By Brett Gottlieb
In our fast-paced 21st-century world, the media feeds us with information 24/7. We all would agree it has played a critical role in keeping us up to date with current events and economic developments. But how do you know which sources to trust? With the multitude of voices and endless noise, from local news to national channels and online resources, it may seem like you’re constantly bombarded with information.
When it comes to investing and financial planning, it’s wise to acknowledge the ways that the media may sensationalize negative news, often misleading readers with its reports. In this article, our Comprehensive Advisor team dives into why bad news sells with the hopes of shedding light on what you must be aware of beyond the bold headlines.
Why Bad News Sells
The media thrives on sensational stories. News outlets know that people are more likely to click on articles and tune into broadcasts that feature dramatic headlines and negative stories. This is known as the “negativity bias,” which occurs when people pay more attention to negative information than positive information. This is a well-documented psychological phenomenon, and as a result, the media tends to focus on bad news—even when the good news may be just as important.
In the context of investing and financial planning, bad news can be particularly damaging. When people hear about stock market crashes, economic downturns, and other negative events, they may become fearful and anxious about investing their money. This can lead them to make impulsive decisions, such as selling their investments at the bottom of a market cycle or avoiding the market altogether.
What the Media Doesn’t Tell You
Despite the constant barrage of bad news, investing and financial planning are still powerful tools for building long-term wealth. Here are a few things to keep in mind that usually don’t make the front-page news.
1. Investing is a Long-Term Strategy
Investing is not a get-rich-quick scheme; it’s a long-term strategy that requires patience and discipline. The stock market can be volatile in the short term, and it’s not uncommon for there to be periods of losses, slow growth, and even recessions. Over the long term, however, the stock market has historically provided strong returns for investors. For example, the 100-year annual average return of the S&P 500 Index is 10.345%. That’s pretty impressive considering the economic volatility the market has experienced over the last 100 years!
Just remember that panic selling at the whims of bad news from the media is a quick way to miss out on the potential upside that comes from down markets. While there will always be short-term fluctuations, over the long term, investing in the stock market can be a reliable way to build wealth as long as you are investing in a way that makes sense for your unique risk tolerance and time horizon.
2. Diversification is Key
One way to manage risk in your investment portfolio is through diversification. By investing in a mix of stocks, bonds, and other assets, you can spread your risk and potentially minimize losses during market downturns. Keeping your portfolio diversified is another way to avoid “fad” investments or trends that may be overly hyped by the media.
For example, if the media is reporting on a new technology that is poised to revolutionize an industry (or a recent poor performer they think you should sell), investors may rush to either buy or sell that one company. But if the media’s predictions don’t come to pass, investors may suffer significant losses or miss out on significant gains. By diversifying your investments across different sectors and asset classes, you can avoid becoming overly focused on a single trend or fad and reduce the risk in your portfolio.
3. Financial Planning Can Help You Reach Your Goals
Financial planning is about more than just investing. It’s about setting clear financial goals and creating a plan to achieve them. An experienced financial planner can help you assess your current financial situation, identify areas for improvement, and create a plan that takes into account your unique circumstances and goals.
Financial planning is a critical tool for working toward your long-term financial goals, and it can provide a helpful road map in the face of the constant onslaught of negative news and hype that the media often focuses on. By creating a comprehensive financial plan, you can establish a guide for achieving your goals—regardless of what’s happening in the news or the markets.
A well-crafted financial plan considers factors such as your income, expenses, savings, investments, and debt, and helps you develop a strategy for pursuing your long-term financial goals and avoid making impulsive investment decisions. Talking about the benefits of financial planning may not generate as many views as talking about the latest financial crisis, but it is a great way to take control of your financial future and make progress toward your goals, even in a “bad news sells” environment.
4. You Can’t Time the Market
The media would have you believe that if only you had been more informed, you would have been able to avoid the losses in your portfolio. If only you listened to more commentators, read more magazines, or listened to the latest financial podcast, you would be able to successfully time the market. But what the media won’t tell you is that you can’t time the market because no one can. Buying and selling investments based on short-term market fluctuations is a losing game. No one can consistently predict what the market will do—no matter how much bad news they watch. Even professional investors and fund managers, who have access to extensive research and analysis, struggle to consistently predict the moves of the market.
Instead of trying to time the market, a more effective strategy to consider is focusing on long-term investing and diversification. By investing in a diversified portfolio of assets, you can potentially reduce risk and maximize returns over the long run. And by staying committed to your investment strategy through market ups and downs, you can avoid the temptation to make impulsive decisions based on short-term market fluctuations.
Your Trusted Advisor
While bad news might grab attention, you don’t have to become a victim to it. At Comprehensive Advisor, we understand that having a robust financial plan while practicing disciplined investing is essential to reach the successful future you dream of. We are committed to helping our clients navigate media hype in order to avoid typical investing mistakes.
By adopting a long-term approach, we can assist you in pursuing your financial objectives with confidence, helping you build a prosperous future for yourself and your family. If you’re looking for an advisor who can support you along the way, reach out by emailing us at info@ComprehensiveAdvisor.com or calling (760) 813-2125.
About Our Advisors
Brett Gottlieb is the founder of Comprehensive Advisor and a financial advisor with nearly two decades of industry experience. He graduated from California State University-Chico with two bachelor’s degrees, in business administration and economics, and is Life Insurance licensed in several states. He is passionate about guiding his clients on retirement income planning, helping each client pursue their specific retirement goals, and defending the assets his clients have worked so hard to achieve. Brett is a California native and currently resides in San Elijo Hills with his beautiful wife and three children.
Our team of qualified professionals have experience in the financial service industry, and our advisors hail from some of the largest independent broker/dealers and banking institutions in the country. They have dedicated their professional careers to creating personalized financial solutions for individuals and families who seek successful retirement planning and currently offer investment advisory services through AE Wealth Management, LLC. Our advisors take a common-sense approach to the planning process and work with clients to create a retirement road map to help ensure their assets are protected and they receive the income needed to enjoy their future. Based in Carlsbad, California, they work with clients throughout San Diego County and beyond. Learn more by connecting with Brett on LinkedIn or email them at info@ComprehensiveAdvisor.com.
Investment advisory services made available through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM). AEWM and Comprehensive Advisor are not affiliated companies. C.A. Financial & Insurance Services, CA Ins. Lic. #6000262. This material is intended to provide general information and is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. Neither the firm nor its representatives may give tax or legal advice, individuals should consult with a qualified professional for guidance before making any purchasing decisions. Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. Any references to protection benefits, safety, security, lifetime income, etc., generally refer to fixed insurance products, never securities or investment products. Our firm is not affiliated with the U.S. government or any governmental agency. Insurance and annuity product guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. 1763754 – 4/23
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