When I see a video about finance (especially Bitcoin), they seem to always mention:

This is not financial advice.

And then they give financial advice.

Why do they have to say this? It really pisses me off. It's obviously financial advice, so why claim the opposite?

If this is some way to "protect themselves legally", that implies that you can be sued for not accurately predicting the future. That makes no sense. If that's the case, then any video about anything would have to give disclaimers to not repeat what they do in the video and whatnot.

It makes me very annoyed to hear and read this BS all the time, and it makes it impossible to take anything they say seriously. Nobody in their right mind holds them actually accountable after losing money following their financial advice. It's just advice. Not magical, 100% correct predictions about the future.

  • 10
    "it makes it impossible to take anything they say seriously". I would say that's a 100% appropriate reaction to that. Don't take them seriously.
    – glibdud
    Sep 2, 2021 at 11:48
  • 4
    Probably the same reason people making videos about law say "this is not legal advice". Legal advice has special laws about it.
    – user253751
    Sep 2, 2021 at 12:17
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    The "answer" is more of a self exploratory question then a statement about finances. Why are you seeking financial advice from those that make you angry, and that self identify as having no expertise?
    – Pete B.
    Sep 2, 2021 at 12:28
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    "Nobody in their right mind holds them actually accountable after losing money following their financial advice." - here are some people who held advisers accountable after losing money following their financial advice. It's up to you whether to regard those people as being 'in their right mind'.
    – AakashM
    Sep 2, 2021 at 12:30

3 Answers 3


Your personal opinions about what "nobody in their right mind" would or wouldn't do are not the law. There are, depending on where you live, a large number of laws and regulations that govern certain kinds of advice. Some advice is sufficiently specialized that people can rely on it for life and death matters; in those topic areas significant punishments apply to those who give it negligently. The specific topic areas, the licenses involved, and the punishments all depend on your jurisdiction, but the world over, they are very real.

Imagine you live in a place where mechanics who tell you "oh you must fix this right away" when in fact you don't need to could be sued, or mechanics who tell you "you can leave that for a few months" but then you are in an accident could also be sued. (Or fined, or lose their license, or be jailed.) In that world, mechanics would be very careful with their car advice. Your next door neighbour could still say "oh, we had that with our car and we waited 6 months to take of it, no problem" because you would know your neighbour was not a licensed mechanic and therefore wasn't giving what qualifies legally as Automotive Advice, just sharing an opinion.

Things get blurry when you're watching a youtube video, reading a blog, or reading a column in a magazine. Is this person giving you what legally qualifies as Topic Advice (whether that's medical, financial, legal or whatever) or just sharing their opinion? If they are giving Topic Advice they are risking their license, fines, being sued, even jail time if they do so deceptively, carelessly, thoughtlessly, and so on. (And if they don't have a license to risk, there are penalties for doing things that require a license without having that license.) If they are just sharing an opinion, they do not.

As a result, people with licenses to lose (and yes, there are licenses and such related to being a Financial Advisor) or who might appear to be such people will issue disclaimers that whatever they are saying is just their random opinion in general and not Topic Advice specific to your situation on which you can rely in a regulatory sense.

Sometimes, this disclaimer is meaningless. Someone tells you the symptoms of a stroke and what to do you if you experience them, you're not going to later say "I don't know, that video did say call 911 but then again they said it wasn't medical advice." But often, this disclaimer is quite useful. This person is telling me about Bitcoin or some stock I've never heard of or some stock exchange I've never heard of while making sure that if I act on their advice, it won't ever cost them any money. Hm. Keep that in mind.

  • "mechanics would be very careful with their car advice." Mostly their incentive would change to being overly precautious, because arguing a precaution was unnecessary is much more difficult than showing they took a reasonable level of care, when a disaster happens. There are probably similar incentives when it comes to official financial advice. Sep 29, 2021 at 18:12

In most locales the ability to give people financial advice is regulated for very clear reasons. In order to be able to give financial advice you have to have passed both technical and ethics exams such as those required for CFA membership in the US or CISI in the UK. By saying that they are not giving financial advice these people seek to indemnify themselves from large fines and possible prison time from illegally giving financial advice that should only be given by a registered and accredited financial adviser.

Just FYI I am a CISI member and partially accredited but am still not allowed to give regulated financial advice.


The reason they say it is because the provision of financial advise is regulated in many jurisdictions, and if they were giving financial advice then they would have to comply with the regulations - which may include things like declaring their own interests (which they certainly do not want to do), ensuring they have a full understanding of your entire financial position (which they can't do without an individual conversation with you), or recommending products from a variety of providers (which they also don't want to do).

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