Where do you get your news? Is it from CNBC or The Wall Street Journal? Fox News or The New York Times? You trust the media to give you the appropriate information. But what happens when you’ve been led astray? You may think all information on these news websites – or others – is accurate; however, sometimes the information is designed to be misleading. Some news is news, while other news may be ‘sponsored’ news.
When you read misleading articles, this is a form of fake news, especially if you’re clicking on a website link through social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. There’s also something called ‘spoofing’ a website in which an illegitimate website is designed to look exactly like trusted media sites so you believe the information. These websites deliberately publish misinformation for political or financial gain. And sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fake: according to the Pew Research Center, 62% of Americans use social media to stay up to date with the latest news, meaning a ‘fake’ story can spread quickly, or as they say, go ‘viral.’ This makes it easier for these websites to gain traffic and confuse individual investors like you.
Simply put, fake news has made it more challenging for you to make educated financial decisions. Fake news also creates unnecessary emotion and turmoil. Making educated financial decisions will help you create a more sustainable lifestyle now and for retirement. Here are a few ways you can protect yourself.
Be careful what you click on
Many reputable websites ‘aggregate’ stories, meaning they show you a collection of articles coming from all different sources. That can offer you a lot of options, but the assortment can also create some confusion. When you see a headline that you find interesting, take a second to check: is the word ‘Sponsored’ anywhere near it? Just understand that these are paid articles, like a commercial. So any content or advice in these types of articles could be slanted in a particular manner, possibly to convince you to buy (or buy into) a specific product, service, or investment strategy.
Do your research
If it doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. If you’re questioning a story’s legitimacy, search for it within other reputable news resources. If you don’t see this piece of news elsewhere, it may be fake. Many companies have a ‘news’ section on their website. If this news is legit, it would most likely be in their press releases. By doing some research you can uncover if the information at hand is accurate.
Monitor your emotions
Simply Money Advisors recommends working with a trusted financial planner to help navigate your money goals. Your financial planner should (hopefully) be up-to-date on all the latest news and help you create a financial plan you can stick to for the long term. This helps eliminate the urge to hop on the latest investment trend or sell a specific stock because of a recent press release. Having a personalized financial plan will help you stay on track and take the emotion out of investing. You will be less likely to get off course over a news article since you have a structured and strategic financial plan.
The Simply Money Point
By educating yourself and working with a financial planner (preferably a Certified Financial Planner™) you can stay on track to reach your financial goals. If you read an article and you are unsure of the information, do your research and consult with your financial planner. This way you can be assured you have the correct information to make the correct financial decisions.
Want a second opinion on a financial product or service you’ve been pitched? We invite you to talk with our team.