Staying on track to reach your long-term goals is difficult. It doesn’t matter whether those goals focus on diet, fitness or your personal finances. However, building up your resistance to negative forces will help you to succeed.
To reach your personal finance goals, your first step is to recognize the negative forces so you can build your resistance. Some of those forces are more obvious than others, which makes them easier to resist. For example, there’s the little voice that tells you to buy a shiny new widget to replace the completely functional but less shiny old widget.
Other forces are less obvious. Becoming aware of them will help you to reduce their impact. In the world of personal finance, the two biggest negative forces are the financial press and Wall Street.
The financial press has an incentive to mislead you. Why? Those companies are in business to sell advertising, not to offer sound wealth management advice. They emphasize what boosts their advertising revenues over what’s good for you. Controversy, bombastic behavior, and hype bring more viewers to their websites and shows. This means higher ad rates.
Wall Street thrives on the same issues but for a different reason. Wall Street makes money from transactions. Investors will move money if they are anxious about missing the next great deal or avoiding the next great disaster. As a result, Wall Street also talks up short-term moves.
If you’re aware of these biases, you can still listen to financial news and the pronouncements of Wall Street. Your knowledge will build your resistance to misguided, shortsighted moves. Instead, you’ll act in the context of your long-term goals and objectives.
Thinking about the long term is important. To work for your long-term success, you should save, track spending, diversify, keep your costs low, and watch your taxes. This focus will prevent you from being whipsawed by the market’s short-term reactions to financial news and Wall Street pronouncements.