Xentum | Beware the “Free Advice” trap

Beware the “Free Advice” trap

June 9, 2020 - 3 minutes read

Posted by Claire Parker

I was reminded of something recently:


Free advice rarely works.

Let me give you the context and an example.

I play golf every now and then and following the birth of our second child, I decided that I needed to get better if I was going to spend time on it.  I am not the type that likes to go backwards and my handicap had started going up.

My form for want of a better word was rubbish.

So what did I do?

I watched Youtube Videos.  

Some of these Youtube videos have millions of hits, but guess what;

My golf didn’t get any better.  In fact I was all over the place due to information overload. I was overthinking everything.


“Youtube videos don’t give a damn about you, they just want the hits.”


Fed up, I abandoned the free version of coaching and decided to book some golf lessons.  

This is exactly what happened:

Tim,our club pro is a great guy and a great teacher so I decided that I would take a few lessons and commit to improving. 

He spent 15 minutes observing my golf.  My swing, my stance, my grip and he asked me really good questions.

And then the magic happened.

The next 5 minutes he told me exactly what I was doing wrong and gave me a simple drill to work on.  Just like a great doctor, he diagnosed and gave a prescription to get better. 

Suddenly the game felt possible again!


There is absolutely no way this could have happened without the one to one interaction.  This was an expert doing their thing, the culmination of thousands of hours learning their craft.  

I have since been doing regular lessons to keep on top of my game and also work on the basics.  

Tim always tries to keep it simple which is a sign of a great coach.


The harsh truth is:

Money Bloggers don’t know what keeps you specifically up at night

Social Media Guru’s don’t know your story


Youtube videos don’t care about you personally, they just want the hits! 


All these online experts get paid by numbers; quantity over quality.   

We also live in a world of information and what you really need is someone to understand and simplify.  80-90% of the information out there is not relevant to you, therefore how do you pick what is?  


The DIYers

At Xentum, we sometimes also meet people that try to implement our advice themselves and we wish them the best but understand that those that know their value and their expertise are the people that really win.

Smart people hire good teams. 

Is your time better spent building your personal net worth through growing your business or managing your own finances?  I know my answer.


I am a big believer in good professional advice (obviously)

You either spend the time becoming an expert (see Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours) or you hire an expert.  My belief is that this is true in all walks of life. 

This year alone, I have sought professional help in legal and accountancy and received excellent and valuable advice.  

Another disclaimer – It is really hard managing your own money without emotional bias.  People are often surprised that I employ my own financial planner to sense check and challenge me as I know how difficult it is to prioritise that side enough whilst running a business and having a young family.


Don’t fall for free.

In the world of information it is easy, as I did with golf to fall into the trap of price over value and the “I can solve it myself attitude” rather than seek the advice of an expert.  

We understand that managing your finances and managing your business is really difficult we built a service around removing the guesswork and anxiety from your financial future. 

This is why we built WealthPlan™  – a financial planning service for business owners to help them map out their financial future, build a financial plan and track progress.

By the way my golf handicap is on the way down since I started taking regular lessons!