It seems you can’t turn on the TV or the Radio or look at a newspaper these days without hearing the expression “Fake News” being thrown at some person or institution.
This is usually followed by a long, emotional explanation as to why that specific institution or person is not being honest in what they are saying or doing. Why has this become such an epidemic these days?
Well, I guess you could say it was inevitable in some ways because of the technological progress that we have made over the past several decades. In the past, before the advent of cable news and the Internet, we had limited resources with which to verify what our leaders, politicians, and large corporations were telling us. But now things have changed dramatically!
Today, I would say that instead of very limited means to verify what we are being told to believe, we now have an overabundance of sources to get our information. With this increase of sources, we are confronted with differing and opposing ideas as to what the facts are in many different aspects of our lives. Of course, the main place we hear about “Fake News” is in the Media when discussing Politics. One side has one version of the Facts and the other side has the exact opposite version of the same Facts. And if you listen to either side they both put up convincing arguments as to why they are right and the other side is peddling “Fake News”. Both sides will have their “experts” that will make their argument and discredit the opposing viewpoint.
But that is not the only place where we hear about “Fake News”. In Health matters, we hear all kinds of conflicting advice. You can read an article touting all the health benefits of coffee for instance, and then you can Google and find lots of articles as to why it is bad for you. All these articles seem to have Scientists and Doctors with impeccable credentials standing behind their position- but both sides can’t be right! We have seen the argument that eggs cause high cholesterol and now we read articles that eggs actually promote good cholesterol. People pay extra to have “egg whites” and now we read the most nutritious part of the egg is the yolk! Whom are you going to believe?
When it comes to your hard-earned money it is the same thing. There are so many opposing views about what you should be doing to protect your money, grow your money, and make sure you do not run out of money in retirement. You hear all sorts of differing opinions from differing sources- a lot of it “Fake News”. I have been working in this field for over 18 years I see this all the time. It is amazing the things that are passed off as facts. There are all sorts of half-truths and false statements that are routinely repeated to try and influence people to a certain conclusion. It gets very confusing- so what should you do?
Well many of us today rely on probably the most untrustworthy source to guide us to the true facts- Google! Now Google itself is not bad, and in fact, can be very helpful. Does anybody remember the Yellow Pages? I don’t know if they are even published anymore? If you need to find a plumber fast or find the nearest pizza place for delivery Google can get us that type of information faster and easier than the Yellow Pages ever could. But it is also a place where anybody can be seen as an expert and with high credibility just by being able to get listed at the top of the Google ratings. Anybody can put up a website and proclaim themselves an “expert” in anything and with the right marketing be seen as such by the Search Engines. There is a whole industry called SEO (Search Engine Optimization) where computer specialists work to make sure your company or product comes up at the top of the listings for the particular subject you want to be found under. Because of that, you cannot be sure that just because someone or some company has a high ranking that they are trustworthy.
When you are looking to protect your financial future especially, do not rely on “Fake News” or Google to tell you what you should do or whom you should believe. Taking the wrong advice or being influenced by someone’s position online can be catastrophic to your retirement. Make sure that you do more research than just a Google search before you trust your financial future to anyone. Make sure you are not getting your information from bogus sources that claim to be independent but have hidden agendas with lots of false and misleading information- there are plenty of them peddling “Fake News”. Go to credible third-party sources like the Better Business Bureau that can give you an objective history of the person or company you are considering doing business with. See how long they have been in business and what their track record and credentials are. Meet with them and make sure you are comfortable with them and what they are proposing.
I’ve spoken with so many people who have told me that they had made mistakes in the past and that they had not felt comfortable with their agent or what the person was proposing but they had gone along with it anyway and now they regret it. If you do take these extra steps you will be going a long way to avoiding the “Fake News” that could ruin your retirement.