I try hard to be a positive person, but every now and then I just have to rant.
Peeve No. 1: Just because someone is on the radio and television or in the newspaper, it doesn't mean they are qualified to give investment advice.
Our industry is not well regulated in this regard. The media always needs content to publish or air, and of course the strongest personalities make for the best entertainment. But who protects the consumer? It is one thing if someone exciting is trying to sell you soap, but the consequences can be more serious when they are selling you investment products or ideas.
Unfortunately when it comes to investment advice, it is buyer beware. There are a gazillion so-called accreditations and designations, but they all sound the same to the average person. Some financial courses require three weeks (or less) of study and some require three years (or more) of study. There are only a handful of truly professional designations that self-regulate properly: I have the CFA designation myself, so I think it is best to be accredited.
Of course there are some industry veterans who don't have a professional designation, but do have the credibility and track record to offer sound advice. Your best bet is to Google the name of the person and do your own online research.
Peeve No. 2: The myth that one size fits all.
I cringe every time I hear sweeping statements about what investors should do based on their age. Have you heard the Rule of 100? Start with 100, and subtract your age, and that gives you your optimal stock asset allocation (the rest being in bonds and cash). A 30-year-old would have 70% in stocks and a 80-year-old would have only 20%, and so on.
It isn't even a good rule of thumb. Many younger investors are highly risk-averse and prefer to own only short-term bonds, and many older investors have the majority of their portfolio invested in stocks because they want to grow their wealth for the next generation.
The time horizon for investing is indeed a factor that goes into an investment strategy. But a specific investor may have multiple time horizons to consider: retirement, buying a vacation house, gifting money to a child or grandchild, etc.
A proper investment policy includes many inputs, such as return requirements, risk tolerance, time horizon, liquidity needs, tax considerations, legal constraints and unique preferences. Age is just one number among many.