The Roller Coaster Ride Of Life

roller coaster

Don’t you think the best investors have a calm and collected point of view when the stock market is in turmoil?  The only people that seem to get hurt when the stock market is on a roller coaster are the folks that get off while the ride is still moving.  It’s far too common for people to buy at the top only to sell at the bottom because they didn’t have the stomach for the volatility.

 

Remember during the Great Recession when Warren Buffett was buying companies and lending money left and right?  Almost seven years later, he is still reaping rewards from Dupont.  He is making $8 a second because he didn’t panic.

 

The Epic Election of 2016

roller coasterSpeaking of panic, the election is finally behind us.  I think many of us are thankful that it is FINALLY OVER.  Whether you are happy with the results of the election or not, I am excited that I don’t have to watch a single campaign ad for a long time.

 

Through this election cycle, I’ve realized that sometime sI let my emotions be affected by the roller coaster of life.  Whether it’s checking the stock market multiple times a day, bringing stress and worry home from work, or even the results of the election.  I know I can’t control what happens around me, but I want to start taking a stronger grasp over my emotions.

 

Social Media Bantering

roller coasterRight after the election, my Facebook feed was filled with people lamenting or celebrating the results.  I had some friends that basically said if you don’t agree with me, unfriend me because you’re intolerant to my views.  That seemed a bit extreme to me.  I’m not sure living life in a vacuum to avoid hearing different perspectives is wise, but that’s their decision, of course.

 

Yes, I have friends on both sides of the aisle, and like most people, I don’t agree with every platform from either party.  But, I do feel it’s necessary to hear differing views.  While it would be convenient for everyone to see everything the way that I do, it definitely makes for a more interesting society with such disparity in viewpoints.

 

roller coasterWith that said, reading some people’s comments on the election made my blood boil.  But, I didn’t think it would do any good to publicly disagree with someone on their Facebook wall.  In actuality, I didn’t partake in any political talk on Facebook.  If someone wanted to know what I thought, I’d freely share in person when we could have a civilized conversation, in contrast to the dumpster fire that I saw many posts evolve into.  

 

From my experience, being open to hearing other’s perspectives many times can open my eyes to things I may have never considered.

 

This cartoon pretty much sums it up for me.

emotional health

https://therisingmuse.com/2016/07/09/perspective/6-9/

 

Finally, my Facebook feed is slowly filling back up with baby pictures, vacations photos, and talk of the upcoming holidays.  Thank goodness some of the hatred is decreasing.

 

Workplace Woes

roller coasterFor those that follow the blog, you know I am not super excited to show up to work every morning.  It’s not that I hate my job as much as I feel like I’ve grown as much I can in my office.  This isn’t a big secret.  My manager is well-aware from our latest conversations.  

 

I’ve been actively networking for the last couple of months, and I plan to apply for a new job in the next couple of weeks.  While this new job is out of my comfort zone, I’m hoping to take on the challenge in this new role.  

 

Only time will tell if I actually receive an offer, but I am nonetheless excited about the opportunity to hone my interview skills and take a step out into something less traditional than financial accounting.

 

roller coasterIf I don’t receive an offer though, I am going to work harder this year to stay steady at work and not let the highs and lows of my work day affect me.  I have a tendency to bring home some work stress that I’m sure my wife doesn’t appreciate.  Maybe this is the year that I start working out right after work, so I have an hour to decompress before coming home.

 

Stock Market Volatility

One of the things that I have been getting better about is not worrying about the stock market nearly as much.  I use to check Personal Capital multiple times a day on the weekend to see how my brokerage and retirement accounts were doing.  Of course, this was an incredible time-waster as the market doesn’t move on the weekend.  I wasn’t gleaning any new information by checking.  In hindsight, I don’t know what I was thinking.  Please don’t do this.  Trust me, your account will not take wild swings on the weekend 🙂

 

Uncertainty with the Election

roller coasterIn a previous post, I discussed what impact the future President would have on the economy and how the stock market would fair.  The market thought that Hillary Clinton was going to win.  This was evident when the FBI started to investigate her again days before the election, and the market started to descend.  When James Comey of the FBI declared that they were discontinuing the investigation, the market went back up.

 

So when Donald Trump appeared that he was going to win the election, the Dow futures plunged by 900 points since the market had not priced in a potential Donald Trump victory.  Futures traders were caught flat-footed, just like Brexit.  However, by the time the US stock market opened, information had been gathered to show that that was overblown.  So, the stock market opened up by 40 points and closed the day above 250 points.

 

wall st stock market sp500For investors, this was quite the ride.  I know at 1 am EST, I was quickly seeing if I had any available cash to buy the S&P 500 on the cheap.  For the most part, I have talked about how I am big into dollar-cost averaging.  

 

For those that are not familiar with this terminology, it just means that you set up a certain schedule in which you buy shares of stock/index funds on a specific day (or days) each month with the same amount of money.  The most common example of this is when an employee contributes to their 401k, making contributions every two weeks or twice a month depending on when their employer pays them.  Same concept.

 

My Advice

With that said, I had a bunch of friends at work ask me if they should jump out now since the market is volatile.  My answer is always the same, if you don’t need the money now, don’t stress about it.  

 

roller-coasterBefore the results of the election came through, I spoke with some family members who were a bit worried about what the market would do.  I told them that I was anticipating things to be choppy for a while but advised them to hang tight and get any extra cash ready for some great buying opportunities.

 

As you can see, I wasn’t so accurate with my prediction.  I don’t think anybody would have predicted that a Trump win would make the market plunge 900 points only to be up 250 points later.  That’s more than a 1000 point swing in less than 24 hours.

 

But I’m not the only one.  Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman wrote, “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.”

 

It’s clear that I’m not the best at predicting the market.  But, my obsessiveness is waning, which is probably for the best.  I’m hoping to keep improving in this upcoming year.  What are some things that take you on a roller coaster of emotions that you’re ready to leave behind?  Share your thoughts below.

Mustard Seed Money

Welcome to the website. A mustard seed is a very small seed but astonishingly grows very large over time. My hope is that through your financial journey that your small investment in time, money and faith will grow beyond anything that you could ever imagine.

29 Comments

  1. Best of luck with the job search! I know it can be so frustrating when you’re not learning and growing at work. I’ve been working for about 6 months to get a more complex new project, because I’ve been on my current one for quite a while now. Once I start having deja vu about the conversations I’m having, it’s time to move on.
    Liz@ChiefMomOfficer recently posted…Fun Thanksgiving Financial FactsMy Profile

  2. Tune out the market news as best you can. I wrote something a few weeks back on this, but basically within 2 minutes of news happening it is already reflected in the market. Also evidence denotes that usually the market overreacts and there is a pull back with the next few days. The election was an extreme version of that. As you correctly stated if you don’t need the money anytime soon then market news is just noise.
    Full Time Finance recently posted…How to Get a Good Deal on ElectronicsMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Full Time Finance. I definitely agree that the market takes wild swings from one side to the other.

      I always liked this saying by Benjamin Graham that in the short run, the market is like a voting machine–tallying up which firms are popular and unpopular. But in the long run, the market is like a weighing machine–assessing the substance of a company.

  3. Great post and so true on many fronts. I don’t get on Facebook much anymore and from what I hear post election, I’m glad I don’t. It seems that we struggle more than ever to hear out differing viewpoints. Everything is silo’d today. There is a news station for every viewpoint imaginal that will only regurgitate your views back at you.

    Also, your point on not getting off the roller coaster when it comes to investing is a good one. No one could have predicted how the markets have reacted post election. Those that get hurt are the emotional ones who jump at every piece of news they hear. Do your research, pick good companies or funds to invest in, and enjoy the ride!
    Go Finance Yourself! recently posted…What Are You Thankful For?My Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Go Finance Youself!!!

      My wife gave up Facebook for a couple of years because she was tired of the posts. Only recently did she get back on mainly to share pictures with her extended family of our son 🙂

      You are totally right though, do your research, pick great companies and enjoy the ride!!!

  4. So happy to hear that you are trying to get that new opportunity! Sometimes a person has to get out of that comfort zone to grow.
    I totally agree on the subject of politics. Some folks get wayyyyy too carried away on that stuff. And to lose friends over it? I’m all for civil discussions but sometimes it just isn’t worth it. Too many hard feelings can develop.
    I wish you the best of luck on your interview!!!!
    Mr Defined Sight recently posted…Sometimes Things ChangeMy Profile

    • Thanks Mr. Defined Sight. I will definitely need it 🙂

      Hopefully taking a risk will pay off and if not, I’ll get some good practice so that I’m even better prepared for the next one!!!

  5. I rarely check my IRA accounts. I max it out every year, and then I see what my numbers are, but I don’t really know how much they have gone up or down. It would frustrate me too much. I have 17 years before I’m 59 1/2 anyway, so there is not much I can do. I have one of those target date funds. I guess that is why I prefer real estate investing. I feel that I have much more control. Also, I’ve already created enough cash flow to cover my expenses and expect to create more cash flow, so that I don’t plan to tap into my funds for day to day living expenses anyway, so I guess that helps.

    As far as the politics and people ‘unfriending’ people go… You have to understand that this is a unique situation. I hate talking politics, but in this situation, it is much more than just a matter of policy difference. I actually agree with about half of his policy views. But this is someone who has a lot of hatred and bigotry. He has deeply offended pretty much every person who is not a white, heterosexual male. Many people are afraid of their freedoms and liberties. I think it might be hard for a white male to understand how much these things can cut deep and hurt a person and bring out a lot of fear. We are supposed to be a nation of acceptance and freedom. Additionally, several psychologists have written articles diagnosing him as a psychopath and sociopath. This is just very disturbing to see that this is what our future generations will see as a ‘role model’. I think even the Republicans are afraid of him. Again, this is way beyond normal political discussions, so those who’s emotions are riding high, need a break on this particular occasion and let’s all just ride out the storm together. 🙂
    Primal Prosperity recently posted…Are You a Hunter or a Farmer?My Profile

    • I have read so many people do well with real estate investing and it’s definitely on my list for 2017 of things to explore.

      While the next four years are definitely going to be unpredictable I am hoping for the best 🙂

      Thanks for sharing Primal Prosperity I always appreciate your perspective on things!!!

  6. I hate seeing the market where it’s at right now because, like too many other people, I think we’re at the peak and want to cash out while I can. I’ve resisted and I’m glad I did (so far).

    There was a podcast a while ago that the Mad Fientist put out where he said he doesn’t try to time the market but he has some cash that he’s holding onto to put into the market when it drops. This was a year or so ago and it obviously hasn’t dropped. The problem he said is that he kept thinking it was at its peak and now he’s missed out on the growth over time.

    Emotion definitely helps us make some not-so-good decisions when investing!

    — Jim
    Jim @ Route To Retire recently posted…Why Your Company Match is So ImportantMy Profile

    • I’m a little like Mad Fientist. I’ve been holding a stack of cash kinda like him since August 2014.

      I actually deployed a good chunk of it in February of 2015 when things were tanking.

      Now I’m eager to jump back in 🙂

  7. I think it’s awesome that you’re taking real action to try to change your situation. Good luck!

    I realized long ago that my personality doesn’t mesh well with the stock market. I also get quite obsessed and I think I can apply some smarts to do well. However, the more involved and active I was, the more I would underperform all the standard indexes over time (humbling!). So I’ve given up on trying to time things and only buy & hold at regular intervals… and I’m much less stressed about it.
    Passive Income M.D. recently posted…The One Tool That Has Helped Me Become 100% More GratefulMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Passive Income M.D. Buy and Hold while automatically contributing is such a smart way to do things. I think if more people did this that they’d be much more successful as investors.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!!!

  8. I feel you on the market. I think it’s like that way with a lot of people. I usually try to contain my excitement when my accounts are doing well because I know the tide can turn very quickly. Conversely, I try not to beat myself up too much then they’re down to avoid the big emotional roller coaster

    Good luck on the job hunt!
    Andrew recently posted…Developing A Mindset To Overcome ExcusesMy Profile

    • Thanks Andrew for the sage advice. I definitely like looking at my accounts when the stock market is up and unfortunately think about how smart I am.

      When they are going down I definitely beat myself up a little bit thinking about how I could have better optimized.

      But I think you’re right on. You’re never as smart as you think or dumb as you think 🙂

  9. I confess that I check the markets pretty much daily. I don’t know why I do it because I have my investments pretty much on autopilot (although I did buy in during Brexit). I think it’s just become a habit now, compounded by the fact that I can easily check the markets on my phone. Maybe one of my goals for next year will be to check less.
    Oh, and good luck on your job application. Sometimes it’s good to step out of your comfort zone.

    • I have to admit it’s a lot more fun to peak at your account when the stock market is at an all time high than when it’s cratering down 🙂

      I appreciate the well wishes with the job application. I should hear about things in the next couple of weeks.

  10. I’ve been working hard the last several months at not allowing my emotions to become like a roller coaster. It doesn’t do any good, and many times only does damage. The election, I think, was particularly hard on everyone no matter which side they were on. So much anger and instability. But now we’re on to Thanksgiving. Food and gratitude. What could be better?
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…7 Tips for Beating the Winter BluesMy Profile

  11. I can relate to that feeling of wanting to constantly know how your portfolio is doing. I suppose it’s human nature, but an exercise that’s futile, time wasting and nerve wracking. Roller coaster indeed.

    When the temptation arises, and for these uncertain post election times, I always seek refuge in Ben Graham’s timeless advice in The Intelligent Investor 🙂

    Best of luck with your work situation…spread your wings and soar!
    Glenn @ The Casual Capitalist recently posted…The Idea Behind Uber Surge PricingMy Profile

    • Thanks Glenn for the comment. Ben Graham’s The Intelligent Investor is such an incredible book. I find myself re-reading it at least once a year and always seem to pick up a little nugget that I didn’t remember. With the holidays coming up, I need a good book, so I probably will be reading it again. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  12. What up, friend. Good luck on the job search. I have been self-employed as an independent sales rep of promotional products (branded apparel mostly) for the last 4 years, and I absolutely love it. For me, Warren Buffet’s words ring true, “I did decide at an early age that my favorite employer was myself.” However, I am getting burned out on finding new clients via old cold-calling methods, which is why I am in the transition period of making my real dream a reality which is being a writer, philosopher, and lifelong learner. Keep working at being self-employed one way or another. There is nothing more satisfying than building a life/business around the activities you value the most. Bill @ Wealth Well Done.
    Bill @ Wealth Well Done recently posted…3 Lessons for Relationships Learned the Hard WayMy Profile

    • As I get older it’s definitely becoming more appealing to work for myself. While I’m grinding here on the blog and hope maybe it eeks out a small income I am definitely keeping my eyes open for other opportunities down the road 🙂

      Good luck in your transition period of making your dreams a reality!!!

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