Column, Money Matters

Shock, awe and perspective

By Kevin Theissen

Whenever we experience a significant and unexpected event in our lives, such as the coronavirus, it can result in a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. As investors, we want to know what to do. Do we run for safety or stick to our plan?

One of the best things we can do at times of uncertainty, anxiety and fear is to step back and put things into their proper perspective. Let’s put our current situation in perspective to help us make the best decisions moving forward.

The financial crisis of 2008/2009 has some similarities with what we are going through. The economy hit a rough spot, Congress and the Fed came in with stimulus packages and there was a lot of movement in the stock market – primarily down. Anyone watching the markets likely lost sleep and many felt compelled to sell.

Long-term investors that maintained perspective and discipline were rewarded handsomely for their investing grit. Looking back over the last 12 years the great financial crisis of 2008/2009 is nothing more than a blip before the start of a long bull market.

We can greatly reduce the anxiety and fear we feel by removing those inputs from our lives. Just as we may unfriend someone on social media that bothers us, we can “unfriend” the news and other information that may influence us to make costly investment decisions.

We cannot control the news nor what happens globally, but we are in complete control of what we pay attention to. And what we pay attention to has significant influence on the choices we make. Let’s control our inputs so we can get the greatest long-term output.

Kevin Theissen is the owner of HWC Financial in Ludlow.

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