What Our Brains Want
Yes or no. Good or bad. This or that. Our brains are wired to look for easy answers. Sounds lazy, but this thinking was imperative to the survival of our species. Fight or flight. It’s instinctual. Is that a rabbit rustling in the bush or a lion laying prey? Attack or run!
Slowing down to consider the nuances of a situation could have meant the difference between life and death, between having dinner or being dinner. Best to make a quick decision and let the chips fall where they may.
Speaking of Tequila
Speaking of tequila… I’ve given a lot of thought to this: No amount of investing prowess can make up for a lack of savings discipline. It’s true.
Just like ice without tequila makes little sense, it’s somewhat pointless to focus on which investments will work without a savings plan or spending budget.
Put some ice in a cocktail glass and it’s nice… sort of. But it’s pretty much useless without the main ingredient. Whereas tequila by itself is liquid gold.
Luck vs. Skill
No amount of skill can be applied to playing the lottery that will affect the outcome. It is, after all, random.
Nor should one “play” the market expecting to get lucky. Even skill has limited affect on short-term results. However, over the long-term it’s the hard work of research, analysis, and the skill of applying insight that may impact your success.
What To Ignore
They say half the battle is knowing what to ignore. They are right.
Of course, the other half is knowing what works.
Two Yo-Yos Are Better Than One
Think of investing risk (in broad terms) as two yo-yos — one for stocks, the other for bonds. The stock yo-yo has a much longer string than the bond yo-yo, so that when you fling it down it comes precariously close to scuffing the ground. The string on the bond yo-yo, however, is so short it barely reaches your knee on the downswing.
What To Focus On
Seems to me that if you focus too much on things that matter but you have no control over (ie: political porn), you may be putting yourself through unnecessary emotional turmoil. Likewise, focusing on things you can control but don’t really matter are mere distractions.
When it comes to financial planning and investing, many people lose sight of the things they can control (spending, savings) and focus on the things they can’t (direction of the markets and economy).
The Silver Lining
February 9, 2018 | Client Communication
After an epic run that saw the S&P 500 Index price rallying 59% from its February 2016 low of 1,810 to the recent high of 2,873 without so much as a 5% correction, I suspected that when a drop did come, it would be sharper than normal.
It has finally happened.
Read more →
Volatility Strikes Back
February 7, 2018 | Client Communication
After an exceptionally strong year in markets, volatility has struck back in recent days. At the time of this writing, the S&P 500® Index has fallen roughly 10% from its record close on Jan. 26. Many folks are asking if this is the start of a bear market. My answer—probably not. Read more →