I’d like you to consider taking a 7-day financial news fast challenge. That’s right. Seven days with no financial news, televised or online. Weather and traffic updates are okay, but other than that try 7 days.
Here’s four reasons why you should:
- The financial news is meant to sell you something, not help you.
Have you heard the phrase “If it bleeds, it leads”? That’s the rule for financial news articles. The more scandalous, shocking, graphic and outlandish the financial news, the better. Why? Because financial news agencies are focused on getting eyeballs for the advertisements. The business model works if they can get you sit through the commercial.
How many times have you heard the anchor sternly announce a zombie apocalypse in Toledo and then say, “More on that after the break.” You need to stay there, glued to your TV, unconsciously watching the commercial. That’s their business model. It’s the same with internet financial news, with pop ups, banner ads and scrolling ads. Except it’s worse because it’s on your smartphone 24/7.
- The financial news stresses you out unnecessarily.
Right now, somewhere, something bad is happening. With global reach and a 24-hour financial news cycle, we can know about an airline hijacking in real time. This drama creates adrenaline and stress, albeit vicariously. Your limbic system is keyed up and releases the stress hormone, cortisol.
But can you help negotiate with the terrorists? Nope. Will you be able to avoid the next airline hijacking by staying current with the story? Not at all. But now you suffer the pangs of anguish for those people with no ability or intention to help them. After a while, you build up learned helplessness, an apathy from an overload of sensational stories.
- The financial news is irrelevant to you, 99% of the time
- What are you most likely to die of: A terrorist attack or the standard American diet?
- Who should you know more about: A celebrity caught cheating or your children’s school teacher?
- What will make you healthier: Reading about the latest Ebola outbreak or reading about starting an organic garden?
I think you get the point. The first choice is sensational, but has little bearing on your day to day life. The second choice is requiring effort and deeper thinking. Financial news gives us the appetite for the quick and shallow and not the deep and important.
The financial news is irrelevant in another way as well. The facts are often wrong and the predictions even more so. When you hear first reports of a story, the facts are breathlessly screamed by reporters who later retract. They prognosticate about the economy, terrorism or politics. But only time will tell what’s fake financial news or fact. You don’t have to be on top of the financial news because the first reports are a waste of your time.
- The financial news is a waste of your time.
When the OJ verdict was broadcast around the country, I was in college. We stopped class and rolled a TV in. Turns out most of America did the same thing. One hour, 200 million people. Does that sound like time well spent? And what did that produce for those watching? They were one hour behind on their day and gossiping about somebody who didn’t even know them.
This is supposed to be a financial blog, but the greatest asset we have is time. Time can be wasted but can’t be earned. Money can be printed, but time can’t be recreated. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Focus on the people and goals in your life and stop wasting your time and mental horsepower on financial news.
Financial news is the junk food of the mind. Go on a 7-day fast and see how your stress declines and time increases. You’ll still be able to make informed decisions. As always, feel free to click here to contact us, if we may be able to help you.