2 PARTS ADVICE TO 1 PART SELF-PROMO
CELEBRITY SITES OFFER TOOLS, TRIFLES
By Dolores Kong
The Boston Globe
You've read their advice in best-selling books or
heard it on television or radio. Now, you can log on
to financial advisers' Web pages to find their latest
words of wisdom, plus information about their upcoming
public appearances, favorite Internet links, even
their theme songs and movie ratings.
Using their names plus a .com for their Web addresses,
everyone from author Suze Orman to "Wall Street Week"
host Louis Rukeyser to economist Ed Yardeni now has a
To be sure, self-promotion is inherent in having an
Internet site named after yourself. And some of the
pages are a little thin on content, while others may
be too technical for the average investor. In an age
of celebrity, though, these sites may be giving the
public exactly what it wants.
And with everyone talking about the Internet and the
stock market and investing, the sites may also be
giving the public what it needs.
"Any personal finance site that can teach an investor
any important lesson about planning for [the] future
is of great value," said Dan Burke, a senior analyst
who rates online brokerages for Gomez Advisors, of
The company, which on its own site, www.Gomez.com,
bills itself as the "e-commerce authority," has not
assessed financial advisers' individual sites. But
Gomez has rated sites for banking, brokerage services,
home buying, insurance, and mortgages.
With any financial advice or information from the Web,
though, consumers and investors need to remember that
they must do their own research and weigh the merits
of what's being said - and why it's being said.
The financial advisers' sites usually fill you in on
their latest books and newsletters and let you know
about TV appearances, radio broadcasts, or speaking
Most also allow you to e-mail a personal finance or
investment question, and they may feature some quirky
personal information about the advisers.
Beyond that, there are some useful features on the
various sites, such as online calculators, economic
data, and links to information about everything from
charitable giving to college savings to the latest
market news. Plus you get insight into the person's
thinking about IRAs, taxes, and other issues.
But you won't necessarily find all the sophisticated
tools and information that are offered on a
comprehensive site, such as www.Quicken.com or
Here's a roundup of some of the financial advisers'
- www.andrewtobias.com - One of the best parts is a
sophisticated mutual fund calculator that lets you
estimate the bite that taxes and expenses take out of
a mutual fund investment in a taxable account, based
on the fund's real-world costs.
Tobias, author of "The Only Investment Guide You'll
Ever Need" and other books, writes an almost-daily
online column. Recent topics include the difficulty of
short-selling (in the context of a stock he
recommended and still owns) and saving for children's
- www.suzeorman.com - With a different photo of Orman
on almost every page, plus information about her
books, tapes, and upcoming speaking engagements, this
site appears primarily geared to those who are already
fans of her bestsellers, "The Courage to Be Rich" and
"The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom." But Orman, a
certified financial planner, does provide useful links
to other sites that offer information about charitable
giving, mutual funds, credit counseling services, life
insurance, and retirement planning.
- www.jonathanpond.com - The least technically
advanced and slick of the sites reviewed, this one, by
the nationally known Boston- based financial planner
and public television and radio commentator, promises
"to give you the best and most up-to-date financial
guidance." Primarily, the site provides information
about his books, videos, newsletter, and public TV
appearances. But Pond also answers e-mail questions on
such topics as the danger of jointly holding property
and 401(k) vs. Roth IRA. And there are useful links to
college and estate-planning sites.
- www.bobbrinker.com - Not necessarily for the
beginner, this site, by "Moneytalk" radio show host
Bob Brinker, provides links to company conference
calls and stock market news, excerpts from Brinker's
Marketimer newsletter, and a listing of all the radio
stations that carry his show. Brinker also offers an
online discussion group, a list of the states that
don't tax income, interest, or dividends, and hundreds
of links to information about online banking, bonds,
mutual funds, and stock exchanges. The most useful
part of the site is its investor education center,
covering everything from general economics to stocks.
- www.yardeni.com - Also not for the beginner, this
site, from Ed Yardeni, chief global economist and
investment strategist for Deutsche Bank Securities in
New York, has sophisticated economic data, online
charts, and demographic information, and links to the
Federal Reserve and other agencies. Yardeni, famous
for having warned of a Y2K crisis that did not come to
pass, also has some fun things on his site, such as
the complete text of "Hamlet" and his own movie
- www.rukeyser.com - This site by the longtime public
TV personality offers little more than a chance to
subscribe to his newsletters, sign up for his Las
Vegas investment conference, or buy his special
reports. But there are some free online samples of
commentaries for fans who can't get enough of
Rukeyser's folksy monologues.