Salt Lake City Office
2150 East 1300 South,
You are the author of your story—write it the way you want it to read. This is a marathon not a sprint—stay strong and stay the course.
Restoring your sense of financial order and safety
Many people confuse volatility with risk. They are not the same thing. Real risk is not meeting your life long goals. The day to day, month to month, change in portfolio valuation is called volatility.
We are going to explore why we as humans when we are afraid, sometimes engage in self destructive behavior and how to successfully navigate in the right direction.
Step one—Understanding why we do what we do.
Human nature and hard wiring—when we perceive danger, humans respond, without thinking, one of four ways. These “fight or flight” mechanisms enabled us to evolve to avoid being eaten by a saber-tooth tiger. Behavioral finance examines these mechanisms when it comes to our financial affairs.
Information overload—the technical evolution
“The result of information overload is usually distraction, and it dilutes your focus and takes you off your game.” -Zig Ziglar
Our fear is always real—Current negative market volatility exacerbates the effects of our fears. From the year 2000 to 2018—the equity markets had more days of >-2% declines than the prior 53-years before. It also had the greatest increase in history.
Losing hurts twice as much as the pleasure we receive from gains—A hundred dollar loss gives you twice as much pain as a hundred dollar gain gives you pleasure. Studies show that people will only take a risk when the gain is two times more than the risk for loss is.
Step two—Overcome your fears to give you the best outcome.
Let an experienced professional guide you thru the difficulties—Market turns do not last forever. Everyone believes this time is different, but it isn’t. Let me assist you in keeping your emotions in check. I will help you make the best decisions to keep your goals on track. I have decades of experience in successfully navigating both up and down markets. You need a steady hand on the controls and I have it.
“What we learn from history is that people don’t learn from history. When investors get either too greedy or too fearful, they sometimes hide behind the notion that this time it’s different. Usually they regret it.” -Warren Buffet
Stop watching—Don’t look at your account balances all the time. Frequent portfolio evaluations usually lead to short term strategies that are not compatible with your life story. Constant reminders of volatility can lead investors to move into more conservative portfolios regardless of objectives and time horizon, thus locking in losses, and never enjoying the upside gains of recovery.
Remember your life story—It takes us working together to identify your goals, revisit them, run the simulations and make sure you are on track. This is our focus, not short term returns. It is not only about using the best rated planning software, but having a seasoned professional running it, and meeting with you regularly. This is the way you will know where you are, where you are going and how to get there. We will continually evaluate and make adjustments if needed, to help you stay the course.
Purchasing power—The loss of purchasing power can be a huge hit to your dignity. Loss of purchasing power is one of the biggest enemies in retirement. A family’s personal inflation rate is usually much higher than the stated government consumer price index (CPI) of 3%. The inflation rate for healthcare is 6-8%. That means if your overall inflation rate is 4% in 18 to 20 years the cost of everything you want or need will double.
Restoring your sense of personal order and safety
Your life story has been interrupted and things are so different. Here are some coping ideas:
Finish projects and organize. This gives you a sense of control while reducing the anxiety associated with having something or someone else in control—home organization creates a calm peaceful environment. Feeling productive and accomplished during this time will keep your mind occupied and give you a sense of purpose and well-being.
Censor your news intake. While we are social distancing and staying at home, it is easy to get caught up spending hours surfing the internet looking for information, much of which may not be based on facts. Pick two to three reputable news sources and stick with only gathering information from them. Additionally, limit your news checking to two to three times a day.
Foster safe interactions. Staying connected to friends and family is crucial during a time of crisis. When communities pull together during times of stress, they recover more easily. Pick a few friends to stay in touch with on a regular basis. Do it via conference calls, Facetime, Skype, or Zoom. Make safe connections and utilize them to their fullest- reach out at least once per day.
If you have them, don’t forget the kids. Make time for your children to voice their questions and fears. It is essential that we make our children feel safe during this stressful time. Be honest and open when discussing and relating the facts without causing them stress. Answer questions in a matter of fact way, without a lot of emotional details. Answer questions appropriately while doing your best to help them feel safe. Your children will only be as calm as you are yourself.
Reduce your own anxiety. When you notice anxiety (yes we all have it)—take a few deep cleansing breaths—and repeat until you feel calmer. When you have time, find a quiet cozy place, one you find relaxing already, and let the cares of the day melt away. Laugh as much as you can—watch something funny. Smiling, even if you don’t feel like it, makes you feel better.
“Take a deep breath… Inhale peace. Exhale happiness.” -A.D. Posey
Good all-around ideas now:
Be smart—better safe than sorry—I’d rather be accused of being extremely careful than the alternative.
As always call or email with questions or individual concerns.
1: Flurry Analytics, “U.S. Consumers Time-Spent on Mobile Crosses 5 Hours a Day.” Mar 2017
2: Orleans Marketing Group, Technology Facts and Stats 2020, January 2018