I've stopped watching "news"

Well, not really.

I actually watch more news now than I used to... or at least as much anyway. I just don't watch the same news.

Back when I worked for myself, I would always have Fox News or CNN on in the background. It would be blaring away with the important stories of the day and give me ample opportunities to look over and take in the "breaking news item" that I just could not miss. Eventually this just became the background noise that I need to concentrate when I work and while I had the news "on" I rarely cared about it because the signal to noise ratio just plain sucked.

Both Liberal and "fair and balanced" news companies both sound the same; "Bush did this, bush did that. Terror is coming... Run for your life! The world is ending!"

Recently something happened. I started watching Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert on Comedy Central and I was steeping myself in the steady stream of stock news at CNBC.

So Am I getting the "right" news or even, for that matter, am I getting "news" at all?

I think I am.

I think the quality and impartiality of my news is far better today than I ever received while watching Bill O'reily or little Wolfie Blitzer spouting off about some middle eastern this or "vegetable lady" that. Did you know that between CNBC and Comedy central, you can get all the real news and color commentary you need?

CNBC really only breaks a story that I need to know about, If a plane crashes I know it. If a terror plot thickens, I'm aware... The thing is though - they only do it once. I don't hear the same fifteen minute loop for the next three days. The CNBC audience is money driven. They need to know about world and national events, but only because they make stocks go up or down. Knowing that a hurricane is deadly will move stocks, knowing that the star reporter is having a hard time standing in the wind... well, that doesn't happen much.

As for John Stewart and Steven Colbert... They say more truth with a smirk than Billy O'Reilly can in an entire show.


So, for those of you who don't know, I'm deeply into stocks.

I watch CNBC every time I pass by a tv... Cramer is on the radio when I drive in to work... my Yahoo page has about a hundred stock symbols embedded in it and about a dozen stock site RSS feeds.

In short, I love this stuff.

I thought that I might pass on to you that while the stock market has been a bit down lately, it's still the best way to make money over the long haul. In fact, theory goes that you really should buy when everyone else is running for the door. (which I try to do... though I'm mostly "all in" at any one time, so I'm "buying" all the time)

I learned about three years ago that the "professionals" are hardly concerned with my income... Brokers care about "churn" in my account. That means that they make a commission every time I buy or sell something, but they make no money if my account just sits on a profitable stock.

Interesting conundrum for them...

So I looked at my brokerage account and saw the amount of money my broker made and compared it to the amount of money I lost. It was around that time that I decided that I could lose money as well as he could, maybe even better, so why did I need to pay him to help?

I began to invest for myself. In the first year, I pulled in a 140% return... Wow. I was floored. Now I know this is not normal. I'm not expecting it every year. In fact, this year I'm down about 10%. Nowhere near what I lost with the "professionals" but still down. In fact, my losses for my account are right around what they made in fees one year when they were in charge. but hey... who's counting.

I'm superstitious, so I'll knock on wood every time I discuss stocks. (I'm knocking on wood now)

So, in short. If I have one suggestion for you. Learn about stocks. Go buy books on it. Basic books that will teach you the fundamentals. Read the books. Make a fake stock portfolio on my.yahoo.com and follow it every day. It's OK to lose money in this fake portfolio... just learn why you lost it. Join a stock club. Watch CNBC. Read the financial section. It's really, really fun after you get into it.

If you have a hot stock tip, leave it below. ;-)