A Trip Down ChatGPT Lane

ChatGPT and what to make of it… As I mentioned briefly at the end of my post last week, this technology is rapidly gaining popularity and pronouncements about its potential impact range from the mundane (helping kids to cheat in school) to the profound (like fundamentally altering our relationship with the Internet, even with each other).

But when people I respect suggest that ChatGPT is to consumer tech what the Beatles were to music, I want to at least establish a general understanding of what they’re talking about. And this isn’t just some fringe techie stuff, by the way. Recent announcements from Google and Microsoft, among others, about building similar tech into their search engines solidify the trend.

So this week, if you’ll indulge me, I wanted to see for myself what ChatGPT could offer in my realm. I created a free “research” account on the Open AI website and within minutes was watching the software generate content after entering this prompt:

“Write a 900 word blog post on personal finance using a conversational style”.

My first try left out the part about style and the writing seemed a bit boring, which is perhaps harsh since it’s being written by a computer. ChatGPT works best when we narrow down what we’re asking for. So I was curious if the software was capable of incorporating different writing styles. The output is below, unchanged by me. I then took this a little further and have included some of that interaction and other notes below.

I thought about cutting off part of ChatGPT’s response for brevity, but I think it’s more interesting in full, to get some sense of the software’s capabilities. And it’s not bad information either. I’m italicizing ChatGPT’s work to clearly differentiate it from my own. In short, I’m very impressed and a little unsettled, although it’s hard to explain why.

Personal finance is a critical aspect of our lives that many people struggle with. Whether you’re just starting out, trying to save for a big purchase, or simply looking for ways to be more financially savvy, there is a lot to consider when it comes to managing your money.

In this blog post, we’re going to talk about the basics of personal finance and share some tips and tricks for getting your finances in order. So, grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive in!

First, let’s start with the basics. What exactly is personal finance and why is it so important? Personal finance is the process of managing your money, including how you earn, spend, and save it. It’s a critical aspect of our lives because it directly impacts our ability to achieve our financial goals and live a comfortable life. Whether you’re trying to save for a home, a car, a vacation, or simply trying to build an emergency fund, your personal finance habits will play a big role in determining your success.

So, how do you get started with personal finance? The first step is to take a close look at your current financial situation. This means creating a budget, tracking your expenses, and understanding where your money is going each month. You can use tools like personal finance software, apps, or even a simple spreadsheet to keep track of your spending and see where you can make cuts or adjust your spending habits.

Next, it’s important to set financial goals. This could be anything from paying off debt, building an emergency fund, saving for a down payment on a home, or simply trying to save more money each month. Having clear goals in mind will give you a roadmap for your financial journey and help you stay focused and motivated.

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to personal finance is managing debt. If you have credit card debt, student loans, or other types of debt, it can feel overwhelming and like there’s no way out. But, with a little bit of planning and discipline, you can get your debt under control and start working towards a debt-free future.

One strategy for managing debt is to create a debt repayment plan. This means figuring out how much you owe, how much you can afford to pay each month, and what steps you can take to pay off your debt as quickly as possible. You can use the snowball method, where you focus on paying off the debt with the smallest balance first, or the avalanche method, where you focus on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first.

Another important aspect of personal finance is saving and investing. Whether you’re saving for a big purchase, trying to build an emergency fund, or simply trying to grow your wealth, it’s important to have a solid savings and investing plan in place.

When it comes to savings, it’s a good idea to have a mix of short-term and long-term savings goals. This could mean having a savings account for unexpected expenses, a separate account for your emergency fund, and a longer-term savings plan for big purchases or retirement.

Investing can also play a big role in building wealth over time. There are a variety of investment options available, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). It’s important to do your research and understand the risks and rewards of each type of investment before making a decision. You can also consider working with a financial advisor to help you make informed investment decisions.

Finally, it’s important to protect your financial future by having adequate insurance coverage. This could include health insurance, life insurance

You’ll notice the piece got cutoff at life insurance, although I’m not sure why. So I asked…

What about life insurance?

Yes, life insurance is an important aspect of personal finance and helps protect your loved ones financially in the event of your death. There are two main types of life insurance: term life insurance and whole life insurance.

Term life insurance provides coverage for a specified term, usually ranging from 10 to 30 years. It’s typically the most affordable option and is ideal for people who need coverage for a specific period of time, such as when they have dependents or a mortgage.

Whole life insurance, also known as permanent life insurance, provides coverage for the duration of your life and usually includes an investment component. This type of insurance is more expensive than term life insurance but can provide a source of savings or cash value that you can access while you’re still alive.

When choosing a life insurance policy, it’s important to consider your coverage needs, your budget, and your long-term financial goals. You can work with a financial advisor or insurance agent to help you find the right coverage for your needs.

In conclusion, personal finance is an important aspect of our lives that requires attention, planning, and discipline. By taking the time to understand your finances, set financial goals, manage debt, save and invest, and protect your financial future with insurance, you can take control of your money and achieve your financial goals.

Remember, everyone’s financial journey is different and what works for one person may not work for another. The key is to find what works for you, stay disciplined, and stay the course. With a little bit of effort, you can achieve financial freedom and peace of mind.

And because I’m polite I said…


You're welcome! If there's anything else you need help with, feel free to ask. I'm here to help!

What about how to find a financial planner?

Finding a financial planner can be an important step in taking control of your finances and achieving your financial goals. A financial planner can help you create a financial plan, manage your investments, and provide guidance and support as you work towards your financial goals.

Here are some steps to help you find the right financial planner for you:

Determine your needs: Before you start looking for a financial planner, it's important to understand what you need help with. Do you need help creating a budget, reducing debt, or planning for retirement? Knowing your specific needs will help you find a financial planner who specializes in the areas you need the most help with.

Ask for recommendations: Word of mouth can be a powerful tool when it comes to finding a financial planner. Ask friends, family members, or coworkers if they have a financial planner they would recommend. You can also ask your banker, lawyer, or accountant for recommendations.

Research your options: Once you have a list of potential financial planners, do some research to learn more about each one. Check their websites, read reviews, and look for any disciplinary actions or customer complaints.

Schedule consultations: Once you have a short list of potential financial planners, schedule consultations with each one. This will give you the opportunity to meet with the planner in person, ask questions, and get a sense of their communication style and expertise.

Consider credentials: When choosing a financial planner, it's important to consider their credentials. Look for a planner who is a certified financial planner (CFP), has a professional designation from a reputable organization, or is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Check for fees: Finally, make sure you understand the financial planner's fee structure. Some financial planners charge an hourly rate, while others charge a percentage of assets under management. Make sure you understand the fees and that they are within your budget.

By following these steps, you can find a financial planner who is right for you and who can help you take control of your finances and achieve your financial goals. Keep in mind that finding the right financial planner is an important decision, so take your time and choose wisely.

And because I was curious how it would respond, I asked…

Aren't financial planners all old white men?

It's a common misconception that financial planners are all old white men, but that is not the case. The financial planning industry is diverse and includes individuals of different ages, genders, races, and cultural backgrounds. In recent years, there has been a growing number of women and individuals from underrepresented communities entering the financial planning field, bringing a diversity of perspectives and experiences to the industry.

Additionally, many organizations and initiatives have been established to support diversity and inclusion in the financial planning industry. These organizations aim to increase representation and provide resources and support for underrepresented groups, including women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community.

So, while it's true that the financial planning industry has historically been dominated by older white men, that is changing. As more diverse individuals enter the field and bring their unique perspectives and experiences to the table, the financial planning industry is becoming more diverse and inclusive.

I then asked questions about how to find a financial planner, what sort of accrediting bodies and membership organizations exist, and so forth. I found the information provided by ChatGPT to be thorough, current, and accurate, which was surprising. It also seemed a little generic, which is understandable. I asked a more detailed question about how we should consider Monte Carlo analysis in the context of financial planning and was impressed by the thoughtfulness (if that’s an appropriate term in this context) of its answer. Yes, I could have found the answers via a traditional keyword Google search, but it would have taken much longer and obviously Google can’t toss out a blog post for me.

My understanding is that ChatGPT isn’t yet connected to the Internet but lives off of a trove of data that’s regularly updated while it’s learning from how we use it. We ask it questions and it responds contextually, which is fundamentally different from the relatively blunt tool of keyword searches. Once fully online and learning ramps up exponentially, well, flashes of that 2013 movie Her with Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johannsen come to mind, but that’s probably a little much, right?

Again, this whole thing is quite impressive and a little unsettling, and it’s hard to tell what the investment/workplace/societal implications are at this point. But there are some, that much is certain.

Here’s a link to the OpenAI website to look into this further. The regular website has a quick tool to use but it’s been down each time I’ve looked. That’s why I created the free account. If you do so, just be careful what you ask and what information you share as there should be no expectation of privacy.


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