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Financial News: Is It Informative or Exaggeration?

Seth Jentner07/28/2016

Marcus Aurelius wrote: “If it is not true, don’t say it. If it is not right, don’t do it.”

What responsibility does the financial media have to avoid behavior that could harm other people?

For example: Research indicates that the tabloid press does not live up to their role of informing the public with accurate information. People who regularly read tabloids have twice a negative view of life compared to those who don’t read the tabloids. If the facts are distorted, the conclusions people make are likely to be in error. The same is true for money. According to Dalbar’s Quantitative Analysis of Investor Behavior, research indicates that consumers who make financial and investment decisions based on daily news headlines typically have disappointing results.

The financial media has a responsibility to observe a duty of care—conveying information accurately, in an undistorted manner. Active, informed debate and discussion of contrasting ideas are valuable and important. But distorting daily news to grab attention and promote emotional responses can be harmful.

When you watch or listen to financial news, do you become informed, or do you respond emotionally with fear or greed?

I typically speak to consumers. But today I speak also to the financial media.

Financial reporters, avoid rumor and attention-grabbing exaggerations. It is not the role of the media to inflame but to inform.

Consumers, avoid listening to rumors, conspiracy theories, and sales pitches. Instead, do your homework. Work with a trusted financial fiduciary to develop a balanced financial and investment plan.

For more insight, listen to Jentner Wealth Management’s weekly podcast by clicking here. Or download Jentner’s white papers on The Four Cornerstones of Prudent Investing and The Active Versus Passive Investing Debate.