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I Am Starting to Check My Portfolio Again
The human psyche is a fascinating thing to me. Dealing in a world of advice and human interactions you start to see trends in groups of people. What truly is interesting is when you start to observe these trends in your own behaviors.
For instance, last year when the markets had a pretty bad year my number one recommendation, as silly as it sounds, was simply to not look at your portfolio. If you believe in capital markets, and the strength of the US economy (or global economy) then you know these down turns happen and are temporary. The biggest issue I found was those that were obsessive “lookers” would have these temporary and yet short term declines impact their overall financial and mental health.
In all honesty, there likely wasn’t really one positive thing that staring at your portfolio did for you last year. Rather, the only likely outcome was some form of panic which leads to irrational behaviors. Clearly, this is one of the obstacles, but a value we financial planners bring to the table during these times. We remind you of the course you are on and help prove not only this too shall pass, but it won’t hinder your life goals.
I have to admit, I took my own advice last year as the few times I looked behind the curtain I quickly looked away. It was like seeing a monster under my bed as I swore if I didn’t look again, it will soon go away.
Checking My Portfolio Again
Welp folks, 13 plus months later and I finally am getting the courage to start looking under my bed again. After a really good January in the markets, and the best month for the tech heavy NASDAQ since January, 2001 I am giving myself permission to start checking my personal accounts again. It still is proving humbling, but there is a glimmer of hope starting to shine through the clouds. I must admit it is slowly feeling good again.
I love watching the game of seeing my and my clients net worth climb on a weekly basis. It starts to have the opposite affect as looking when the markets are down. You start dreaming of the positives and what you’ll do with your funds, rather than having nightmares of ending up destitute and eating cat food. It really takes on a euphoric feeling and empowers us to save more, spend more, and quite simply enjoy life more.
The crazy thing about all this is literally nothing has changed. Not only that the markets are doing exactly what you hoped and expect them to do. They go up and down and up and down, with a constant bias towards up.
Whether you started investing last week, year, decade, or century this was the buyer beware notice you all received (including myself). The sign read (or should have) “TO THOSE WHO WISH TO HAVE UNBELIEVALE ACCUMULATION IN WEALTH OVER THEIR LIFETIME PUT YOUR MONEY HERE. HOWEVER, BE WARNED THE JOURNEY IS NOT STRAIGHT BUT WILL MASSIVELY REWARD THOSE STRONG ENOUGH TO UNWAVERLY PERSIST.”
There is your mantra for as long as you shall live if you want to be rewarded by the greatest wealth vehicle to ever exist. Print it out, put it on you desk or wall in front of you and repeat these words any time you question investing in the markets.
From a psychological perspective, help trick yourself into doing what is right. I find the easiest way is when markets are massively down, simply don’t look. Assuming these assets are managed by a professional than you know someone is looking and doing what they feel is best/right. When the markets are up heck look as often as you’d like as it is a fun game watching your assets and net worth grow. I love seeing those figures hit a new milestone. From $100,000 to $250,000 to $500,000 to $1,000,000 it is an unbelievable feeling checking when things are up.
If you think about it intuitively all you are doing is filling your head with positive thoughts rather than negative. If looking when things are “bad” creates a panic sensation and looking when things are “good” creates a euphoric sensation well then when does it make sense to look more often? It is no different than working with a therapist and saying you are having bad or depressing thoughts. In these situations, the advice is quite similar. Don’t worry about things you can’t control and put your focus on all the wonderful things in your life.
Now I’m far from declaring that road ahead this year will be worry free, because likely it isn’t without setbacks etc. That said, if starting to look a little more frequently is giving you hope and confidence again then start doing so cautiously, like I have been doing.
Trust me it works!
Stay wealthy, healthy, and happy.
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