Being time poor is something I’m convinced affects your intellect. Or maybe it’s got something to do with the easy access of information that is so readily available to us in our modern society. Perhaps it’s a combination of both.
I really miss the days of listening to the news in the morning before work or spending a lazy weekend morning drinking coffee and reading the broadsheet from back to front. I seem to have replaced that with logging into an online news site to grab the headlines. I roughly know what’s going on at home & abroad. I can keep up with a topical conversation but I’m finding more and more that I don’t know anything “in depth” anymore. What’s even more frightening is if I’m busy or feeling too tired to exercise my brain, I’m gravitating towards really low brow stuff. I can, for example, tell you all of the dramas of this season’s Married At First Sight. I’m a little vague on facts for things that really matter.
I know it’s not only me. I can tell this from the repetitive quick read articles on weight loss and get rich quick stories that are being presented to us as “news”.
Being in the Financial Planning industry for over 20 years, I always read the property stories. I don’t do this for their news content but just to give myself a giggle. It’s like a sport-will it be good, bad or ugly? It’s seems the vast majority fall into the good category and I know that’s not the ratio I see in my professional life. It makes me wonder are we just being feed a myth we want to believe?
For 3 consecutive days the same news site ran property articles. Come on, slow news week or what? One quick read about experts saying property keeps rising and if you are smart enough to know where to find the hot spots, you’ll be rolling in dough soon enough. Another quick read about a lady who used her divorce settlement and with the help of friend “investors” she built her property portfolio that now enables her to stay home with her children and live a comfortable life. The final story from another expert about how property prices are going to crash and lots of people are going to be in financial trouble.
Maybe it’s because I grew up in an era where investigative journalism was a true profession, a time when politicians got grilled when they said or did something questionable and when there was enough money in newsroom budgets to check facts, rather than repeat a press release word for word without objectivity. I don’t see too much of that anymore (Leigh Sales, I’m not talking about you, you are a shining light).
What I pointedly see is an obsession with property. I haven’t seen any articles about other asset classes, such as shares or cash. None. To be fair, shares do have a nightly section in the news devoted to market activity but I’m not counting that because it is largely irrelevant news for the vast majority of share investors.
So why are most property articles about individual stories and news about share investment is statistical? Why isn’t my Dad a newsworthy story when he spruiks the joys of receiving his dividend payment, just like clockwork? Why is that not promoted but an article about somebody’s property value appreciating is promoted? I think it’s because we all believe we understand property, with the vast majority of us citing our home as our biggest financial asset (albeit, an “asset” that provides shelter for us rather than a financial return). Even those who cannot afford to enter the market, understand the concept of property because we all live in property.
The moral of my story-don’t just believe what you read. For every person who researched or lucked into buying property in the hot spot and made money, there are some who did the opposite and lost money. For every investor who gambled with friend or family “investment” money (sometimes referred to as life savings), it hasn’t always worked out and relationships have suffered. For every person at smoko who’s made a mint on “whatever”, question it. Live in the world of facts. Live in the world of reality. It’s not complex but it’s often not easy. What is easy, is to seek professional advice to put a long term plan in place. You don’t take your car to the hairdresser to get serviced. Don’t take your financial advice from the quick read news or the guy sitting next to you at smoko. Go to a Financial Planner.