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The Financial Dilemma

Google, Facebook, and Twitter seem to be leading the “information age” in the 21st century.  Before that it was ABC, CBS, and NBC.  Have you ever thought about how these huge organizations are able to deliver data in the blink of an eye?  Or better yet, who pays for that data?  You certainly don’t pay for it, at least not directly.  We came across a quote recently, “If you’re not paying for the product, then you’re not the consumer…you are the product being sold.”   If we aren’t paying for this information…then who is, and what are they after?

These companies and platforms obviously operate for a profit, which requires advertisement sales, and that ad revenue increases based on attention (clicks, views, swipes, etc.).  Attention is gained in the media through our emotions, especially in financial news.  Susan Krakower, former CNBC producer said it like this, “We’re always looking for qualitative combat on the air.  Most of these conversations live somewhere between fear on one end and greed on the other.”  Is that the type of emotion you want to feel as it relates to your financial and investment plan?  Combat, fear, and greed don’t sound like “financial confidence” to me.

Strong emotions often lead to unwise financial decisions.  But if they are the dominating sentiments over the airwaves, how can you stay informed and still succeed financially?  One recommendation is to step back and truly understand the DOW (or stock market) and how it has behaved over time.  Have you ever thought about why it has never gone to zero?  And why does it keep going up over time?  I’ll give you a hint…it doesn’t include the same 30 companies it did fifty years ago. Innovation happens.  Change occurs.  Our capitalist society evolves and so does the DOW.  Change is a force that can’t be stopped.

George Orwell said it best, “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”  The fact that most people go to work every day in order to earn a living and progress in their careers doesn’t seem “newsworthy” to the large media companies that push information to us, but it is “noteworthy” to me.  Remembering this simple truth can make you a more confident investor, because you can own shares of the companies where this takes place.  Sometimes it’s that simple.  Take a look around you and let your own experience be your guide.  If people continue to work, innovation continues to happen, and the market continues to evolve with it.  That’s why the market hasn’t gone to zero.  It’s also why it keeps going up.

The market is always changing, yet this isn’t anything new.  In a world with no shortage of “financial news” that can sound like advice coming at you from all angles, just make sure you’re getting what you pay for.

Got questions?  Contact the Purifoy Wealth Team today!

*This article was written by Michael J. Purifoy, CPA, CFP®, Executive Vice President, Southwestern Investment Group and Wealth Advisor, RJFS

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