One of the most useful lessons I learned from working at Facebook had nothing to do with technology: Doubt the media. Always doubt the media. – Blake Ross (Medium)
One of the inherent challenges in the media is the need to generate content. This leads, as Ross notes, to reporters taking short cuts. This seems increasingly true in the Internet age. The problem in investing is that this need to publish works against individual investors. Robin Powell at The Evidence-Based Investor writes:
The bottom line is that we don’t really need money sections at all. Good investing (and personal finance generally) is essentially dull, boring and not very newsworthy. Instead, week after week, teams of just two or three journalists are having to produce a whole section between them. Even with all the adverts, that’s a lot of column inches to fill in such a short space of time…There is, though, a simple solution for improving financial journalism, so that it helps investors rather than hinders them, and that’s to have less of it.
The fact of the matter is that much of what is written about in finance, and news generally, are either meaningless or completely out of your control. Because of this Ben Carlson at A Wealth of Common Sense thinks we should embrace “strategic apathy”:
It’s impossible to completely ignore all the noise out there these days. The sheer amount of data, information and social networks makes it easier than ever to care or be outraged about something new every couple of days. But I agree with Kaufman; it’s a good idea to care about fewer things, especially when they’re meaningless or out of your control.
As I wrote in my book there is nothing wrong with being a “mediocre investor” who follows a long-term, index-based global asset allocation strategy. In so doing we can ignore much of what goes on in the world of finance and use our most precious resource, time, in pursuit of other more compelling activities.