We hope you and your family had a lovely Thanksgiving! Thank you again to our local clients who participated in our food drive. We were able to make a positive impact in our community thanks to your generosity.
As we approach the end of what has been a very challenging 2022, we thought it a good time to reinforce one of our core beliefs – that to be a successful long-term investor, it is imperative to recognize what is in our control and what is out of our control; and furthermore, that we spend as little time and energy as possible worrying about the latter.
When it comes to our financial positions, there are many things outside of our control: the markets – both trying to time them and the ups and downs naturally associated with them, the Federal Reserve (Fed) and what they decide to do with interest rates, Congress and policies around taxes and regulations, and elections, to name a few.
The good news is there are a few key things that are 100% within our control, and we would argue that these three things govern a solid 90% of our real-life long-term financial success. They are:
- Having and working a financial plan – we believe that building and managing an investment portfolio must begin with a financial plan. What are your goals, dreams, and concerns? Who is this money for and what is this money for? When will you need to access these assets? What kind of legacy do you want to leave? From there, we can derive an appropriate benchmark for tracking your portfolio’s success – not the S&P 500 or Dow, but one tailored to you and your unique plan. The only benchmark we should focus on is one that indicates whether we are on track to accomplish our financial goals.
- The mix of stocks and bonds in your portfolio (or what we call “asset allocation”) – while we cannot control or time the markets, we absolutely can control our mix of stocks and bonds and therefore our volatility profile and long-term returns. We know that the 90-year average real return of the S&P 500 (stocks) is 7%/year, and the 90-year average real return of bonds is 3%/year. We can’t know what the market will do today or this year for that matter, but here’s they key – most of us are not investing for today or this year. We’re investing assets for (hopefully) a long lifetime.
- Controlling our emotions – this is perhaps the trickiest of the three, because humans tend to feel extreme fear when they are experiencing temporary declines in their portfolios. We are descendants of those who were most afraid (think wild animals chasing you), and our reptilian brain has been trained to keep us safe and comfortable – seeing our portfolio drop is not comfortable. One of the most dangerous and destructive things we can do to our financial futures is to react emotionally and make impulsive, short-term decisions on goals that are decades long. One of the ways to help with this is to limit media consumption. Too much of it can negatively impact our outlook and lead us to make bad decisions.
While these things are simple, they are hardly easy, and this is one of the reasons we are so honored to be of service to you and your families. We are here for you, we are grateful for you, and we look forward to continuing to earn your trust for decades to come. Have a healthy and happy holiday season!
Anne and Anne-Marie
Data source: @mindfulenough | Infographic design by @agrassoblog for educational and motivational purposes