Money Magazine Can’t Time The Market, But Doesn’t Give Up

Like many people, I like reading personal finance magazines and subscribe to many of them. But you have to remember that in order to sell magazines, they also have to give people what they want, even if it isn’t sound advice. A great example of this is the recent Money magazine article titled 5 ways to know if the bull is over. The introduction reads:

Since Money Magazine last examined the health of the bull market (and pronounced it sound), consumer spending began slowing, several prominent buyout deals unraveled, and oh yeah – concerns about subprime mortgage loans going bad caused stocks to fall off a cliff.

After closing above 14,000 for the first time in late July, the Dow has since plunged nearly 1400 points, or 9.8 percent, close to an official correction. The S&P 500 has given up all of its gains for the year.

All this has added a certain cogency to the view that the five-year-old bull could be closer to the end of its road. So while you know better than to try to time the market – and you do, don’t you? – now is a good moment to check that your portfolio truly matches your appetite for risk.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for five signs that often precede a sharp turn ahead.

Now, let’s place this text through my patent-pending Financial Double-Talk Filter, and try reading it again:

We said the bull market would continue for a long time. We wrote entire articles just like this about it. We were wrong.

Yep. Wrong.

Remember, you shouldn’t try to time the market. Wait, what is that? You’re scared?

In that case, here are some ways to try and time the market!

Sigh. Did you see how smoothly they covered up their mistakes and moved on to the next hot topic? If everyone decided to hang themselves, I bet you’d see articles on how to get the best deal on rope!

(If you liked this, you might also enjoy my Anatomy of a Personal Finance Magazine Article.)

Comments

  1. LOL, I got my issue of Money yesterday and thought the same thing when I read that article.

  2. I lol’d at this. Those magazines are so irritating (though I admit to reading some articles now and then). I suppose it makes some sort of sense that they flip coins deciding how to call the market; if they had any sort of consistently good judgement, would the writers stay and write for a magazine, or make a million bucks a year working for a mutual or hedge fund?

  3. The one I find most irritating is smart money. I think they recommend 10-20 different stocks and mutual funds per issue. The truth is that once you master the basics, there’s not that much to learn (at least from the mainstream media). At this point, I pick up some new info from these publications every now and then, but 90% of the info is repetitive. So they have to make up gimmicks to keep readers. It would be nice if they had progressive information, like series on asset allocation or arcane tax law. Instead, they tell you to max out your Roth IRA in every single issue.

  4. Man… the last time I read Money magazine I felt dirty after reading it. Pretty much just spews the same basic info over and over again kinda like Men’s Health and their “Get Great Abs” articles. People are still wasting their money on such garbage?

  5. I don’t use anybody as a single definitive, unquestionable source of information, be it magazines, blogs (including this one) etc.

    There is good and bad info from every source. Certainly there are things I have learned from personal finance magazines and from Internet only sources. And certainly there are things that I have discarded from both sources.

    Certainly, both this blog and personal finance magazine have covered the ideas of David Swensen from Yale, high yield savings accounts, reward cards,setting up an emergency fund, paying down high interest credit card debt, funding your 401k fund to the max, etc.

    The important thing is to scrutinize the information, whatever the source, be it magazines, blogs, sites like the Motley Fool, etc.

  6. I think Money Magazine is a lousy magazine. I subscribed to it for a year (lured by the $9.99/yr offer) and promptly canceled the subscription at the year’s end. It offers little insight into investing or money management. The articles are often trumped up content of the current fad or hysteria. It doesn’t surprise me one bit that you discovered its double-talk.

  7. I have seen this many times. They think they have a handle on it. I think they should stick more to personal finance and keep the stock information broad and generic.

  8. So, experts.. besides Money Blog.. what is a GOOD magazine that publishes good financial advice?

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