While reading an article about the Nobel Prize award to two American economists, I spotted a headline to the right. It featured a link to a story CNN wrote in honor of International Day of the Girl. Titled “To my 15-Year Old Self: Things I Wish I’d Known,” the writer posed that question to notable women in a variety of fields. The link showed a picture of Oprah, because you always have to ask her those sorts of questions.
I find her rather annoying, so, naturally, I clicked the link. The problem I have with her is she seems out of touch. It is easy to talk about “living your truth” and “risking everything to pursue your passion” when you are a multi-billionaire for whom the risks brought great reward. Do you think the person who just lost everything when his/her business collapsed feels happy and fulfilled because they “followed their dream?” Doubtful.
Anyway, as I read the quotes from these highly successful ladies, it occurred to me that living in the past can be a dangerous thing. Sure, it is good to look back and say, “Oh, I really wish I had not done that.” On the other hand, you can become so paralyzed by fear of making the same mistake that you take no action at all. The key is to learn from the mistake and get on with your life.
We can do that in our portfolios too. There was a time when I was reluctant to invest excess cash in my portfolio because of current market conditions. As a result, I missed out on some of the upticks in the market. The lesson I learned is emotion has no place in investing.
You may have similar feelings now with the upcoming election. What happens if Obama is re-elected? What would Romney do if he becomes President? Will this country fall into a Great Depression or have a huge economic boom? No one knows. However, I would bet that, if you looked at previous elections, similar comments were said about the president and candidate then. It happens with every election. Work the crowd into a frenzy so they will watch the news.
We cannot change the past. We cannot predict the future. Let’s focus on what we can control (our behavior), keep calm, and carry on.
Cristy Freeman, AAMS
Senior Operations Associate