Recently I was in Lake Tahoe, CA for an event. I had a few hours between meetings and decided to hike up the mountain a bit. After hiking for about an hour, I found a nice rock and sat down for a while and took in the sights, and just thought. It was a great way to spend 45 minutes.
I noticed a hiker not too far from me tell his friends to keep going, that he was going to wait for them. And I noticed he had his head in his smartphone (click on picture to right). I kept glancing back and his head never looked up from his smartphone. Here we are in one of the most beautiful places in the world overlooking the majesty of nature (see below), and he chose to use this time to do whatever was on his smartphone. I thought it to be unfortunate and got to think about all the times I make myself too busy watching things that I fail to experience life.
What Does This Have to Do With Investors?
Everything. There is a lot of distraction out there. The financial markets move every day. There are new economic and political reports daily…especially with the U.S. presidential election coming up in less than one month. The financial media bombards our televisions and websites with streaming quotations, raised voices and a lot of speculation (expert forecasts) about what is going to happen in the future. It can be very easy to stick our head in it. Unfortunately, some investors forget to look up.
The purpose for investing (not speculating) is to grow assets at a reasonable rate for specific future purposes. If that is indeed the case, why do we care about the news today or what the market does today? If we are truly a long-term investor, the only reason we should even pay a little attention is to perhaps buy when asset prices drop substantially…similar to how we stand in lines for Black Friday sales. Yet, if we have a well-thought plan that is designed based on our personal goals and preferences, that stuff should already be accounted for in the plan. Meaning, when the media is going crazy, and the markets are as well, the best advice may be to simply stop watching and experience your life…those things that matter most to you.