This week’s blog post is different in that it is a conglomeration of other posts from the past year or two. Unfortunately, I was unable to find time to write new content this week as Lucy, our CCO[i], had a bad stomach bug that resulted in an overnight stay at the children’s hospital. Say what you will about parenting, it is never boring! With all of the volatility in the market, I thought it would be good to look back at some of the times that we have discussed market volatility and how to respond to it. A “Greatest Hits” if you will! Each quote is linked to the original blog post in case you would like to read more.
“Your goal shouldn’t be to beat an arbitrary index. Your goal should be to have the ability to do the things that are important to you. This is where planning with your advisor comes into play and discussing the life you wish to live becomes very important. Does this mean that you cannot beat the market? Absolutely not (more on that next week) but it is not the end all be all. Focus on the things that matter to you and not what you see on TV or Facebook. You will be much happier and a lot better off financially because of it.”
“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.”
“Risk is often thought of as the probability that an investor will lose money. For some, this is a perfectly accurate description of what risk means to them. For the investor in retirement, it is “risky” to allocate your retirement funds to a portfolio that will experience all the ups and downs of the market. By contrast, consider the investor that we spoke about in our last point. A young investor with many years to retirement faces a different kind of risk: Not accepting enough risk in the form of volatility and thus underperforming their investment goals. Being too risk adverse in your early years of investing can cause hurdles later in life that are difficult, even impossible, to completely overcome. Again, this is another topic that I hope to cover in greater detail in a future blog post. For now, I want to leave you with a final thought about investment risk. While there is a dictionary definition of risk and formal metrics for measuring it, what is truly “risky” is dependent on your plans for the future and your current circumstances. As financial advisors, we help our clients take into consideration both the objective principles of investment risk as well as the subjective needs and goals of the client. This involves determining the investment return necessary to achieve those goals and balancing those needs with an appropriate level of risk.
“Building a financial plan and investment portfolio is an intensely personal endeavor. It should reflect your core values and beliefs about money and how you live your life. The last thing that you want to do is to abandon that plan when things look uncertain! You built that plan for a reason and if you give it up now you will look back and regret it. Stay the course now and you will come out on the other side better for it.”
“Be greedy when others are fearful” or better yet, “be disciplined when others are fearful”! Being a disciplined investor does not mean that we cannot take advantage of the opportunities that the market gives us. Last March, the market gave us a huge opportunity to invest cash that our clients had on the sidelines. Many of them saw returns that will help propel them towards their retirement goals! Careful planning now can put you in a great position to seize the moment when the bull market does finally come to a close.”
“In his book, “The One-Page Financial Plan”, Carl Richards coins the phrase, “The Big Mistake”, to refer to the act of buying when the market is high and selling when it is low. This is likely the biggest mistake that you can make as an investor yet people make it all the time. Why does this happen? What behaviors and situations cause this? How can I avoid making, “The Big Mistake”? The key driver for The Big Mistake, is emotional investing and a lack of a clear plan. It feels really great when you see your account go up in value. But the pain of watching your account plummet during a recession is even greater. Thousands if not millions of people experience these exact same emotions and act on them in large numbers. But think about that for a moment. In what other situation in life would you intentionally buy something when the cost to purchase it rises and then sell it when it becomes less valuable than what you paid for it? That is exactly what the majority of investors do all the time and it is a direct result of investing emotionally and without a plan and neglecting to think about your investments as an asset.”
Don’t worry, I still had time to choose a song of the week! I contemplated using “Let it Go” again after hearing it so many times in hospital while trying to keep my daughter entertained. Thankfully for you all, I thought better of it! Here is your song of the week, enjoy!
[i] “CCO” = Chief Cuteness Officer J
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly. All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. Investing in stocks involves risk, including possible loss of principal.