Surrounding the fiscal cliff, media stories were filled with fear and uncertainty. There was much hand wringing and worrying about the future: what Washington’s decision would mean for their personal finances. And everyone forgot that the most import aspect of their finances was their own personal control.
I was reminded of this lesson when reading the Wall Street Journal article, which reported that the Dow Jones plunged briefly after the Associated Press tweeted from their corporate Twitter account that two explosions at the White House had left the president injured.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 145 points between 1:08 and 1:10 EST, oil dropped 0.7%, and the dollar fell. All quickly recovered after the Associated Press announced that their Twitter account had been hacked and that the tweet was false.
The article stated, “Observers said the episode highlighted the growing use by players in financial markets of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and underscored the dangers of security breaches at a time when many investors are quick to trade on the news.”
Clearly, when episodes like this happen, financial experts should take a step back and a second look. Social media is, after all, not always a reliable source of news. A staff member at JonesTrading Institutional Services LLC wisely reminded employees via the company loudspeaker, “Careful, those things can be hacked,” according to the article.
What to take away from the article is this: when we focus on what we can control—how much we save, whether or not we think ahead, how we think about risk, and where we get help—and not about the latest market scare caused by volatile trends and media news, we can have a greater impact with our wealth and our lives.