New Here? Get the Free Newsletter

Oblivious Investor offers a free newsletter providing tips on low-maintenance investing, tax planning, and retirement planning. Join over 11,000 email subscribers:

Articles are published Monday and Friday. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Going on a Financial Media Fast

Last weekend, I read Carl Richards’ new book The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money. (Full disclosure: The publisher sent me a free copy.)

In case you aren’t familiar: Carl is a CFP who has become rather well known for his clever sharpie drawings explaining personal finance topics — you can see his full gallery here — and for his recent controversial New York Times article, “How a Financial Pro Lost His House.”

But the reason I’m mentioning the book has nothing to do with the sketches or with that article. Rather, I want to share a passage I enjoyed. In the chapter “Too Much Information,” Carl writes:

“Monitoring market moves, watching stock market shows on CNBC, and poring over financial forecasts takes a lot of time. Worse, it makes people anxious — and anxious people often screw up. [...] Try going on a media fast. When thoughts about the markets arise, let them go. Go for a bike ride.

[...]

I know this may seem like a scary idea. And for the record, I don’t support sticking your head in the sand. I just think you need to balance your money anxieties with perspective.”

The suggestion to block out market news is the primary idea I was trying to communicate when I started this blog — hence the name and the logo.

Of course, in the three years since this blog was started, it’s branched out to cover a broader range of topics. But I still think the idea is a good one. I think most investors would benefit from scaling back their intake of financial news.

What do you think? Would you be willing to try it? How about a complete financial media fast between now and the beginning of next year?

(This blog will still be here when you get back.)

New to Investing? See My Related Book:

Book6FrontCoverTiltedBlue

Investing Made Simple: Investing in Index Funds Explained in 100 Pages or Less

Topics Covered in the Book:
  • Asset Allocation: Why it's so important, and how to determine your own,
  • How to to pick winning mutual funds,
  • Roth IRA vs. traditional IRA vs. 401(k),
  • Click here to see the full list.

A Testimonial:

"A wonderful book that tells its readers, with simple logical explanations, our Boglehead Philosophy for successful investing." - Taylor Larimore, author of The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing

Comments

  1. Mike, it’s great advice. I do try to ignore financial news about the latest market movements as much as possible, and I’m often a month or two behind on market news. I was annoyed with Bogleheads in August when the market was tanking. I wouldn’t have even known it probably if there weren’t so many threads about it. But when you talk about a financial media fast, I don’t think your blog needs to be included. You are talking about general investing issues without concern about recent market movements, which is great.

  2. I used to listen to everything I could. Well I stopped 6 months ago and now I only listen to Kai on NPR (I believe its call ‘money talks’). A great 30 minute program on finance and economics without the feeling that the market will implode at any moment if I stop watching.

    Life is simpler.

  3. After reading a couple of books by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Fooled By Randomness, and The Black Swan, I feel pretty well inoculated against financial news. I sort of peruse it, but it doesn’t make an emotional connection. It’s pretty clear that it’s pretty much all crap.

Disclaimer: By using this site, you explicitly agree to its Terms of Use and agree not to hold Simple Subjects, LLC or any of its members liable in any way for damages arising from decisions you make based on the information made available on this site. I am not a financial or investment advisor, and the information on this site is for informational and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute financial advice.

Copyright 2014 Simple Subjects, LLC - All rights reserved. To be clear: This means that, aside from small quotations, the material on this site may not be republished elsewhere without my express permission. Terms of Use and Privacy Policy