What Really Matters
It’s good to be bold, a little daring even. I dig enthusiasm! However, as experienced risk-takers, we know to look first, then leap. Aim, then fire. Plan, then act.
There are as many ways to invest your hard-earned savings as there are brokers on Wall Street. And there are a lot of folks who can tell you how the markets are doing: Advisors, experts, pundits, your know-it-all brother-in-law… The markets are what get all the attention.
Rain or shine, for better or worse, in good times and bad… We persist.
We never bail, never let up, never give up… We persist.
The storms may come, the seas may swell… Yet we persist.
Because we learn, because we have faith… We persist.
For failure is not an option and the possibilities are at hand.
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).