Tuesday 27 January 2015

Relax... The sky is probably not falling.

As a follow-up to my post yesterday about fear itself being the thing to fear most in the market, today I would like to caution you about 'scary' news headlines, and not give in to the Chicken Little effect.

I don't think it is a good idea to look at the world through rose-coloured glasses, either, but you need to be aware that there can be a very negative slant on the news we are inundated with every day.  If you glance through any daily newspaper, it can be depressing.  Unfortunately, new services love bad news because negative headlines are emotionally provocative and grab your attention.

Most of us have a general sense of this, and there is the old media saying about negative headlines,  "if it bleeds, it leads."  Meaning stories and headlines that inspire some level of fear are likely to capture your attention and get you to read the article.  And I have just come across a perfect illustration of how a headline can change the entire tone of a story.

I receive regular email updates Real Estate Professional (www.repmag.ca), and yesterday I had an email for a story titled "Lower rates set to benefit first-time buyers".  Okay, that sounds interesting.  Except at some point between the email coming and my clicking through to the article, someone at REP decided to change the title to "Lower rates doing nothing for up-sizing clients".  Well, that doesn't sound so good at all, does it?  Even though it is the same story.  But someone felt that a change in headline was necessary.  Really?

With a decline possible in some markets, especially in Alberta, watch out for media seizing the opportunity to write dramatic headlines.  And there are always the doomsayers looking for an opportunity to get into the news. Read the articles carefully and with critical thought.

If that sounds like too much effort, ignore them and focus on your own circumstances.  The national economy is not under your direct influence, but your personal economy is.

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