Noise, Information and Useful Stuff

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP



Do me a favour.

Try to remember a time when you read or heard something about money in the news, you acted on it, and then, with the benefit of hindsight, you were glad you did.

This could include any number of things: the latest IPO, bear markets, bull markets, mergers, market collapses.

Go ahead, I’ll wait. Close your eyes and think about it.

I’ve done this experiment hundreds of times around the world, and I’ve only had one person come up with a valid example. It was news about a change in the tax law.

That’s it.

Isn’t that interesting?

Think of all the financial pornography out there. Almost all of it is noise. Almost none of it is actionable.

Sure, occasionally, there is this little, teeny tiny speck of information that might be useful. But you sure must wade through a lot of garbage to get to it.

This leads to one obvious question: Why are we paying attention to the noise in the first place?

It might be fun if you’re into that kind of thing. You know, like going to the circus. But most likely, it’s just a waste of time.

What if, instead of obsessing over the financial pornography network, you used that time to work on that list you have.

You know, “The List.” The one that has all the important things you actually want to do with your time.

Doesn’t that sound so much better than spending another hour watching business channels or reading financial news?