Portfolios & Mental Health – Part 2

Re-running this edition due to popular demand… Younger and less experienced investors (new college grads, younger workers buying a first home or saving in a 401k for the first time) can especially benefit by learning these steps, but really anyone can be better off:

If anything has been important since mid-February 2020 it has been being mentally strong and resilient – or having friends and family who are mentally strong to lean on. Believe it or not, this has nearly always been the case with investing.

green typewriter on brown wooden table
Pay attention to the present moment while knowing it is necessary that you and your adviser also consider the long-term.

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS EASIER SAID THAN DONE!

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal alluded to the concepts of mental strength, resilience – and process – amidst the coronavirus.

The topic of the article was GratitudePlease stay with me here! Apparently, over the past several decades research has established gratitude as a powerful way to boost the immune system. Without getting too deep in the medical terminology, the physiological immune system “is like a cellphone battery…and it is important to recharge it.”

  • Gratitude has proven to be an established way to recharge the immune system. Even more important, gratitude involves process. Here is where the comparison to portfolios and investing comes in.
  • The “Gratitude Process” involves:
  • Acknowledging the facts of what we can control,
  • Challenging negative thoughts and not letting negative thoughts completely take over,
  • Reframing these thoughts to something more positive and helpful,
  • Breathing (!!)
  • Paying attention to the present moment,
  • Stating specifically what we are glad we have in the present.

The research also says that keeping a written journal of things in our life for which we are grateful each day is a good start AND that “people who practice being grateful report …higher levels of well-being”*.

The process can be equated to portfolios and personal finance:

  • Acknowledge facts we can control = Have a PLAN & an Asset Allocation
  • Stick to a well-laid out plan even when the market challenges short-term performance (as it has),
  • Have an Adviser who asks tough questions and checks in to reinforce the positive and well-thought out factors in the portfolio amidst volatile and down markets,
  • Breathing is still recommended,
  • Reaffirm often with your adviser the overall plan and progress toward your goals,
  • Pay attention to the present moment while knowing it is necessary that you and your adviser also consider the long-term,
  • Recognize that investing is a long-term process and TRUST in your adviser is paramount – and something for which to be grateful.

At the same time, I am grateful for the trust my clients and friends place in me to provide financial advice and guidance. These concepts cannot be forgotten in the midst of a global pandemic and market turmoil.

A reliable portfolio process can be VERY mentally rewarding in the present – and lead to accomplishment of personal financial goals in the short-, intermediate- and long-term. I always remind younger, newer investors that a minimum time frame for even a small amount of satisfaction is at least 2-3 years. After that point it is almost as if a light switch turns on and lights up the magic of saving.

Please stay in touch during these times and always.

*Please ask me to share the WSJ article.

 

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