I thought it would be a good idea to put a TV in my office to keep an eye on the financial markets, current events, and other topics that my clients might call about. But I am now finding myself creating more issues and concerns than anything else.
Today, for example, I had a client stop by for help organizing the finances of their son’s wedding. They are so excited that their first child is getting married and they wanted to make sure everything was perfect. We had been planning for this wedding for the past 5 years so it was a great opportunity to see their planning from start to finish.
Instead of discussing how to handle taxes for their distributions or updating our financial planning figures, we spent about an hour talking about Chinese debt levels, tariffs, and interest rates. Why you may ask? Because CNBC thought it was relevant to slap up a nice banner at the bottom of the screen.
I have written a lot about information overload and the amount nonsense that comes down the pipeline. Investors today are overwhelmed with way too much information that completely derails our thoughts about our own future. Instead of spending time working on the important aspects of our lives, we instead attempt to consume the firehose of information in front of us.
What we should be doing is working on the things that really matter. Making smart decisions to ensure your child’s wedding is perfect is WAY more important than what happens in the stock market on any given day. The same thing holds true whether the goal is saving, retirement, college, or anything else.
“In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run it is a weighing machine.” – Ben Graham
This quote is decades old but still holds true today. In the short term, the stock market is a popularity contest. Investors are hyper-emotional. We tend to get too excited about unsure investments and overly concerned about the scary news. But long-term patience with investing is the key to success. Allowing the markets to be irrational in the short-term for the reward of gains in the long-term is exactly why we are all here.