Snow Day with CNBC

This winter was brutal—especially by North Carolina standards.  Being snowbound for a couple of days, I found myself being drawn to CNBC (the business news network), where economist, portfolio managers and market pundits discussed the financial markets, the economy and a host of other financial topics. After watching shows with names like Squawk Box, Mad Money, and even Fast Money, I couldn’t help but wonder how most people think about these shows, as well as their dynamic and usually all-knowing hosts. Does the average person really believe that these “personalities” are true experts that have a magical foresight to predict what will happen next in the financial markets or the economy?Are there really people watching these shows who place trades in their own portfolio based on recommendations from a total stranger who has no concept of the viewer’s goals, financial profile or risk tolerance?Sadly, I feel certain that there will always be a segment of the population who genuinely believe there is a certain magic when it comes to investing and accumulating wealth. Many falsely believe that there is a certain investment product, unique investment strategy, or advisor who can generate consistent, market-beating, risk-free returns.This is simply not true! The truth of the matter is that successful investing is hard work. It takes sacrificing current consumption in order to save money for the future. It takes sticking with a long term investment approach, even when the future seems ominous. It also requires taking full advantage of financial planning opportunities that can serve to strengthen your financial standing over time. I guess television shows with names like Stay the Course, Slow and Steady or even Realistic Investor wouldn’t lure enough advertising dollars to generate profits for the network. In fact, I doubt there would be enough content to have an entire hour long show that people could watch on the occasional snow day.