearances steadily increased and he has regularly contributed advice to shows such as ‘CNN Morning’, ‘Fox Business’, ABC’s ‘Good Money’ and ‘The Today Show’.
‘The Latte Factor’ was coined by Bach to describe how spending small amounts regularly, on items like morning coffees, soon adds up to a huge chunk of monthly spending which could be saved and invested instead. His Twitter account is @AuthorDavidBach.
5 Jean Chatzky
An American financial journalist, Jean Chatzky was raised in a family where money was tight, so after college she took a job that paid a good salary, but which she loathed. Eventually she moved into business journalism and got a job on Wall Street as a fact-checker.
From there her career developed in television but, as with other industry experts, her own financial house wasn’t in order. Debt was piling up and she knew this needed to change. She educated herself and, today, as financial editor for NBC’s ‘Today Show’, she now educates others with simple, easy-to-understand advice. @JeanChatzky is her account on Twitter.
4 Robert Kiyosaki
A fourth generation Japanese-American, Robert Kiyosaki was raised in Hawaii and served in the US Marine Corps during the Vietnam war. As a civilian, Kiyosaki started two businesses which ultimately ended in bankruptcy. Despite this setback, Kiyosaki has since gone on to make a fortune through investing, and started his financial education company to advise others.
A story about his father’s life and that of a friend’s father led to his best-selling book ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’: Kiyosaki’s own Dad had a good job but was never rich, while his friend’s Dad had a low wage but became rich through investing in income-producing assets. Kiyosaki’s financial philosophy is therefore largely focused on investing. Find him on Twitter @theRealKiyosaki.
3 Jim Cramer
CNBC’s ‘Mad Money’ host Jim Cramer is a former Harvard College graduate who began his journalism career in Florida. Later, he moved to Los Angeles, where his apartment was burgled enough times for him to lose everything, and he eventually became homeless.
While obtaining his law degree at Harvard Law School, Cramer began investing and discovered he had the ‘Midas Touch’. His financial acumen led to him becoming a hedge fund manager whose record returns are still considered some of the highest ever. Apart from his television work, Cramer also offers financial advice via his own online venture TheStreet.com, and on Twitter goes by @jimcramer.
2 Dave Ramsey
Famous for his ‘Debt Snowball Plan’, US financial expert Dave Ramsey found himself with massive debt before starting his financial career. The real estate empire he’d built was based on loans and lines of credit, so when the banks called the loans in, Ramsey was bankrupt. Turning to the Bible, Ramsay saw a way to preach his financial message to others, self-published a book and hosted a local radio show.
Since then, his radio show has become nationally syndicated, he has written a number of best-selling books, and his company offers financial courses through churches that have a Bible-centred approach to financial advice and planning. @DaveRamsey is his Twitter account.
1 Suze Orman
Known for her no nonsense, opinionated style, Suze Orman is probably America’s most well-known personal financial expert. Orman grew up poor on the South side of Chicago and was still only earning $400 a month at age 30. A failed investment at a respected brokerage firm saw her decide to join that company as a broker herself in order to pay back money lent to her for a business venture.
In just a few years, she was successful, but increasingly overspending and stuck with huge credit card debt. She took stock, owned up to her lack of financial savvy and started her career as a financial expert, despite lacking a professional finance qualification. Now an Emmy Award-winning TV show host, author of several books and a motivational speaker, Orman can be found on Twitter @SuzeOrmanShow.