Who would you rather trust in a battlefield situation? A higher ranking officer who recently graduated in the top of his class and had a really clean uniform, or a tough old grizzled sergeant who had survived multiple battles? My money is on the sergeant.
How about when it comes to building a business? Would you trust a newly minted double Master’s degree in Business and Accounting with a PhD in Entrepreneurship or a seasoned veteran who had made a fortune starting and selling multiple successful companies? Easy answer.
Do not confuse credentials with accomplishments
Plenty of people have been educated beyond their intelligence. You’re probably thinking of one or two right now. We’ve all seen degreed baboons elevated to positions of authority or interviewed on television (as “experts”) because of nothing more than the letters that follow their name.
Recently one blogger lashed out at members of the personal finance blogging community claiming that without proper credentials, readers may be listening to someone who barely graduated high school. Needless to say, no one will be linking to his site (the backlash apparently caused him to back down and delete the post). What’s funny is HE doesn’t even have the credentials he blasts others for not having. Pot and kettle metaphor anyone?
The fact is, credentials and accomplishments are very different, and given the choice, I’d much rather listen to someone who had been there and successfully done that, than someone who read about it and passed a government test. With information literally at your fingertips, we can find out much the same information that credentialed “experts” have anyway. The Internet is the great equalizer to a certain degree. Besides, in my personal opinion, credentials are less important when compared to what someone has actually accomplished.
Would you rather listen to the endless droning of a certified, chartered, CPA, MBA, PhD, ABCDEFG or to someone who has been in your shoes and can recount to you their struggles with debt, with their free-spending spouse, with living by a budget, with losing a job, with trying to decide which insurance plan is best?
I know what I’d choose and the MBA loses out. Shoot, I have an MBA but it’s not nearly worth as much as life experiences and my personal accomplishments.
Accomplishments trump credentials
When you’re dealing with important financial matters, DO seek out someone with credentials, but make sure their accomplishments match what you’d like to achieve. Everyone has a track record and while it may be difficult and seem a bit odd to ask, always take a moment and find out what your advisor has accomplished.
Accomplishments trump credentials but when you find someone with both, you might ought to stick with them.