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Our Advertising Do's and Do Not's

There are some advertisements that benefit the viewer... and then there are others

There are great, ethical, and intrinsically beneficial ways to advertise on your platforms. However, there are also ones that you won't find on our website for a couple of reasons. We want to take the time to explain our reasoning.


The Win-Win-Win of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate links are our favorite form of advertising. If we find a product that we genuinely recommend and believe brings value to our followers then we can all benefit from it. The reader gets a source of reliable and trustworthy recommendations, we as the author get a fraction of the proceeds for aiding in marketing, and the owner of the product gets an additional sale they would not have without the recommendation.

We have affiliate programs with Amazon and 99 Designs because we love their business and believe the readers should too. We also believe that the readers should be affiliates of these programs as well!

Fortunately, affiliate marketing is a self-correcting device. Meaning, with great affiliate power comes great affiliate responsibility. If you are an affiliate that produces excellent quality for your followers, you are likely to get better results as an affiliate. Inversely, do a poor job and it is likely that the affiliate sales will be dismal.

We also must juggle the ethics behind bringing people to a store and our followers purchasing items that they wouldn't have (beyond that of the recommended purchase), had it not been for the affiliate link. For example, what if we recommend a book and the follower clicks on the link, puts the book in their cart, but then sees an advertisement for something they don't need and one thing leads to the next ending up with a $200 shopping cart? At that point we would have done an injustice.

According to our analytics, it looks like when we drop affiliate links people aren't doing this. Through our analytics we also believe that on the rare instances that this does happen, the number of times is superseded by people with the opposite effect - buying more of what the recommended product. Our philosophy is to collect affiliate fees from our recommendations and things people are going to buy anyway and avoid profiting from increasing their costs or else it defeats the purpose. This is a crucial metric we must continually monitor.

Acorns Sign Up Bonus Acorn referral links may be coming in the future. We have recommended to people the app numerous times without a referral, just in passing. Acorns is a tremendous app for people who are just starting out and are learning investing and budgeting.

The downside of Acorns is that their portfolios under perform the S&P 500 index over the long-term and come with a set fee that is less favorable than Vanguard. For some, the diversification comes with a peace of mind that we can't argue against. We can argue math, but we can't argue risk tolerance.

Despite this, the portfolios are still high quality, especially over someone trying to pick stocks themselves. Because the fee is a fixed price the percentage over the portfolio decreases as the portfolio balance increases which is good. Moreover, the habit that Acorns instills is the most important aspect. Getting into a dollar cost average, save over time mentality is one of the hardest hurdles to overcome.

Acorns has a secret and profound ability to help people with their IRA's as well. They have a feature called "Found Money" which is an extra cash back reward system that links to a debit or credit card you have. Combine this with your IRA and you can see your contributions exceed the performance of the S&P 500*! *Note: This trick was taught to us by Mark J. Kohler's YouTube video here. When you do the IRA plan in Acorns, your monthly fee is increased. Also keep in mind that if you don't spend a lot of discretionary money on the Found Money stores then your rate of return will be less. This is why we don't use it but for the people who spend more discretionary income, we recommend it.

Credit Card Sign On Bonus

We go back and forth on whether or not we like credit card sign on bonus advertising. This is because most Americans cannot use credit cards correctly and it ends up hurting their finances. Our moral ground is to present all the warnings and pitfalls that come with using credit cards incorrectly and if the readers still believe that it will benefit them, then by all means use our links. After all, credit cards do have potential to benefit our followers a great deal.

Due to the nature of credit card use, our motive remains to be more passive on credit card sign on bonuses and referrals. We would rather take the stance: "If you are already considering a card with a sign on bonus, look to what we found for a source of information and watch out for some of these details."


Google Ad Sense

Using their analytics and search history, Google Ad Sense will determine a product that is most likely to get a sale and advertise it to the follower. It is very effective. However, using these advertisements is an immediate exposure to increasing a followers cost. That's not the outcome we want for our readers, we want them to save money!

Additionally, who has gone to a website before looking for advice and felt bombarded with advertisements? Most all of us and we hate it. If that's not what we want to see when we go on a website then we won't do it either. We're trying to create an organization where we would want to go to for information.

Webull and Robinhood FREE STOCKS

This one is a particular irk for us, like a MAJOR pain point, and comes with a prefix - our post on why the S&P 500 is amazing. Study after study, research after research, and time after time again, the S&P 500 has been proven to out perform stock picking investors. If we accept this fact then we then as responsible financial self-help writers we would tailor our aim towards the S&P 500 index. This means that advertising these platforms, which are tailored towards stock picking, are working against our cause. Why would we suggest downloading these apps so the readers can obtain poorer performances by stock picking? It makes no sense to us and are upset that people do it.

In their defense, despite not having the ability to purchase mutual funds, Webull and Robinhood both have S&P 500 ETF's, which in fairness currently have a cheaper expense ratio then the mutual fund. However, we still prefer mutual funds because you are allowed to invest any penny amount into them (Webull does not have fractional shares available currently). If, and ONLY IF, the investor chose to open these accounts and solely purchase the S&P 500 index, then we wouldn't have a problem with it, but the reality is that almost nobody is, that's not what the platforms are built on. It's a lot like having your favorite chocolate in the house when you're trying a nutrition plan - it's best to keep the chocolate out of the picture.

One thing that we wrote about in our book, "What You Need to Know About Opportunity Cost" is that even though yes, the odds are stock picking will do worse than passive indexing, sometimes it helps. Sometimes these apps help raise interest in investing that would not be present with passive indexing. With these apps however, we feel there is more harm then good done by advertising them. The opportunity cost is too large.

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As an Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I would never recommend something that I, myself, would not do and can genuinely say that there is great value in these recommendations. Although I try to make the information in these posts as accurate as possible, it does not constitute as financial or legal advice. Please do your own research. Everybody's situation is different.

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