Sociologists and media commentators can debate whether our times are the most negative in history, but it certainly seems that way to me. We have all heard how damaging sticks and stones can be, but an endless bombardment of negative words has a withering effect. The actual inventors of the internet saw from the inception that conversation became much more coarse and inflammatory when taking place virtually, and through the screen of anonymity.
My daily internet source (Yahoo) is an unending buffet of articles of how I am doing almost everything wrong, from walking my dog to managing our money. Since, of course, I want to be a better dog walker and investor, I have eagerly opened those articles to learn the error of my ways. This consistently has led to disappointment with a lack of useful instruction. After thoughtful reflection, I came to 3 reasons why.
1. The writers of the lists don’t know me, what I do, or how I do it. They don’t know if I even have a dog or if I am a novice or experienced investor.
2. My dog hasn’t complained about our walks, and our investments seem to move in a generally positive direction, with the expected measure of peaks and valleys.
3. These lists invariably are flanked by ads for a new and improved dog leash or a whiz-bang investment opportunity. These are known as “click-bait”, meaning the title of the list is written to get us to click on it to take us on a search for enlightenment, but delivers an advertisement. It is like the process of fishing: bait the hook, place the baited hook in proximity of the intended target rich environment, and wait to see what bites.
If you are reading this, by and large you are doing fine. We would all feel better if we searched for articles about ways the world is better for having us in it. I strongly suggest we turn off the negativity and take the dog for a walk. I did precisely that as I finished this piece, and we both felt better for it.
I would love to hear your thoughts, positive or negative (but I prefer positive).
All the Best,
Bryan Trible, CLU, CRPC Financial Adviser