The Wall Street Journal recently noted that they will be closing the backdoor search loophole to their content thereby forcing readers to subscribe. For those who aren’t aware of this trick – you can access most pay-for financial news sites by searching for the headline on Google. Clicking on that link takes you to the full article even if the site is behind a paywall. Now, some people call this “theft”, but it’s really just a greed driven loophole in the paywall business model. These companies want people to pay for the access, but they also want to get the Google juice from the search results. They’re trying to have their cake and eat it too. Of course, lots of people know the Google trick so they don’t fork over the cash for the subscription. Hence the WSJ move to close the loophole.
I noted on Twitter over the weekend that no one should pay for basic financial news. There is such an incredible abundance of high quality financial news that the price of this form of media has been driven down to $0. There are now thousands of Cullen Roches and people much smarter than me cranking out news and analysis on a daily basis. We are totally overloaded with high quality financial news. As a result, the big mainstream financial news sources have been marginalized and in the long-run, probably rendered void. So, with the overabundance of financial news, what should we be reading?
First, we should be careful with this financial news overload. This information overload isn’t making us better investors. In fact, I am pretty convinced that it’s making us worse investors because our brains can’t possibly process all of the information and it’s reducing our time frames down to something that is dangerously short. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad to keep up with the news. It’s good to be up to date with the world’s current events, but people in the financial world sometimes have trouble not acting on it. Finding that balance is crucial. You don’t watch CNN and go buy a gun every time they report something scary. Likewise, you shouldn’t get the urge to act on stock tips every time someone says something half smart sounding on a financial news station.
That said, simplifying your media consumption process will not only weed out a lot of the bad content, but it will also help you better process the news you do read. Although I have a huge number of sources I like to read daily, I’ve listed 5 that I think are absolutely essential. When I’m in a crunch for time I always try to make time for these 5. By filtering through these 5 just once a day you’ll cover more than everything you need and you won’t pay a dime for it:
- The Bloomberg View Blog. Bloomberg View is the free blog at Bloomberg. They have an amazing line up of contributors and they cover a huge array of content.
- Street Eye. Street Eye is a cool site that aggregates the top voted content from Finance Twitter. It’s sort of a Reddit for finance using Twitter as the aggregator. It consistently ranks the best content every day. This has quickly become one of my go-to sites for financial news.
- The FT Alphaville Blog. The FT Alphaville blog is the free blog for the Financial Times. It’s run by some very smart people who write for the FT. They consistently post thoughtful and pertinent content. Their Further Reading section is always filled with good outside content.
- Abnormal Returns. AR is the popular aggregator run by Tadas Viskanta. Tadas is a wizard at aggregating content and consistently cultivates the most pertinent reading lists. He is, quite simply, the man when it comes to financial content aggregation.
- Pragcap’s Must Reads. This is my personal Must Read list from Twitter. It’s very diverse covering both econ and finance. If I am in a super crunch for time I just scan through this. If you cover the last few hours of content you’re more than covered on most days. You can always find it on the top right of the toolbar on the front of the site.
There it is. I hope you find it helpful.
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.