My wife’s grandfather was a brilliant investor. Though limited to a high school education, he taught himself to analyze a stock like few I have known. Whenever we visited, he would call me into his den to discuss the financial markets. Our discussions always involved a fat resource book that he received in the mail every month. It contained an amazing amount of raw financial data about most of the major companies on Wall Street. The hundreds of pages were filled with highlights and notes Grandpa had made, which book he would pass to me when the new one arrived. He also watched market news on T.V. but felt most commentators were more entertainer than financial expert.
I thought of Grandpa recently when I turned on the news to see a random analyst talking under the headline, “Wall Street surges as investors welcome likelihood of (candidates name) victory.” Presumptive headlines like this are common and leave me wondering where this “expert” got their information. I had placed several trades that day and no one checked in to see what my reasons were. I didn’t see any surveys or read any real data to suggest why investors were making their decisions that day. What it likely came down to is the stock market just happened to be up, for any number of reasons, but this analyst took it upon himself to play the expert who could discern the thoughts of the millions of investors in the world. As I listened to his ramblings, my Dad’s common phrase, “hogwash” came to mind.
There are plenty of media “experts” willing to tell us how to think, or how we are already thinking. Political pollsters have done this all year. Their embarrassing, and recurring failures should be evidence of the value of their opinions. But on the other hand, maybe there are too many who are willing to turn over their thinking to media experts, who they don’t personally know, and whose qualifications and motivations may be suspect. I was listening to a younger person speak about where he got his information and he said, “I’m very busy so I just get everything from Instagram.” “Oh wonderful,” I thought, “I feel so much better about our nation’s future now.”
I mention this because as the media noise gets louder, and more intrusive in our lives, we have an even greater need to slow down, and do some good learning on our own. Investing is serious business, and a very personal one. Try reading a good book. I’m sure they still make them. Taking advice from someone you don’t know, or whose goals may not align with yours, can be risky. Media personality comments about what other investors are thinking, with the implication that you should be thinking the same way, should carry little weight in your decisions. That commentator doesn’t really know what investors are thinking, and even if they did, it may have nothing to do with what is best for you.
Hi, I'm Dan. I'm a CFP® Professional.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®.
Member www.finra.org / www.sipc.org , a Registered Investment Advisor. Wyson Financial, 375 E Riverside Dr, St. George, UT 84790
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