Ask An Ex-Banker: AI CHATGPT For Personal Finance?

Q. In harvesting a range of views on personal finances, should we include ChatGPT or other forms of AI?

Xavier, Washington DC

 Q. “Should I use ChatGPT for financial advice?” Kinda John Henry v. The Mighty Steam Drill.

–Clay, Denver CO

No bots here! We don’t need their kind. Only humans. 

Just kidding. 

Look, from what I can tell, an online chat-based AI can address 98 percent (I made up that number) of our personal finance questions, with a straightforward answer that is mostly right, most of the time. The right thing to do in personal finance doesn’t change much from year to year, decade to decade. One of my deeply held beliefs is that Benjamin Franklin’s The Way To Wealth contains practically everything we need to know about personal finance, even though that was published in the mid-18th Century.hy

An AI will only rarely get things wrong. But so will humans!


Like an AI, you will see me at times overconfident in my answers and advice. Still, my human hubris in offering my version of something an AI can do quite well is to add a bit of humor, a bit of contrariness, and a bit of go-beyond-the-average. Only time will tell whether the result will be better than a bot.

Finally, a bit about me, the human behind these answers. When I first read the John Henry name, I thought you meant the owner of the Red Sox, as I’m a New Englander by birth. Then I thought it was a reference to the AI in Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, as I’m a sci fi nerd.


But that coincidental link to AI is not what you meant. Rather you were referencing a children’s book by the same name. 

A version or this also appeared in the San Antonio Express News and Houston Chronicle

Please see related post:

Book Review: The Way To Wealth by Benjamin Franklin

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I founded Bankers Anonymous because, as a recovering banker, I believe that the gap between the financial world as I know it and the public discourse about finance is more than just a problem for a family trying to balance their checkbook, or politicians trying to score points over next year’s budget – it is a weakness of our civil society. For reals. It’s also really fun for me.

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