Our lives are saturated with information, so it’s important to scrutinise what we consume, especially when it comes to financial news and our use of social media. The core objective of social media isn’t necessarily to make you a more informed member of society. Instead, it’s driven by the motive to capture your attention, to keep you engaged, and to sell advertising space. Indeed, our most valuable asset is our attention!
Why is this so pivotal to understand? Because the media operates on a lifeline of viewership. More viewers mean more advertising dollars, which subsequently leads to a greater push for sensational headlines and urgent news flashes. This whirlwind of drama creates an atmosphere where everything seems critical, urgent, and actionable. But is it?
An insider in the industry once admitted that their aim wasn’t public service, but entertainment for those who wish to feel smart. (you can read that blog here: https://www.experimental-history.com/p/reading-the-news-is-the-new-smoking)
If the media prioritised the long-term perspective (essential for fruitful investments and a worry-free retirement), they would risk losing their audience to more sensational outlets.
Now, let’s examine this misalignment of interests with a simple historical context. Over the past several decades, the S&P 500 has seen nearly a hundred-fold increase. What did investors need to do to benefit from this rise? Essentially, just stay invested. Yet, during this journey, they had to weather numerous recessions, bear markets, and other declines, each accompanied by apocalyptic headlines.
The renowned investor Howard Marks sums up the psychological challenge of staying invested beautifully. Maintaining your position in a promising investment over a long period requires resilience. There are many distractions—news, emotions, and the allure of new opportunities—that can tempt even the most steadfast investor.
Warren Buffett, another giant in the investment world, often speaks about the emotional discipline needed in investing. Think of your long-term financial plan as a garden. It takes time, patience, and careful tending. Sure, there will be weeds—like sensational headlines, market rumours, and even personal doubts—that sprout up and threaten your growth.
Our collective aim is to offer you the tools and knowledge you need to make informed decisions, empowering you to realise a financially stable and fulfilling retirement. Unlike the media, which often thrives on disruption and spectacle, our interests align with yours.
In this journey, it’s essential to filter out the noise and focus on the pillars of a strong financial life. Keep your eyes on the road ahead, not the distracting billboards along the way.