How Do You Identify and Deal With Fake Financial Gurus?

Updated: February 29, 2024

When I started writing about personal finance back in 2007, there was only a handful of us Filipino bloggers who were in the financial niche.

Fast forward to more than a decade later, especially due to the growth of social media, there’s now a multitude of financial gurus who dispense money and investment advice online.

They call themselves financial advisers, smart investors, wealth gurus, money doctors, and many other names using different iterations of these terms.

Recently, someone sent me a message with an interesting query. He says…

There are so many people claiming to be financial gurus nowadays. How do I know which ones are real and which ones are fake? Who can I trust? Who do I believe? Whose advice should I take?

So here’s the thing…

It’s great that there are so many people claiming to be financial experts today. Why? Because it makes it easier to learn about personal finance, business, and investing.

So my tip is to listen to them. In other words, check out what they all have to say.

Attend their seminars, read their books, follow them on social media, watch their videos… listen, and learn as much as you can from these financial gurus.

Most of them give out free advice. But it’s also good to spend and invest in knowledge by attending their paid seminars and buying their books, as well.

Then, while you’re at it, do this…

Write down all your learnings. Having a notebook helps. It actually helps a lot because writing reinforces learning.

And as you’re doing all these, you’ll notice that there are financial tips that are common among a lot, if not all, of these wealth experts.


One example of a premium lesson is the importance of having an emergency fund.

Money gurus will say that you should have an emergency fund. The specific details of how much an emergency fund should be will differ from one adviser to another.

Some say it’s 6 months, others say it’s 8 months, and some say 12 months. Realize that it doesn’t matter at this point. Again, the premium lesson to learn is that you should have an emergency fund.

If you’re new to financial planning and money management, these premium lessons are your key to jumpstarting your journey toward financial freedom. Just follow these premium lessons — and you should do well financially by the time you learn and apply them.

After education comes execution.

Again… learn the premium lessons and then APPLY THEM.

Remember this important part. I’ve met so many people investing time, energy, and money in learning but never getting around to applying the lessons.

And that’s sad.

Application is crucial because this is how you’ll learn to personalize your financial plan.

This is how you’ll discover that perhaps you only need 4 months’ worth of emergency funds and not 6, 8, or whatever number that was thrown up in the air by whoever financial guru was out there.

Personal finance is personal. There’s no one formula (or financial advice) that applies to everyone. We all live different lives with different financial goals and priorities.

So, learn the premium lessons and apply them so you can find the specific numbers and financial strategies that work best for you.

Isn’t credibility important?

Yes, it is!

If you have the time and resources to do a background check on someone claiming to be a financial expert, then I encourage you to do so.

But don’t ever make the mistake of believing and following just one person. Learn from many, and take the common lessons because those will form the foundation on which you’ll build your wealth.

And if the time comes that you need a mentor or a financial coach, then that’s when you should be more serious about finding out a specific individual’s credibility and track record.

Many don’t reach this point. But it’s also not necessary to get this far. I’ve seen a lot of people become rich and experience financial freedom by just applying the premium lessons.

So, what are the key takeaways?

First, stop worrying about who is real or fake. Focus on learning the premium lessons and applying them.

Remember that all financial advice should be taken with a grain of salt, regardless of the source. Because these financial experts don’t really know you, their tips might not necessarily be the best strategy for you.

Each of us is in our own unique financial situation. That’s why you need to learn how to think for yourself, especially with your finances.

And the reality is… if you’re looking for the best financial advisor, then all you have to do is look into the mirror.

What to do next: Click here to start your financial journey with IMG Wealth Academy


  1. I’ve learned so much from you Fritz. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. Especially those spread sheets that you shared at no cost at all. I love your blogs. It’s straight to the point. It’s like you answered all of my financial questions in life. You’re the best financial guru! You’re awesome! God bless you.

  2. Fair points. Brilliant actually. I see a lot of friends selling insurance on Facebook and posting a lot of quotes about investing for the future etc. I would think to myself that they aren’t qualified and just want to meet their quota. But just like an emergency fund I guess, getting insurance is the premium lesson. How much coverage, what type (term or life), what riders, etc. is up to the individual. I will change my mindset about trying to figure out who’s “legit” or not. Thanks for this sir.

  3. I like how you ended it with the best financial adviser is ourselves. It’s true that there are a lot of gurus out there but what matters most is how you can apply any of the lessons you learned for yourself. Hope it’s okay with you if I use your article as reference for my future write-ups? In any case, lovely work! Thanks for this eye-opening piece.

  4. I agree with everything you said Fritz. For me, I’m captivated by the writer’s story and their sincerity. Even if the blogger is not an expert or has not yet achieved “guru” status, I’m interested to read about their experiences and learnings, and I for one think we’re lucky that the number of Pinoy finance bloggers is growing.

    Keep being awesome!

  5. “If it is too good to be true, then it probably is.” Honestly, when time permits, I read some of the offers to get rich quickly that flood my mailbox and I do this for entertainment only. Since I am a part time option trader, I certainly receive more than my fair share of these promotions from hucksters selling you the next great discovery in how to trade option contracts for the big bucks. Now, it is true that I earn good money doing what I do at night from our cozy little home in the Philippines. I have been at this a good number of years. What you have to do is ask yourself, does this great offer in your E-mail box pass the smell test? Can you really trade $100,00 USD worth of options to $1 million USD in a string of ten or less trades? Well, you can with hindsight. Back tested results mean little here and now. Why else would the SEC insist there is a warning about backtested and hypothetical results in the disclaimer that comes with these online promotions? In the real world where I and other traders work, you learn the craft and do what works over and over. Place a trade, after expiration Friday, rinse & repeat. NO MAGIC formula. This is a business that I can operate from anywhere in the world we can get an internet connection. For the effort expended, I can honestly say I love this business. What I feel bad for is the folks who are “taken in ” by the shysters hocking their magic software and super high priced mentoring programs. With some study time, just about any motivated person can do what I do. It does help to join some of the FREE online groups where members trade the products you prefer and can help you while exchanging ideas with one another.

  6. Re-reading this post two years later got me to remembering the long list of “gurus” back in the US. A lot of guilt is with TV broadcasters and the financial shows. They need to fill air time and there is a list of popular authors, well known traders, retired floor traders, on & on that the financial shows draw from to do spots. Getting paid for the appearance is secondary. What matters is the public sees the face of the guru and will purchase their books, courses and attend their expensive “get rich” seminars. Why, because that appearance on TV reinforces to viewers that they are watching an expert. HEY, I saw him/her on TV, they must be for real, why else would they be invited to appear. I am amazed at haw long some of these scammers have lasted. When you do find the real deal, hang on to that person, they will be of help to you over the long haul.

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