Everybody has an opinion about which way the market is going to turn. One group of people I really take issue with are the prognosticators. The people that come out and say, “Exxon-Mobil is a great buy right now.” Or, “Our research has found that the consumer goods market for India is about to experience a big economic boom.”
You see this stuff everywhere. Literally. Magazines, newspapers, radio, tv, and, of course, all over the internet. It makes normal people like you say, “this is so complicated. I would like to invest but I have no idea what to do.”
This is heartbreaking because this perceived complexity is a lie. Investing is not complicated.
Think about this for a second.
Bob and Jenny Jones rent houses for a living. They have become extremely adept at finding good opportunities in the area.
So one day Jenny finds a steal. There is an older home that needs a lot of TLC, but it is located in a growing neighborhood, and the price point is perfect for maximizing rent at the lowest cost to her.
Jenny shows Bob excitedly. “Let’s jump on this! Before anyone else finds out.”
So Bob goes on his Facebook page and posts: “I’ve found a great rental house. It’s located at 450 Main St. and I believe it could be a really great investment. I’m going to try to buy it before anyone else. You’d be crazy not to buy this thing. Easy money.”
Does that make sense? Why in the world would Bob run around telling everyone about this kind of opportunity? Wouldn’t he want to keep it a secret? The more people that know about it the worse the opportunity becomes.
Why am I telling you this story?
Let’s say a “super fancy Wall St. guy” goes on TV and says, “We have a strong buy rating on Coca-Cola. Our research shows that their new initiatives will increase market share across the world. Of the thousands of stocks we monitor, we feel this is the best buy.”
Why would they tell us this?!
Why would you go around telling everyone about an opportunity? If these guys think it is so great, why don’t they dump their own money into the stock? Why don’t they keep all this as quiet as possible?
You don’t see Warren Buffett have a news conference and say, “I am going to buy 30% of Heinz’s outstanding stock in a month. It is an incredible value.”
Maybe you are thinking, “They are pumping up a stock which they already own. Maybe they buy the stock first and then tell everyone else about it so the value will increase?”
That is illegal. Very very illegal. You don’t mess with the SEC on this one. We are talking long jail sentences.
So maybe these guys are just genuinely trying to help you with information so that you can make better decisions.
Obviously, all of this is a ploy to-you guessed it- make money.
By getting on TV, these guys get the good reputation they need to attract investors, off of which they collect fees. In fact, many of these guys pay to get on there. I have been approached to go onto CNBC for a short interview. It costs over $100,000. That is how important media exposure can be for Wall St. guys.
Not only that, the networks need to fill airtime, so they can show more commercials, so they can make more revenue. So it turns into a vicious cycle where the Wall St. guys and networks win. You lose.
You lose because it plants the seed that you don’t know what you are doing. It plants the seed that you should be adjusting your investments every three minutes. You lose because you end up not investing at all- in fear of making a mistake.
Don’t let yourself be manipulated. Put your money into a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds and invest for the long term. When you see one of these fancy guys in a tie of TV, just say to yourself, “I’m on to you. You’re not going to trick me anymore. The more I watch you the worse off I’m going to be.”