If I had known several years ago, that going down the CNBC path would be so addictive, I would have switched to the Cartoon Network.
It all started back in 2006 or maybe 2005, I’m really not sure, probably earlier. My job allowed me the unfortunate opportunity to watch daytime TV. I worked nights, or at least evenings to early mornings. While most people came home from their 9 to 5, I was off to work. Which was fine by me. Except one thing, there is almost nothing of value on daytime TV!
Once you get through the talk shows, soaps, People’s Court rip offs, and reruns, you’re left with sports news, world news and market news. I found out real quick that sports news tends to be on a repeat news cycle until the nightly games start. World news can be way to negative. Certainly educational, but depressing.
Then there was CNBC! I was immediately hooked and needed my daily fix.
You see, I’ve been a market junkie for a good portion of my life. The concept of taking money to make more money has always been intriguing to me. Especially when the things you’re buying have no useful physical form. You buy stocks and bonds (mutual funds or ETFs) but their just pieces of paper. Yet it has a value that fluctuates. And CNBC turned those fluctuations into crack TV.
They parade the latest and greatest on Wall Street in front of you like pigs at a county fair. The best of the best fund managers, traders and stock pickers. Anyone who made a great prediction and made an obscene amount of money. And the anchor wants to know the next big thing. The new hot stock to invest in.
There’s only one problem with all this information. It’s all fast money and I’m not a trader. Nor do I want to be one. It goes against my entire investing philosophy. Sure I have short term investments from time to time. But the bulk of the money is invested for the longer term. The complete opposite of what its programming is about.
CNBC is a “now” driven machine but my money is earmarked for the future. These two things just don’t go together. And I’m glad I recognized it early on. It’s the unfortunate side effect of news driven media. The “now” sells ad space but it does nothing for our money that’s being invested for the next 10 or 20 years.
It’s one thing to know and understand what’s going on in the economy and markets. Which CNBC does a great job reporting on. But acting on that news is another animal. How are one days events going to affect our retirement savings 20 years from now? CNBC or any other financial media source, for that matter, doesn’t have our investment goals in mind. It’s our responsibility to keep the two separate. Which is easier said than done, but necessary.
I doubt I’ll be quitting CNBC cold turkey anytime soon. But my investments have been clean for years.