Updated 03 September 2020
It’s not all doom and gloom out there. Chris Daems explains why we all need a little perspective.
The media in the UK perform an important task. Without a free press we wouldn’t have an insight into the dodgy dealings of some of our elected officials (my personal favourite being duck-pond related), an opportunity for a wide range of ideas on a massive range of subjects to be discussed and for us to have a perspective on topics we’d originally know nothing (or very little) about.
“While it’s important to be aware of the ‘big scary’ stuff, the danger is it unduly influences our viewpoint”
But there is a danger in taking too much guidance from the press. This danger is called a number of different things but I think the most appropriate way to explain it involves a canine analogy:
Man bites dog
I like to call it “taking the lead from the press” or “man bites dog syndrome” (lead… dog… do you like what I did there? Oh, nevermind!)
The exceptional v the ordinary
“But why’s that, Chris?” I hear you cry. Effectively the news we hear tends to be structured towards the exceptional things in our lives. Plane crashes. Terrorist attacks and financial collapse. Meaning, a fairly unusual things, such as: a dog biting a man, aren’t news. But a man biting a dog? Now there’s a story.
While it’s important to be aware of the ‘big scary’ stuff, the danger is it unduly influences our viewpoint.
All humans simplify to understand. But if we’re taking an approach based on the fact that we perceive the world to be ‘man bites dog’ it can be unhelpful when we make decisions, especially financial.
“What works for me in a lot of aspects of my life (including the health, work success and financially related bits) is having an independent perspective”
If we believe the world is really ‘man bites dog’ it alters the way we make decisions.
All of us make decisions based not on the reality of our situations but on our perception of it.
If we only take our perspective from ‘man bites dog’ stories as opposed to achieving a balanced view and making a more informed decision about our lives, financial and otherwise we’re in danger of suffering from one of the most dangerous impacts on many of our financial plans…
“If you’re so smart Chris,” I hear you say, “what’s the answer?” The most frank and direct one I can give is: “I don’t know”.
However what works for me in a lot of aspects of my life (including the health, work success and financially related bits) is having an independent perspective.
I find coaching, planning and talking through my goals, dreams and aspirations with a professional with knowledge in a specific area immensely useful. And stops me thinking that the entire world is ‘man bites dog’.
Don’t be apathetic. Take control of your finances by speaking with an independent financial adviser in your postcode.
About the author
Chris Daems is the director of Principal Financial Solutions and also an experienced financial planner with over 14 years experience in helping clients achieve their financial goals.
Please note: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by our contributing authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of unbiased.co.uk.