Beware the cheerleaders (The Financial Athlete #29)

If you stare at the cheerleaders, you might miss the game winning touchdown. That’s about the extent of harm they can cause for most of us.

Wall Street’s cheerleaders aren’t cute and sexy, but they sure know how to seduce — not for sex, but for money. These cheerleaders include CEOs, analysts, stock brokers, and your friend who joyfully shares a stock tip. Some are financial predators who lure naive investors with spin, perhaps in a pump and dump scheme.

The Real estate industry doesn’t lack cheerleaders, either. These cheerleaders call themselves Real Estate Agents. The typical advice from a bright and bubbly agent will always be “Now’s a good time to buy,” even when the midst of a price bubble.

Whatever a salesperson is selling, her advise is usually: “Buy! Buy! Buy!” She may persuade you through your emotions and create a sense of urgency to buy. This doesn’t make her a bad person. Remember, she has to make a living. Without sales, she can’t pay her bills.

Getting back to those football cheerleaders, I love them. I appreciate them especially during a boring game. And despite what I had opined about the other kind of cheerleaders — salespeople, I respect the profession of sales. The backbone of the economy is sales. Without sales, nothing happens economically. If your lucky, you’ve developed a positive, long-term relationships with a competent and trustworthy sales consultant who actually looks after your interest first. Just be careful about whose advise you’re taking and always do your own due diligence. And if you’re being rushed to buy, pass up on the opportunity regardless of how rewarding it may be.

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