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Avoid bad personal finance triggers

Psychologists tell us that certain triggers influence our behaviors. The food commercial that shows during a television show that airs at 6:00 p.m. is no accident. Neither are the weight loss ads that run in magazines and newspapers in January.

The same is true of “investment porn” disguised as information that comes through the media. The talking heads on CNBC or the “experts” that write for popular money magazines are “triggers” to get you to make bad investment decisions. It’s so tempting to read or hear about what you “should” be doing with your personal finances from so-called “experts.  In our minds we think, “This person is an expert on investments/finance/real estate/insurance and I’m not so I should listen to them and do what they say.”

Don’t believe it for a moment. Guard against these triggers that are just as likely to be trying to get you to do something that is bad for your personal finances as to help you. Don’t listen to the latest S&P 500 index update on the radio or television and don’t read the latest “must have” investment product review. These short-term driven impulses will drive you crazy and destroy your peace of mind. They will cause you unnecessary anxiety when you should relax. Trust your financial plan and let time and diversification work.