Everybody Panic, Again
Why are you not on a ledge? Haven’t you been reading and hearing the news? The end is near. Or the end of the bull run in the stock market. So, yes, the end of everything, of course.
That would be the inescapable conclusion that a consumer would draw from the news over the past week. In fact, faithful readers of MarketWatch.com might have had to change their underwear this morning after visiting the site. Visitors were greeted by the blaring headline “This is the most dangerous stock market since 2008.” Decorum prevented MarketWatch from putting an exclamation point on that, but web visitors probably supplied that in their reading.
I am one of those faithful MarketWatch readers. I have quite a bit of respect for the site but this tendency is troubling. It might seem like a fairly harmless amusement ride but real people do get hurt. These are the folks who will react on this news and sell low, mainly because they don’t have advisors who can slow clients down and guide them to the long-term view.
The consumer media hysteria is in a sense good news for advisors, who can provide a shelter from the lunacy. It’s even better news to agents selling annuities because they can tout the protection that their products offer against the seemingly capricious equities market.
Still, the whipsaw stock market coverage can only have a corrosive effect on consumer confidence about anything financial. It would be acceptable under the heading of scary, but necessary news if it were not just sheer fear-mongering.
MarketWatch blared another article from the same author, Michael Sincere, about a month ago. That headline was “Why this stock market will never go down.” Below is a list of his most recent articles.
I now wonder if Michael Sincere is just a fictional name meant to telegraph the joke. But it’s not funny to people out there who have fewer resources to depend on and cannot absorb another 2008-style plunge. Another plummet certainly can happen. Some people say it’s a matter of when. It might be now, but the last wolf was a lamb bleating loudly.
If you’re a financial advisor, now might be a good time to send a reassuring note to clients. If you agree that the markets are heading for a meltdown, of course, that would be something else to prepare your clients for.
If you’re a life insurance and annuity seller, now might be the time to welcome people under the protection umbrella.
Either way, it’s a good time for agents and advisors to step up as consumer media fall down.