Hiking and the Markets

June 02, 2020

           My wife and I have been married for five years now and one of the hobbies that we have come to enjoy together is taking hiking trips. One of our favorite places to hike is the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We have been there several times now and somehow it never seems to get old. Specifically, we love to hike a 10 mile loop along the North Country Trail called the Chapel Loop. It is a beautiful hike that takes you to the edge of towering sandstone cliffs looking out over the great Lake Superior 200 feet below. Hiking and being outdoors has become a passion of ours, so I will look for any excuse to write about it. I am also going a bit stir crazy from working at home, which is why you are now getting a blog post relating hiking to the markets. Let’s go!

Be Prepared

         Before hiking the Chapel Loop (or any hike for that matter), it is very important that you prepare beforehand. This means bringing enough food and water as well as wearing proper attire like a good pair of hiking boots (might I suggest the Merrell Moab?). You never know what the conditions will be like on the trail, so make sure you bring clothes for all possibilities. It is much the same when investing. You need to be prepared for the journey ahead. Investing requires more of a mental preparation, in which you need to make sure that you are mentally ready to endure the ups and downs in the market and forge onward! The best possible way to do this is to have a well-crafted financial plan to use as your guide along the trail.

Don’t Give Up

         Oftentimes, a hike ends up being more difficult than you anticipated. Sometimes the weather changes course in the middle of your hike and what was a sunny day quickly turns into a thunderstorm. It can be tempting to give up or consider turning back, especially if you did not carefully plan ahead of time. The markets change like the weather, sometimes even faster. All signs may point to a strong economy and positive returns, but as we have seen this year, that can change in a hurry (i.e. COVID-19)! Just like hiking, you can’t give up especially if you are already halfway down the trail. Giving up now could ruin your chances of attaining the retirement you planned for. This is the time to get out your trusty guide (financial plan) and keep on trucking!

The Destination?

         The crown jewel of the Chapel Loop is Grand Portal Point (the picture in the header of me staring pensively into Lake Superior). It is an awe inspiring lookout with nothing but forest and the lake for miles around; a sight that makes you glad you took the trip in the first place. After experiencing such beauty and finally making it back to our car, the conversation between my wife and I naturally seems to shift from reflection on this beauty to where our next trip will be. When investing for retirement we often think about what we want the end result to be. We think about an age somewhere in the future where will quit our jobs and have enough money to take care of ourselves. But what happens after that? Life shouldn’t stop after retirement and our plans shouldn’t either. There will likely be many “destinations” and new phases, but we can weather the storms in life and the markets with proper preparation, a reliable guide, and a drive to succeed.

My song of the week is a staple on my road trip playlist. I love it so much that I have included two versions for your listening enjoyment. Jump in your car, put your shades on, roll the windows down and drive a thousand miles to nowhere!

Version 1

Version 2