If you haven’t read the American classic book, Catch-22, by Joseph Heller, the plot boils down to your basic “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario. In particular, the main character, Yossarian, is a WWII bombardier who hated flying bombing missions so much he wanted the doctor to declare him insane, thus unfit to fly. The catch was that trying to get out of flying missions was a sane response to war. The only flight crew who could legitimately get out of missions for reasons of insanity were the ones who loved them, and never asked to get out.
Such is the case with what passes for financial journalism in the world today. If you don’t know anything about investing, you naturally read/listen to the financial media for advice. The problem is they either don’t know anything about it either, or are lying to you. The end result of consuming the “wisdom” of the print, cable television, and Internet “gurus” is that you still don’t know anything about investing.
But the problem with the entire premise of this article is why should you listen to us either? Aren’t we part of financial journalism? Good point. We do, indeed, consider Young Wealth to be a critical component of a young investor’s education. One crucial difference is that we
are a non-profit organization trying to make up the financial literacy deficit you acquired in school. We’re not selling a product and the only benefit we get is when you learn to discern fact from fantasy, then go out and make the world a better place for us all by working the free market system for all the wealth you can earn.
There are so many ways the traditional financial media misleads you, but here are a few, in particular, to watch out for.
1. Corporate broker recommendations made via direction from on high, and possibly totally unsuitable for your purposes.
2. Recommending an “all in” in approach no matter where the market is rather than a dollar cost average or buy when it’s low strategy.
3. Churning your account with pointless buying and selling of stocks simply to create transaction commissions for the brokerage.
So, what’s the easy way to separate the kernels of good information from the ignorant or misleading? Sorry, there isn’t one. Becoming a savvy investor takes applied research over time from a variety of sources. One general bit of advice we would like to suggest – if you want to truly build wealth, investigate income property investing. It beats the pants off stock market returns, and you maintain direct control of your investments.
The Young Wealth Team
Flickr / tkksummers