Headlines, Shmedlines

This headline recently caught my eye, “George Bush Sr. Rocks Purple Socks and Quotes Kenny Rogers in His Endorsement for Romney.” The brief article led me to a video at YouTube (linked below) of former senior President Bush’s recent endorsement of the Republican candidate. His wife Barbara sits in and reminds him of Kenny Rogers’ song lyrics, “You’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them.” The former president also happens to be wearing lavender socks.

 

[CLICK HERE to view the video, “Former President Bush Backs Romney,” at YouTube.com, March 29, 2012.]

 

It’s kind of fun headline, and a good example of journalists using a quick soundbyte to get your attention, no matter how ridiculous it sounds. It’s not likely Walter Cronkite would have uttered “rocks purple socks” in his nightly newscast decades ago. But mass media has evolved over the last 15 years to become less formal and a tad more sensational. Today’s daily dose of news offers so many more mediums than the days of the morning newspaper followed up by 30 minutes of local news and the weeknight national newscast. Today, you can receive a 24/7 stream of global news by television, computer, or even your cell phone.

 

Silly and serious news stories intermix with unfettered ease. Type a few keywords into an internet search engine and you’ll receive (literally) millions of headlines with little distinction between credible news services and a tweeting 14-year old who reads The Drudge Report. Bloggers sometimes offer more insight and expertise than credentialed journalists, and uploaded videos capture everything from the President’s State of the Union address to Congressman Bobby Rush wearing a hoodie during his Congressional speech on racial profiling.

 

[CLICK HERE to view the video, “Congressman Bobby Rush Reprimanded for Hoodie Worn During Trayvon Martin Speech,” at YouTube.com, March 28, 2012.]

 

When was the last time you saw a headline that read, “Buy low, sell high!” or, “Invest for the long-term.” Those don’t make very compelling headlines. While you may agree with the strategy, you’re probably more tempted to check out the story with a headline that reads, “‘Buy Low, Sell High’ is a Lie” – just to see what’s up with that.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Headlines can cause more harm than good,” at Morningstar.com, March 28, 2012.]

 

[CLICK HERE to take the quiz, “Decision Making and the Availability Heuristic,” at Annenberg Learner, retrieved March 30, 2012.]

 

But buried amidst breaking news headlines like, “Batman pulled over in Lamborghini,” you’ll find plenty of informational articles. Alas, they may have less dazzling headlines like, “Preparing for a Dividend-Tax Hike,” or an alliterative tongue twister such as, “Investors stick with stocks as stellar quarter ends.” Despite the tease, you’ll get an update on market news and perhaps a nugget of an idea to follow up on.

 

Ultimately, the news is good for learning about new trends and ideas, but less so for actionable advice. Working with an advisor is a far more personalized way to evaluate which financial moves are most likely to meet your unique needs, tolerance for risk, and timeline for achieving your goals. Please give us a call if you’d like to discuss your specific situation.

 

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