What a pity it's still the case private investors rely on the media for investment or economic information.
I write this around the day when most of us give up on New Year's Resolutions, but I have a plea.
Make one new resolution and stick to it: Stop listening to the media on this because they haven't a clue.
Think about how many wrong predictions have been made by them, and their so-called experts.
Two years ago it was the collapse of Dubai that was supposed to be the end of the World.
Then it was Greece, Ireland, Iceland, and Bird Flu.
Last year it was the Japanese tsunami, the US debt downgrade and the Euro crisis.
Every day we're told the Stockmarket goes up or down because of one fact or another - a constant focus on kneejerk short-termism and an obsession with disaster.
And yet we're still here.
So How About Some Perspective?
How about paying attention to facts rather than disaster tinged fiction?
Let's take one example, this thing they call GDP. In a conversation over lunch last week with a real expert who does know what's what I asked how they calculate it.
Let's face it most of the stuff we're told by the Government or the Inland Revenue is wide of the mark.
Or completely wrong!
I don't know anybody who has ever been asked what their GDP is - that's income and the impact on the economy so that you're informed - but it's an estimate.
Techniques like that create sampling error which could be plus or minus 2%, or maybe even higher.
So when you're told that Italy's GDP plummeted 0.2%, don't believe it. It might have actually gone up.
Remember PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain)?
Weren't they supposed to bring down the World economy?
Here's a bit of perspective - the total GDP of these four is the same as the increase in GDP last year of the US and China.
Their total GDP is less than the annual income of the UK, or Brazil.
Big global impact? Not really.
Today we all know the Euro is going to collapse, the UK economy is stuffed, and the US, at best, is a basket case (tongue stuck firmly in cheek!).
And everybody knows there is no point investing in stockmarket funds.
Which is probably why in November 2011, record sales were recorded from equity funds.
What happened to it? It went to the flavours of the day; Cash, Gilts, etc…
As to this year, we're probably in for another few months of volatility.
But I think 2012 could be the year when the surprises are pleasant ones, those coming out of left field, creating gains for patient investors who buy quality funds managed by old heads who have been round the block a few times.
And there should be good news coming from China.
We shouldn't ignore this is the year of the Dragon, a Chinese year of good luck, confidence and optimism.
As an investor you have to consider whether the World economy is growing or contracting.
It is growing, interest rates are at a long term low and there are companies whose share prices are fantastic value for money.
I know where I will place my investment money and it's not in deposit and Bonds!
Alan Steel is Chairman of Alan Steel Asset Management