I rediscovered an important lesson last year just before my speaking engagement at the annual fi360 Conference. After being greeted by scores of satisfied readers, I was surprised to learn very few of them intended to attend my presentation. As the conversation continued, I casually let it be known that, not only do I report on fiduciary matters, I actually work in the field. Indeed, I've had my own firm for 15 years and for 15 years before that I worked for another major firm. With that, my readers looked at me in shock, as if I'd crossed some line.

"You actually work in this business," said one such reader. I nodded reluctantly, not knowing what to expect. "Then," she continued, "you not only know how to write, but you really know what you're writing about! Maybe I will attend your presentation after all."

There, in a nutshell, lies the common problem. People like good writing, but they don't trust the media. Prior to admitting I owned my own investment advisor, ran my own proprietary mutual funds, and have been offering 401(k) fiduciary consulting services for more than a decade, people just assumed I was a member of the media. That was fine with me. I was trying my best to be viewed that way. I didn't want people to think I was just another industry hack trying to promote his own wares.

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Christopher Carosa

Chris Carosa has been writing a weekly article and monthly column for BenefitsPRO online and BenefitsPRO Magazine since 2011 and is a nationally recognized award-winning writer, researcher and speaker. He’s written seven books, including From Cradle to Retire: The Child IRA; Hey! What’s My Number? – How to Increase the Odds You Will Retire in Comfort; A Pizza The Action: Everything I Ever Learned About Business I Learned By Working in a Pizza Stand at the Erie County Fair; and the widely acclaimed 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions. Carosa is also Chief Contributing Editor of the authoritative trade journal FiduciaryNews.com and publisher of the Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, a weekly community newspaper he founded in 1989. Currently serving as President of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and with more than 1,000 articles published in various publications, he appears regularly in the national media. A “parallel” entrepreneur, he actively runs a handful of businesses, including a small boutique investment adviser, providing hands-on experience for his writing. A trained astrophysicist, he also holds an MBA and has been designated a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. Share your thoughts and story ideas with him through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/christophercarosa/)and Twitter (https://twitter.com/ChrisCarosa).