Mind the Financial Media

A quick visit to the CNBC website will surely remind you of the laundry list of things we “should” be concerned about in the financial world these days. Everything from the debt ceiling talks and China to inflation and bank failures. That can make it difficult to raise our awareness of important current events without simultaneously raising our blood pressure. It can also be difficult to discern which news articles are important and actionable from those that are important but not actionable, or worse, fear-based click bait. Even when we feel confident that a news story is actionable, it’s easy to let our emotions take over, which can lead to poor decisions.

In addition, if we spend too much of our time browsing the headlines, it becomes easy to lose sight of the bigger picture involving our investments. We become so focused on current events we forget why we’re investing in the first place. To participate in the long-term profits of creative and interesting global businesses so that our dollars will grow, keep up with inflation and be available to fund our future goals.

Due to my chosen profession and my commitment to my clients, I need to stay informed. However, I must say that I find myself to be in a much better place when my news intake is limited to a morning read of the WSJ and a necessary check in on markets a few times a day. I’ve tried to cut out any random checks for breaking news on my phone while waiting in line for lunch. My goal is to stay pleasantly and prudently informed while avoiding the stress inducing headlines from the 24-hour news cycle.

I hope you’re reading this and thinking, what financial news? What is Geoff talking about? But if you’ve been letting the financial news stir your anxieties and create worry, I encourage you to be mindful of the headlines. They’re designed to grab our attention and solicit a reaction. It’s true, there are a lot of important things going on in the world right now and we should all pay attention, stay prudently informed and help where we can. However, in doing so, it can be easy to get caught up in the scary headlines generated by the financial media.  “The Dow Plunges 250 Points” sounds a lot scarier than “The Dow is Down 0.7%”, even though they both say the same thing. These days, with the proliferation of cell phones and social media, it’s much more difficult to stay informed but not fearful.  Do your best.  Maybe delete the financial news apps from your phone as a starter.

Of course, there are a lot of important things happening in the world right now, many of them impacting the U.S economy and stock markets. That’s why, if you’re a Beacon client, you can rest assured that we will continue to stay informed for you and alert you to any necessary changes to your plan or portfolio.  In the meantime, I wrote this piece offering some suggestions on things to do if the financial news headlines have you on edge. And, as always, please let us know if you have questions or concerns.

The content above is for informational and educational purposes only. The links and graphs are being provided as a convenience; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Beacon Wealthcare, nor does Beacon guarantee the accuracy of the information.

Geoff Hall, CFP®
[email protected]

My wife, Crystal, and I have been married for 11 years and have two kids, Cooper (10) and Rhodes (8.) When I’m not spending time with them you might find me downtown serving at our church, pushing my limits during a mountain bike ride or having coffee with a friend in the Five Points area. I've been a financial advisor for 29 years and I'm thankful for the privilege of shepherding my family of clients through the ups and down of the markets, and of life for that matter.