My Secret: Why I hate Financial Cable News

I have a secret. When people mention programs they’ve watched on CNBC, Fox Business News, Bloomberg, and other cable money news channels, I smile and nod. I often don’t know what they are talking about. And that’s fine with me.
 
The volume of information available to investors has increased exponentially over the last twenty years with the growth of cable financial news stations. I know that there are many savvy journalists and great investors featured on these channels. I also know that programming managers have 12-24 hours to fill each day and that sometimes quantity takes precedence over quality.
 
For me, when I tune in, it’s hard to see the forest when there are just so many trees. The timeframe for many discussions on these programs is minutes and hours. A day is long-term. I know, though, that I want to avoid the traps of short-termism when evaluating investment decisions.
 
Three questions to ask yourself before you tune in to your favorite program:


(1) Are you watching for entertainment or to help you make decisions on finances? It's important to be clear on the purpose and not blur the lines between the two.

(2) If you decide to BUY based upon the recommendation of an expert you see on tv, do you have adequate information to know when it's appropriate to SELL? Does the investment fit with your current portfolio and goals? How will you monitor this investment and who will you turn to for advice.


(3) Is watching the day-to-day fluctuations of all of the world's markets wearing on you? Some say that more information, not less, is better.  Others agree with me and believe that an hourly review of portfolios may be detrimental. If your mood (or blood pressure) swings with the ups and downs of the market as measured in minutes and not months or years, perhaps it is time to reconsider the value of your habit.
 
Have a brief personal conversation with yourself.  You and you alone can determine whether watching cable financial news is welcome entertainment or a stressful reminder of market swings. If you choose to tune out, I won't tell!