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Evidence Based Investing 101: Look beyond the headlines

Look Beyond the Headlines

The constant fear-driven media, market noise and daily news can challenge your investment discipline. Certain stories and messages will leave you concerned about what the future might hold while other news stories might leave you wanting to make that next investment step which could see you following another fad. So, when headlines throw you off course, take a look at the source, look at the bigger picture and focus on the long-term.

The Media Is A Fear-Inducing Vehicle

As far as long-term investing goes, our media outlets and culture as well as the way in which we engage with opinions and news, might not help us maintain the right approach. This year, there have been many large news stories on a global scale such as an ongoing war, inflation, rising cost of living and COVID-19 which might leave us feeling as though we are living in unique times. However, there are problems every week, month, year and every generation, but the media is all-encompassing and that means you can find yourself falling into the trap of believing that the events of today are going to cause more damage to your financial plans than previous ones. As a result, the worries of today will influence our thinking but can you actually remember what you might have been worrying about last month, last year or the year before that? The answer is likely to be no.

All Doom and Gloom?

The media might follow the mantra “if you’re not panicking, we’re not doing our job’ is a humorous quip at least and relates to the way in which the media works but in the world that we live in, this phrase might actually be truer than ever. The reality is that we are constantly surrounded by pessimistic financial news which foster negative emotions and fears. In previous years, we would have turned to the media to seek out guidance and a balanced narrative but these days, the media have gone in the opposite direction. Furthermore, the way in which we absorb the news and how we consume it has changed. There is an endless amount of negativity, lots of speculation and opinions that point towards doom and gloom. Add in the recent Fake News and you have a melting pot of negative news that can impact the decisions that investors make and those decisions are usually not for the better.

Driven by Greed

The reality is that bad news sell and predictions or speculation stand out above what is actually real. The media has no real interest in your long-term financial goals or interests and so, they need to find out what will grab your attention and what will enhance their appeal to the masses and advertisers. They might also have political interests that they have invested in themselves and that can often mean that they only look out for themselves, with hidden agendas that do nothing to help unearth the facts or what the average investor needs to know.

So, when you see another news story that points towards something negative or predicts a gloomy outcome, you might want to be mindful and question their end goal. It might seem tempting to make a quick decision based on what the media is putting out there but the media is not always right. In fact, the media is more likely wrong than right. This means that you should look at the bigger picture and do everything possible to find out the real facts. Only then will you be able to make an informed decision.

Questions To Ask Yourself

Have you ever been tempted to follow the latest investment fad or panicked about the latest financial ‘crisis’ that’s all over the news? 

Do you regularly remind yourself that in their need for a fresh, daily supply of sensationalist headlines the media don’t have your long-term financial interests at heart? 

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