Useless Articles Abound On The Internet

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Recently, I received an offer to receive a white paper entitled, “Five Steps For Setting Business Goals: Tips on Defining and Achieving Your Business Objectives” from

The content from was aimed at advisors and sponsored by Kestra Financial. It required advisors to enter their contact information and defaulted to checking “I would like to be contacted by Kestra.” And after completing this information the entire “white paper” consisted of two pages of these five steps:

  1. Make the time.
  2. Be specific.
  3. Set achievable goals.
  4. Have measurable targets.
  5. Be timely.

Such banal content added nothing of value and consisted of just 4 of the 5 “SMART” criteria. It is embarrassing both for who boasts “exclusive content” and also for Kestra Financial whose motto is “Expect More With Us.”

As an advisor, I have noticed that content from increasingly lacks any attempts at real wisdom and seems to have been written by ghost writers who know little about financial planning. They do seem to have specialists who write headlines which are optimized both for search engines and also to attract the most clicks. While the article titles are well written the articles are not. Here is the outline of an article by Kevin McKinley entitled “Five Car-Buying Mistakes Clients Make .”

  1. Paying Cash for Cars
  2. Buying Used Instead of New
  3. Buying Instead of Leasing
  4. Paying with a Home Equity Line of Credit
  5. Paying More for Fuel Efficiency

This article is more than unhelpful. Most of this advice is simply wrong. Having a site that provides unwise advice is worse than simply offering the obvious. Without adequate standards for reviewing what they are willing to publish, they lose the trust of their readers. An article from is not worth taking the time to read. If they are wrong on advice I know, how can I trust them when I “learn” anything I don’t know.

Sites with advertising are not trying to impress you with their wisdom. They are trying to impress advertisers with the fact that they can get you to click on their headlines. They also break a single article into three pages of text or a dozen slides in order to increase the number of pages loading advertising.

At Marotta On Money, we sell no advertising. We do not benefit from the number of pages you visit. We care about the quality of the advice we offer. The depth of our articles serve as an advertisement to the depth of our knowledge about financial planning. Some readers are going to be implementing our advice and need to know the intricacies. Others may be trying to determine if we are the right advisors to partner with for them to reach their own goals.

Useless articles abound on the internet. It will help you in life if you can learn to distinguish between content with ulterior motives and real financial planning wisdom.

Follow David John Marotta:

President, CFP®, AIF®, AAMS®

David John Marotta is the Founder and President of Marotta Wealth Management. He played for the State Department chess team at age 11, graduated from Stanford, taught Computer and Information Science, and still loves math and strategy games. In addition to his financial writing, David is a co-author of The Haunting of Bob Cratchit.