A recent article in the US suggested that eight out of 10 Americans look online in the first instance for answers to health and medical problems. With the growth of smartphones and free apps (such as the plethora available free from the NHS on Appstore) this is a trend that’s likely to get stronger.
Unfortunately, technological advancements have led to a new medical condition that practitioners now have to deal with – ‘Cyberchondria’.
Collins English Dictionary defines Cyberchondria as: ‘[the] unfounded anxiety concerning the state of one’s health brought on by visiting health and medical websites’.
When I finished reading the article, apart from an overwhelming urge to delete all of my health-related apps so I could live a happier healthier life, I started to think about other things we do and look at online that could cause us anxiety.
Probably the most common of these is related to finances. Websites like moneyfacts.co.uk, comparethemarket.co.uk and moneyadviceservice.org.uk, deliver huge amounts of information about how we can make our money work harder, grow faster and spread further.
On top of that, there are a large number of online products available that enable us to invest, manage our money and plan our financial affairs. We certainly do not lack choice.
However, as with health, this could lead to self-diagnose that our finances are in a very poor state, or worse urging us to review and re-review information until we are so overloaded that we cannot make a correct decision.
The treatment for this financial-based ‘Cyberchondria’ is remarkably similar to the health-based condition – speak to your professional advisers.
We deal with this information every day, and can help you navigate the financial turmoil to arrive at a plan that helps your financial security.
Sometimes we focus so hard on something we think is important, we become oblivious to significant events right under our noses.
This is the idea behind The Invisible Gorilla, a book based on a series of experiments by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons.
The centrepiece of their work is a short film in which two teams of three people pass a basketball between them. Viewers are instructed to count the number of times the team in white passes the ball. About half the people who watch the film are concentrating so hard on the white team, they fail to notice a person in a gorilla suit enter the scene, stop to beat their chest in the middle of the screen, then stroll casually out of shot.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually find either George Osborne or pensions that interesting! However, I can honestly say that the Chancellor has managed to change my view on both of these points.
There have been some seismic changes in pensions legislation and policy over the years, believe you me! Despite this, the Government has always stuck firmly to two mantras – ‘we don’t trust you to do the right thing with your pension fund when you retire’; and ‘pensions are there to maintain your standard of living in retirement and not as a vehicle to pass down wealth’.
Welcome to Landscape, our new blog that’s been launched to inform, educate and bust myths that surround a wide variety of financial issues.
We’ll be posting views and insights on a weekly basis – covering topics that matter to you, your family and your business.
Seeking financial guidance can be a daunting and complex process and, because requirements differ vastly, it’s vital that our advisory approach is tailored to meet individual needs. We hope that Landscape will become a valuable resource to you, with the ability to answer a wide range of questions and concerns in an interesting and non-technical manner.
Our experienced Carpenter Rees team will be commenting on the ever-changing financial news agenda and topical issues.
But, if there’s anything you’d like to see featured on Landscape, please get in touch. For now, grab a coffee, sit back and enjoy the view!