Am I an Expert?

It’s amazing how one little thing can cause a storm across the blogging world.  The first place I can across the issue was over at The Simple Dollar where Trent was asked how can a blogger be an expert.  Trent offered a nice avoidance answer that said basically I can only share my experience.  Then I’ve seen a few other discussions now on this.

To get to the bottom of this I looked up what is an expert.  I rather like this quote from Wikipedia:

An expert is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well distinguished domain.

I highlighted that last section to point out the reality of an expert.  As my one friend likes to say “an expert is anyone who knows more than you about something.”  We create our experts by either a group of peer or public approval and in the personal finance field it’s even more obvious than most.  After all there is no degree in personal finance that I’m aware of and no training facility or a body that grants a title of ‘certified personal financial expert.’ All of the personal finance guru’s are self taught and with 7 of 10 Canadians not having a financial plan, it’s fairly easy to become an expert.

So the fact I’ve read just about every personal finance book the Regina library system, wrote about it daily for over two years and have discussed it at length with numerous very smart people and interviewed authors and other bloggers on it.  Well I guess if either a) other PF writers approve or b) you the public approve: I am an expert.

If that is the case, does it mean I’m qualified to tell you want to do?  No, being an expert doesn’t given anyone that right.  They can provide their thoughts on something, but in the end you have to decide.  So perhaps the issue isn’t who is an expert, but rather who doesn’t think before they act?

I’ll let you all decide.  Leave a comment with your thoughts on: am I an expert?

6 thoughts on “Am I an Expert?”

  1. The advent of the internet has changed the landscape when it comes to expertize. People can learn together at a faster and faster rate. Distance is no longer a barrier.

    Financial bloggers can make a great contribution. Sometimes just leading people to “a better question” makes all the difference.

    Sometimes “an expert in training” is better than an expert with a closed mind about a subject. A group discussion on-line is an informal form of brain-storming.

    Sometimes “the thinking of others” helps one stubble upon the important new paths to learning.

    In his book “The Black Swan”, Taleb discusses the importance of accidental discoveries and the value of tinkering.


  2. CM,

    Excellent description of blogs in general. They do function best as informal discussions on a topic of interest and learning from each other.


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