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Climbing a Wall of Worry

It is often said that stock markets climb a wall of worry. This makes sense since historically the market has gone up and there always seems to be something to worry about. 2021 is no exception. Year-to-date (through September), the S&P 500 is up about 15%. Strong stock performance despite the Delta variant, extreme political partisanship, debt and inflation concerns. 

Creating a Virtuous Cycle

There are many concerns today that can significantly affect our thoughts, actions and quality of life. Fires out west. A devastating hurricane in the south. Afghanistan. COVID. The list could go on and on.

There are many things that are beyond our control in life. However, we can choose to focus on those things we have control over.

The Virtue of Slowing Down

Time is an interesting dimension. It is a fixed measurement, yet our perception of time varies greatly depending on what we are doing.

It has been said that the longest eight seconds in life is riding a bull. We never rode a bull and have no interest in testing that statement. So, we will take it as fact. But even so, eight seconds is eight seconds – regardless of what we are doing.

The Peril of Investment Fads

As we are midway through the year, it can be a good idea to take stock of what happened so far, and what we can learn about it. Looking back is an important activity as we seek to progress. It’s not about beating ourselves up for mistakes or feeding our ego for profitable decisions; it’s about learning and improving our thought and decision-making process.

Improving Your Investment Skill

Portfolio returns and achieving financial goals are a largely a function of two inputs: investor skill and luck. Oftentimes, those inputs get confusing – identifying what is skillful and what is luck/chance.

Don't Worry, Be Happy

These days it seems there is so much to worry about. The media is replete with news of shootings, civil unrest and the global pandemic. Financially, there are concerns about inflation, taxes and deficits.

Life, with all its trials and uncertainty, provides ample opportunities to worry. If we aren’t careful, we could be consumed with worry – crowding out the ability for us to experience happiness.

Resolutions and Habits

We are three months into 2021 and there is a good chance that half of all the New Year’s resolutions have already failed. A long-term study by the University of Scranton found that less than 10% of resolutions become part of our lives1.

Intellectual Humility

Humility, or I should say the lack of humility, is a quality that is easy to identify in others, yet difficult to see in ourselves. Humility is a difficult quality to develop because it may threaten our sensitive egos. Ego is important; we all have one. Our very survival depends on what “I” do or what happens to “me”. In addition, a healthy ego gives us a sense of purpose, value and confidence.

The Lure of Envy

The color green is attributed to many positive things in life. Green is often used as a symbol of prosperity and even represents life itself. But not all green is good. Being green with envy is a characteristic we should avoid like the plague. As Charlie Munger put it, “There’s an old saying, ‘What good is envy? It’s the one sin you can’t have any fun at’. It’s 100% destructive.”1

A Persistent Forecast for 2021

Persistent (def) - continuing to exist or endure over a prolonged period

Wall Street forecasts lack persistence. Their shelf life may only be a few weeks or months at best. 2020 was a great example; once COVID hit, existing forecasts became worthless. And this happens just about every year – excuses abound as to why the “experts” got it wrong…again.