Wow – what an amazing (nearly) two-year period of time we have experienced. We have seen closures of the economy, changes to the education system which the children in our lives (whether they be our children or grandchildren) have had to face, personal economic challenges and concerns, learning how to communicate via Zoom or other remote methods, etc. This does not include the challenges of losing loved ones, facing illness or suffering with our community in general, as we cope with a worldwide pandemic.
For many people, this time period has been overwhelming. Many have experienced hardships they never thought they would, including being physically cut off from many of our friends and loved ones (even those living down the street).
Nevertheless, I am constantly amazed at the ability of the human race to face challenges, overcome and find the “silver lining” in their experiences. A silver lining people have found from COVID-19 is that they have learned to focus on the things they can control and strive to live life richly.
Many commented that being forced to slow down helped them better appreciate the small things in life - they appreciate family more, being together (when allowed/possible), the simple act of taking a walk outdoors, planting the garden they always wanted to, not spending so much time in the car and my daughter even mentioned that she appreciated high school more (due to her inability to fully participate).
Sometimes in life we find ourselves overwhelmed with too many options, issues, wants, to do’s, have-to-do’s, etc. We find ourselves seeking peace, happiness and contentment by making even more changes to our lifestyle and habits – sure that this one additional change will be the solution to our problems and help us find a version of nirvana.
Our COVID-19 experiences can help us recognize what we actually can control and focus our efforts there, instead of trying to “fix” what we cannot control.
For example, we cannot control the economy and how the news media reacts to world events. They often give conflicting advice that initiates an emotional response (i.e. we are entering a new bull market or the world is coming to an end (at least that is the way they make it seem)). Bouncing from one emotion to another does not help us feel in control and live life richly.
The key to a greater chance for a successful investment experience can be summarized into the following five items that you actually CAN CONTROL:
- Create an investment plan to fit your needs and risk tolerance. (See Blog "TO VAN OR NOT TO VAN, THAT IS THE INVESTMENT QUESTION")
- Structure a portfolio along the dimensions of expected returns. (See Blog "MARITAL BLISS AND DIMENSIONS OF RETURN")
- Diversify globally. (See Blog "ROAD TRIPS AND DIVERSIFICATION")
- Manage expenses, investment turnover and taxes.
- Stay disciplined through market dips and swings. (See Blog "SPEEDING TICKETS AND TIMING THE MARKET")
At Montage Financial Advisors, we help you focus on the above five items that you can actually control. As identified below, the markets have rewarded a disciplined investment strategy.