It’s one thing to acquire a special set of knowledge, but it’s something completely different have the means to share that knowledge with others. So it goes with my current devotion, the desire to prove convincingly that but for a lack of understanding about how economies work, many, many more people would be substantially better off than they are now.
I’ve previously had the opportunity to broadly discuss this topic in this forum, but the emphasis here is about what I believe is a colossal failure on the part of corporate media to truthfully report on what it takes to succeed financially in America. One of my biggest goals this year and beyond is to shatter those fallacies and offer guidance on a true, correct and successful path to enrichment.
To be clear, I spent 30-years in broadcast news, which gives me some familiarity with the business. My career ended in 2012, so it’s been more than a few years since I left that line of work, but even way back then, the media were – in my opinion – deceiving viewers about how to be successful with their money. None of what’s written here is meant to be advice, because no competent Financial Planner would make any recommendation without first completing a thorough, somewhat exhausting analysis of an individual’s current circumstances. This is exactly the point. How many times do you hear about “hot stocks” or what mutual funds to buy now? My suggestion to you is this – when you hear those words, change the channel.
I’m convinced that no one, absolutely no human can predict with any consistent degree of accuracy exactly what the securities markets will do from one moment to the next, yet nearly every day there’s someone on television, radio or in print trumpeting brashly about how you should handle your nest egg. That’s crazy. I’ve witnessed first-hand the detrimental impacts of these predictions and have seen individuals forfeit hundreds of thousands of dollars attempting to follow trends or try to time when to buy and when to sell. Every time I hear people discuss how much money they’ve lost investing two things come to mind – they were not properly invested, or they bailed-out of their holdings at the wrong time.
One message I wish to impart on everyone who reads this; faith and belief in the economy will serve you extremely well. I believe that history provides proof that things ultimately improve over time. Author Nick Murray writes about this is his book called, “Behavioral Investment Counseling” and one premise is, history shows that the march of mankind is – over time – a favorable one. “My father was born in 1909” he writes. “(H)is life expectancy was 47 years. I was born in 1943; my life expectancy at birth was 64 – an age I’ve already passed. My grandson…was born in 2002; his life expectancy at birth was 78. (And heaven knows how much his life expectancy will be extended by medical advances during his lifetime, just as yours and mine have been.) That four-generation jump in life expectancy – about 30 years – is roughly equal to the increase which took place between the age of the Neanderthals, 35,000 years ago, and the birth of my father.”
When seen in context, mankind’s progress is nothing short of impressive, but for whatever reason, people lose that context and what was once extraordinary, seems to become commonplace. Murray calls it “the commoditization of miracles.” My wife speaks into her watch and it speaks back to her. It seems ordinary now, but when I was young that was the stuff of Dick Tracy. (He’s a comic book character, for those of you under age 50.)
One more quote from the Nick Murray book. He cites the words of Warren Buffett: “It won’t be the economy that will do in investors; it will be investors themselves.” The truth is, one of the most important endeavors for people in my profession is to keep individuals from reacting to current events, which is the anthesis of what popular media espouse. Warren Buffett alluded to this as well when he said, in so many words, that the stock market is designed to transfer wealth from the impatient to the patient. A well designed, well diversified, high-quality arrangement is often best left alone.
These are the things that occupy my mind and my desire is to deliver this message to as many people as possible in 2024. Wish me luck.