Author Topic: How do you avoid looking at financial news?  (Read 5673 times)

ScroogeMcDutch

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How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« on: January 14, 2015, 01:52:46 PM »
Hello all,

I know MMM propagates a low information diet, especially regarding financial news. I can look at it and realise that it's all noise, but I do have trouble not checking stock prices or financial news on a daily basis.

Do any of you have tips to avoid browsing the finance information on news sites, or on your phone? I have turned off all 'automatic' things as far as I have them, but in a lull I'll still go to some of the more financially oriented news sites.

Anyone have a good tip on this area?


ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2015, 02:02:42 PM »
I look at real estate listings that I might want to invest in instead. Haven't found one yet.

MgoSam

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2015, 02:18:47 PM »
I would recommend finding alternate things to do. For me, when I'm in the office I am usually on the computer and as such there is constant temptation to look up various sites (nothing blocked on my computer for some reason). For the longest time I was reading news articles and other things, but then I started to consciously force myself to look up things that relate to work and over time it became more of a habit, and I stopped looking at political blogs and news (and am happier as a result).

For actually following the news, I read The Economist, which I believe has fairly good coverage on what's going on in the world. I download the podcast each week and listen to it on my Ipod when driving or walking or whenever, and it keeps me reasonably informed and actually allows me to impress people at parties.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2015, 02:53:20 PM »
I don't do it. See, how easy is that?

If it's a need for reading material, there is a whole WORLD of knowledge out there to devour. You could spend a lifetime reading and learn a small fraction of the universe, and that's just what we pitiful humans understand of it!

To avoid multi-tab distraction, make your reading material on an e-reader or a physical book.

Beric01

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2015, 04:16:20 PM »
My biggest temptation is personal finance news. I couldn't care less about the state of the market (I'm a Boglehead through and through), but it's strangely satisfying to read personal finance articles on how Millennials are financially clueless, comment that I'm doing otherwise (paid off student loans, saving a lot of money etc.), and feel superior. It's not healthy and I need to stop. No clear action plan though...

iamlindoro

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2015, 04:18:31 PM »
I don't avoid financial news at all.  I just treat it as entertainment.  Once you've seen a couple cycles of "THIS IS THE ONE, YOU GUYS.  THIS IS THE BIG CRASH!" and it comes to nothing, you realize that nobody knows anything, and they're all just trying to pitch a product, and the daily changes of the market stop bothering you.  Took me about two years.

Dr. Doom

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2015, 04:36:07 PM »
I don't avoid financial news at all.  I just treat it as entertainment.  Once you've seen a couple cycles of "THIS IS THE ONE, YOU GUYS.  THIS IS THE BIG CRASH!" and it comes to nothing, you realize that nobody knows anything, and they're all just trying to pitch a product, and the daily changes of the market stop bothering you.  Took me about two years.
This describes me as well.  I'm mostly numb to news cycles at this point, so I really don't bother trying to ignore what's coming out of the media. 

On the other hand, I don't really actively seek out financial news either.  Heck, I see a headline, might even take a closer look.  I prefer to be informed (i.e. apprised of current events) at a high level while not getting dragged down into the details -- or obsessed with any particular story.

There's no reason you can't find a midpoint that works for you.  You might find your current checking is simply compulsive, in which case you have a problem with addiction.  Seek generic advice on breaking habits - it should be applicable.

MooseOutFront

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2015, 04:41:46 PM »
I check the markets every day because I enjoy it.  However, since most of the time I'm hoping they go down so my next automatic contributions are cheaper, I think looking is not a problem. 
« Last Edit: January 14, 2015, 10:16:32 PM by MooseOutFront »

YoungInvestor

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2015, 04:49:45 PM »
I do read a lot of financial news, even if I have never sold a share.

Curiosity is fine as long as it doesn't influence me to take irrational decisions, I guess.

vagon

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2015, 06:15:51 PM »
I would recommend finding alternate things to do. For me, when I'm in the office I am usually on the computer and as such there is constant temptation to look up various sites (nothing blocked on my computer for some reason). For the longest time I was reading news articles and other things, but then I started to consciously force myself to look up things that relate to work and over time it became more of a habit, and I stopped looking at political blogs and news (and am happier as a result).

For actually following the news, I read The Economist, which I believe has fairly good coverage on what's going on in the world. I download the podcast each week and listen to it on my Ipod when driving or walking or whenever, and it keeps me reasonably informed and actually allows me to impress people at parties.

+1
The Economist has a very good standard of researched articles with a global focus. This scratches your news itch and at the same time helps you avoid stupid filler or opinion in financial news. It also helps you to remain abreast of the important macro issues which may indicate a time to change your allocation e.g shares are extremely low - buy more than usual.

ScroogeMcDutch

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2015, 12:27:27 AM »
I would recommend finding alternate things to do. For me, when I'm in the office I am usually on the computer and as such there is constant temptation to look up various sites (nothing blocked on my computer for some reason). For the longest time I was reading news articles and other things, but then I started to consciously force myself to look up things that relate to work and over time it became more of a habit, and I stopped looking at political blogs and news (and am happier as a result).

For actually following the news, I read The Economist, which I believe has fairly good coverage on what's going on in the world. I download the podcast each week and listen to it on my Ipod when driving or walking or whenever, and it keeps me reasonably informed and actually allows me to impress people at parties.

This is good advice for me. I like articles from The Economist. It is indeed the subconscious 'I don't have anything to do right now' part of me that hits the news sites.

I don't avoid financial news at all.  I just treat it as entertainment.  Once you've seen a couple cycles of "THIS IS THE ONE, YOU GUYS.  THIS IS THE BIG CRASH!" and it comes to nothing, you realize that nobody knows anything, and they're all just trying to pitch a product, and the daily changes of the market stop bothering you.  Took me about two years.
This describes me as well.  I'm mostly numb to news cycles at this point, so I really don't bother trying to ignore what's coming out of the media. 

On the other hand, I don't really actively seek out financial news either.  Heck, I see a headline, might even take a closer look.  I prefer to be informed (i.e. apprised of current events) at a high level while not getting dragged down into the details -- or obsessed with any particular story.

There's no reason you can't find a midpoint that works for you.  You might find your current checking is simply compulsive, in which case you have a problem with addiction.  Seek generic advice on breaking habits - it should be applicable.

I do find most of the news to be entertainmentish as well, and I am sure if there is a big collapse even not looking won't help you either. I don't respond to the daily market swings at all, I was just curious how other Mustachians approach the topic.

I do agree that my current checking is slightly compulsive. It happens in the dull, lully moments and in the snap of a second I'll have one of those sites open, (or MMM, or other community sites). Do you have a pointer for such generic advice?

Grog

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2015, 01:00:30 PM »
Get your news from Wikipedia home page, they screen it only for Wikipedia -worthy stuff. Then click on random article and start reading and clicking hyperlink and tack, half an hour is lost and maybe you'be find out some funny shit you didn't know before

Dr. Doom

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2015, 01:23:29 PM »
Do you have a pointer for such generic advice?

Most habits are broken by replacement, i.e. you feel an urge to do something that you don't want to do and instead you substitute a different activity.  MgoSam was on the right track when he mentioned he started to look at work stuff instead of opening links to financial datafeeds.

Some people are able to do it by sheer force of will but this is more difficult (i will not check the ticker i will not i will not, wait I did. d'oh!)

The reason is that your brain is looking for a quick dopamine hit.  Looking at the ticker provides stimulus and your brain reacts one way or another by releasing chemicals.  You're probably used to this feedback loop so it's difficult to break.

You have to first recognize the trigger for your check, and then force yourself to engage in a different "approved" activity i.e. give your brain different stimulus.  I've taken to playing 2-3 minute sized online quizzes to test geography or history so I learn something useful during these tiny moments during the day that seemingly have no purpose.  Or I'll get a cup of tea.  But really, you've got to find something that is interesting for you.  It usually takes 3 weeks to create or break a habit.

Interesting link on internet addiction:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-wise/201209/why-were-all-addicted-texts-twitter-and-google

http://www.nirandfar.com/2013/10/how-to-break-5-soul-sucking-technology-habits.html





ScroogeMcDutch

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2015, 03:55:08 PM »
Thanks a lot for those links. I was already doing that for some habits that I am trying to break, and have many of the phone-ones (no push, no vibrate, charge in different room). Guess I'll just have to up the ante on some of the other habits :)

kiblebuka

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2015, 10:44:18 AM »
I don't read financial things because I typically don't understand all the words and numbers. Don't use my cable so I don't see the information on the TV, and my news reading consists of checking the CNN frontpage and my MSNBC RSS feed I don't feel like removing from my work mailbox.
When not around a computer at all, I'm pretty much clueless about the world unless something MAJOR happens to ruffle my friends on twitter (see last week)

dunhamjr

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2015, 10:49:43 AM »
i dont have new apps on my phone.
i just dont watch/read the news at all for the most part.
not even the weather.



Metta

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2015, 10:52:06 AM »
I don't avoid financial news at all.  I just treat it as entertainment.  Once you've seen a couple cycles of "THIS IS THE ONE, YOU GUYS.  THIS IS THE BIG CRASH!" and it comes to nothing, you realize that nobody knows anything, and they're all just trying to pitch a product, and the daily changes of the market stop bothering you.  Took me about two years.

It is even more fun, IMHO, to check each day and see headlines one day that say "Crash Imminent!" and then the very next day: "The Bull Market Will Go For Another Year!" MarketWatch is especially prone to this. I find it humorous. Also, if you are numbed by the constant noise, I think it doesn't come as such a painful shock when a real correction happens. You've seen it before and you know the strategy is still to stay steady, this too will pass.

On the other hand, I do avoid political and international news because I can do nothing substantive to affect it and it gives me nightmares to see wars, bombs, and other evidence of people's inhumanity toward each other.

MgoSam

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2015, 11:26:48 AM »
What are you invested in? When I owned stocks, I did feel justified in looking at the price many times a day because 'SOMETHING COULD HAPPEN." Which became too much of a distraction, and the temptation to sell stocks and buy other ones was too high. Since I switched to index funds, I am happier as a result and found it easier to avoid watching financial news. I do check to see how the indicators do, and do read the Economist to get general global and financial news, but beyond that I treat any other news as entertainment.

NinetyFour

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2015, 11:45:52 AM »
I used to check the Dow multiple times per day, and then check the Dow futures before the markets reopened the following day.  Every day.  Not sure why.  All that info never influenced any of my financial decisions as I still put away the same amount every month into my retirement accounts.

Last week, I decided to quit doing that and to just look at the markets (and my account balances) once per week.  The only difficulty is that when I open the NYTimes website, the market info is right at the top, so I have to quickly scroll down a bit to avoid it.

After just 10 days of this practice, I am deciding that I like it--I hadn't thought that watching the Dow stressed me out, but maybe it did--or maybe it was noise that I just didn't need rattling around in my head all day. 

Soon, I may decide to look at the markets and my account balances just twice a month--and then who knows, maybe once per month or even less often.

ShortInSeattle

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2015, 11:54:51 AM »
Remind yourself that your goal is more freedom and more free time.  So why waste the precious free time you have by reading a bunch of financial news?

Few of us say, "I can't wait for FIRE so I can read the financial news all day."

Figure out what you want to do with your precious free time and then go do that thing.

SIS

Metta

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2015, 01:23:36 PM »
What are you invested in? When I owned stocks, I did feel justified in looking at the price many times a day because 'SOMETHING COULD HAPPEN." Which became too much of a distraction, and the temptation to sell stocks and buy other ones was too high. Since I switched to index funds, I am happier as a result and found it easier to avoid watching financial news. I do check to see how the indicators do, and do read the Economist to get general global and financial news, but beyond that I treat any other news as entertainment.

I recently started looking at the financial news again when we approached the million mark because it sort of feels like the sort of thing millionaires do (and my husband will not let me fill a swimming pool full of money to roll around in). I am pretending that I have a monocle when I read it. I will probably get tired of it in a year or two. But for now it's kind of fun.

The last time I followed the financial news intensively was when we were learning how to invest in stocks and I was trying to match balance sheet information and all the terms to what was happening in the market (the mid-90s I think). It helped me to see how the spin works in the financial world and I appreciate the education my former self gave me by spending time on this and on the books that explain how to read financial statements. I feel reasonably ok reading documents issued by companies to the SEC now and while I cannot tell which companies will do well, I can generally see the more obvious naughtiness that my former self could not. At the time I had a real portfolio and a fake portfolio. The real portfolio we pretty much left alone. The fake portfolio we used to learn with. It was like a great big game. Eventually my husband took over the game and put real money into stocks.

As of now 80 percent of our money is in index funds of one sort or another. 20 percent of our money is in individual stocks. Our largest holding in the individual stocks is Apple (because it just keeps growing and growing). I think that there are about 20-25 stocks in the portfolio and overall it does fairly well, though there are losers that we sell to defray capital gains, of course. It actually beats our index funds, which I consider some sort of miracle. I keep thinking that this is the money we can afford to lose (this used to be money for my husband's "stock hobby"). I don't watch that portion of our money because I would be at the mercy of the passions of the moment if I did. (And I kind of feel that I would be ruining my husband's fun if I started second-guessing him.) I do sometimes send him stocks that look good to me as buys, but that's it.

Perhaps when I'm retired I will set up my own little stock portfolio. Or perhaps not. We'll see. For now I prefer watching the market broadly and watching stocks we don't own. It's more fun that way.

boarder42

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Re: How do you avoid looking at financial news?
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2015, 01:50:50 PM »
i love financial news i read it all the time ... i have 2 reactions
1. market going up - YAY i'm making money
2. market going down - YAY i'm buying at cheaper prices now.