One of the mistakes novice investors make is that they think they need to stay on top of all of the news that gets generated. They plow through the Wall Street Journal everyday, spend hours with a copy of Barron’s on the weekend and keep financial television all day. The problem is that there is little correlation between keeping up the financial media and actual performance.
Investors are likely fearful of missing out on some nugget of information that will some somehow affect their portfolios. This fear of missing out, or FOMO, drives all manner of bad behaviors. Morgan Housel in another great post at the Motley Fool writes:
My journey started with a realization that the more media investors paid attention to, the worse they did. The more they analyzed, the more decisions they had to make. The more decisions they made, the more chances they had at being wrong, letting their emotions take over, and doing something regrettable. Find someone who has mastered personal finance, and you’ll find someone with a pathological ability to not give a damn.
Housel goes on to note the many things he no longer cares about including: perfect portfolio allocations, quarterly earnings, daily market moves and trying to get other people to agree with him. That may be the one great benefit of an index fund-centric approach to investing – not having to worry about all manner of issues. Once you resign yourself to average performance you no longer feel, as acutely, the need the keep up with every piece of data or news item.
Read more books and fewer articles. Read more history and fewer forecasts.
— Morgan Housel (@TMFHousel) June 10, 2015