We’d like to share a tale of two drastically different people and their actions during the course of a period of market declines, political unrest and overall uncertainty.
The question is...which one are you?
Fred has gone through one of the most difficult periods of his entire life. Like many investors, he's endured substantial losses in his portfolio. He can calculate to the penny how much he's "lost" (he tracks this daily).
He lives through every minute of each daily decline with a pit in his stomach and glued to CNBC. He scours the internet and financial news in search of what the “experts” predict will happen next.
Should he go to cash?
How bad is it going to get?
What about bonds? Crypto? Real estate? Maybe gold?
He has to just do something.
Rarely sleeping, he incessantly checks his accounts to analyze what he can do to stop the pain of the next gut wrenching sell off. He knew this would happen. He's been reading about the pending crash for years.
Is it different this time?
It has to be.
We’ve never been through anything like this… and this is just the beginning.
Increasingly pessimistic, Fred’s focus on politics makes him angrier by the day. His faith in the future, and our country as a whole, fades with each catastrophic news update and article on the pending Armageddon.
For Fred, the recovery from here will always just be a head fake before another massive decline. Scared of his shadow he waits for the the next shoe to drop. The dreaded "double dip" or a "retest of the lows." Fred’s been chewed up and spit out by the twists and turns of this violent bear market.
Fearful. Miserable...and totally exhausted.
Wakes up each morning refreshed and starts her day with a warm cup of coffee. She doesn’t follow the market or financial "journalism", instead she picks up a good book or listens to a podcast she finds interesting.
She takes a morning and evening walk and talks with friends and family regularly.
She enjoyed the last year and is grateful for her health and ability to travel. She went on spring break with her family, hosted cookouts for Father’s Day and a special dinner for Mother’s Day and has had plenty of summer pool time.
She’s grateful for her time with family and friends.
She reads our newsletters and call us with any questions. She meets with us annually to review her financial life plan and has a diversified portfolio built around her goals. She set aside an emergency fund and lives within her means.
She knows that while markets are volatile, these things happen every few years and understands the recent decline, like all others before it, is completely temporary.
She's living her best life, making memories with friends and family, and focusing on what she can control rather than external events or circumstances.
She has patience, discipline, and an unwavering faith in the future.
Maybe we’ve been a little bit of both Fred and Pam at times in our lives. We’re human after all.
So, what can we learn from all of this?
It’s through adversity and difficult times where we learn the most about ourselves. Whether it’s in the market, our job, our marriage or our family.
Tough times build patience, perseverance, and grit.
These problems, however, are opportunities.
They help us appreciate the good times, the good people, and the little things. They help us teach those around us how to handle adversity and help others who need it most. Tough times help us understand the importance of planning and be better prepared for future challenges.
We can’t change the past, but can ruin the present by worrying about the future.
The key is to focus what we can control.
Right here, right now. One foot in front of the other. Everything else is extraneous.
Time is our greatest asset. Unlike material things, once it's lost, it can never be regained. We should strive to maximize our moments and waste as little as possible.
Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for any of us.
So...which one will you be the next 6 months? Fred or Pam?
What about the next year?
The next 5 years?
Will you view the world, and your life, as being half empty...or half full?
Will you let the market and outside influences ruin your summer? Fall?
Will you allow these external events completely out of your control to impact your Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas with your family?
The power, and the choice, is yours.
5 years from now all of this will be a blip in your life.
Live your life and continue to prioritize what matters most.
While that's different for each of us, I’m pretty sure it doesn't have anything to do with the market, CNBC, inflation, recession, or the next election.
While this year may not be the year we get everything we want, it’s a perfect year to appreciate everything we have.