I spent Thanksgiving Day at my parents’ house, nibbling on turkey and all the fixings with siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
It’s one of the few times during the year we’re all together and have a chance to do some catching up.
And while I cherish the time I get to spend with them, I must say that a growing disparity between our interest in, and understanding of, world events and global markets is apparent.
Sheeple of the highest order
Post pumpkin pie, football was turned on and laptops brought out to e-stalk family and friends abroad via Facebook.
My attempts to inject the conversation with current events like the Korean situation or China’s holding hostage of rare earth metals were for naught.
“Who cares about that?” I heard my 20-year-old female cousin say as she continued a more important task: finding her dad a new ringtone for his cell phone. She lives at home, isn’t enrolled in college, and has worked at the same pharmacy since high school.
Her mom alluded that I was some kind of elitist yuppie when I used the words colloquialism and neophyte at the dinner table.
These are the type of people who would rather read the local paper than the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. They’re more interested in a car accident that happened two towns away than world events with political and economic implications.
American consumerism is their religion; primetime network TV their Bible.
They eat out four nights a week, buy all the latest gadgets, and wonder why they can never save any money. They list their underwater house for sale for $100,000 more than it’s worth, and wonder why no one is interested.
They complain they can’t get ahead, but have never invested a penny in their lives…
They are sheeple of the highest order.
Break the cycle
It’s an easy trap to fall into. And the only way to get ahead is to recognize the trap — and willfully step around it.
Here are some things I do that you may find helpful:
Avoid local news like the plague.
Record TV shows and skip the commercials.
Read — anything but tabloids or People.
Buy new things only when needed. Repair. Reuse.
Open a brokerage account and invest.
We’ve been trained to lose ourselves in the mundane. And the latest IEA report should be bigger news than the DWTS finale. Our lack of an energy policy should be of more concern than Lohan’s next court date.
Get grounded, then take off
If you give yourself a solid foundation, it’s hard to be shaken.
Get worldly. Read some Tolstoy. Browse some Nietzsche. Learn about other countries and cultures.
Get familiar with your world. There are 6.7 billion of us here now, all vying for portions of the earth’s limited resources: oil, gas, metals, minerals, food, water…
The family in China that doesn’t have enough of these resources doesn’t care what ringtone you have; but you can bet they’ll work and try to educate themselves until they can secure an adequate share of those resources.
It’s this constant back and forth — having and wanting, supply and demand — that creates a market. And once you’re in tune with it, making money is easy.
Start every day with a dose of market news. I look at current gold and oil prices and whether stock futures are up or down in the morning before I hit the shower. Try to digest a few of the day’s headlines from a major, reputable news sources at that time as well.
Our new, free service, Wealth Wire, is designed as a one-stop-shop to help you do just that. Once you’ve acclimated yourself to global markets and news cycles, it will be much easier to place winning trades.
Start small. Buy a Dow or S&P fund on a day everything points to up. Pick up a few shares of that oil driller you’ve been reading about.
It’s only with skin in the game do you really pay attention to — and care about — what’s going on in the world around you.
Call it like you see it,