Financial Media is Not Financial Advice

March 01, 2021

News and the truth are not always related. In fact, in some cases, they can be nearly opposites. One of the reasons for this is that we live in a culture of infotainment.

Infotainment is the blending of news with entertainment. The goal is not simply the reporting of something that happened to inform you, but the reporting of something that happened (or not) to entertain you. Media outlets don’t want to ultimately get you thinking, they want to keep you watching and clicking. 

And I'm not just referring to the MSM (mainstream media). I'm referring to your favorite media sources that massage all your biases. Mine too. They all are greedy for the priceless and increasingly rare commodity of your attention.

Financial media is not immune to this. Few things provide greater clickbait or dramatic news segments than a potential crisis that might affect your money. Fear sells. So does euphoria. Both grant a nice buzz of dopamine to the human system. 

The problem with filling yourself with the infotainment of financial television pundits or investment headlines in your Twitter or Facebook feed is that you may be more prone to act on things and make changes to your portfolio at precisely the wrong time. Your portfolio should instead be built around a long-term plan and goals.

Pundits don’t know you. Content is algorithmically curated to make you click.

Sometimes the best thing to do when you see the latest financial concern or innovation is to do absolutely nothing. Inaction isn’t sexy, but it just might be for your long-term financial success.

Don’t get me wrong. Making changes in response to financial events can be a good thing. It might even be necessary. Tweaking is one thing. Freaking out with fear (or fawning wild-eyed at the latest outperformance) is another.

Commit this to your financial memory: general financial media is not personal financial advice. Watch and click accordingly.