4 Steps to Surviving Information Overload

Oct 22, 2012 | Independent fiduciary

It’s October 2012, and as Americans we have some important decisions to make. The fast-approaching election, whichever way it turns out, will strongly impact the direction of our economy, our government, and our social policy in the coming few years, and we are still fighting our way out of tough times.

It’s the midst of debate season: candidates are taking stances, campaign reps are spinning statements, and commentators are weighing in left and right, from newscasters to ordinary citizens with personal blogs and passionate opinions. So how does a person begin to sort out the facts from the rhetoric when it comes time to actually make a choice? In today’s perpetually plugged-in world, the whirlwind of information can be overwhelming.

The information-overload dilemma arises not just with politics, but with finances. If you aren’t well-versed in investment and finance, it can seem like everyone in the banking industry is speaking another language. There’s a lot of buzz around money, and it can be hard to tune out the noise. But you absolutely can become empowered to make informed financial decisions.

  • Focus on what you can control.

Remember that you are the one in control—of your money, of your priorities, and of your plan. We are all politically empowered with the ability to cast our vote, and we all have the ability to become financially empowered as well. What it takes, is taking charge—don’t let the wealth of information intimidate you out of making informed decisions for your wealth!

  • The sooner you start, the better.

The first step is to realize that what you do—or don’t do—now in terms of saving and investing will have a huge effect on your future, regardless of what lies in our future as a country with regards to Medicare and Social Security. That’s the beauty of compounding: the more time you have, the bigger the payoff for investing.

Of course, you have day-to-day needs—bills, rent, mortgage, providing for your family—but building the kind of portfolio that can support your needs in retirement is just as critical, though it may not seem as pressing today. It’s never too early to start—but it’s never too late, either!

  • Think in terms of your long-term goals.

Articulate your short-term goals, like a vacation or a car, and your long-term ones, like owning a home or paying for your children’s education. Make sure to keep these in focus, and have a clear idea of what kind of lifestyle parameters you need to maintain to make them happen.

  • Seek out the right advisor.

If you do seek an advisor to help manage your finances, how do you begin to sort out the people who have a vested interest in selling you certain funds or investment plans—the financial spin doctors—from the people who will guide you to a plan that makes the most sense for you? The answer is to find an independent fiduciary advisor. A fiduciary is legally required to uphold their clients’ best interests.

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