“Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.” – Voltaire (French Historian / Philosopher)
We live in a world with constant background noise that appears whenever we turn on the “news” or our computer. Even media outlets that attempt to present real news are forced to repeat the stories many times in a given day. If there are differences between investing today and 30 years ago, the roar and temptation of never ending “news” may be that difference.
The antidote to this noisy environment is to create and act upon a long-term strategy. Think about it as if you are flying in an airplane at 30,000 feet. At that level, the minor mishaps below have little or no impact on your flight path. The very same should hold true as you navigate through the day-to-day troubles and fears that often derail sound financial plans.
Advice – or Entertainment?
A few years ago, we met with a young physician and his spouse. They had clear long-term goals; to build liquidity and reduce debt. Towards the end of our meeting, they asked about possibly buying a condo on the coast from a family member. When we told them that worked in direct contravention of their goals they said, “But everyone knows you can’t lose in real estate.” They had been watching too much of the news of the day showing the seemingly endless trajectory of real estate prices. Of course, we know now what the ensuing years have wrought for real estate prices.
This story illustrates how difficult it can be to become “unglued”. It also demonstrates why it is important to use long-term goals as a framework for making shorter-term choices. If you lack focus, anything and everything that sounds appealing will derail you from your goals. Much of what appears on TV, print or the internet is sensationalistic. It is hyped to create interest. It should be taken for what it is… entertainment, not advice.
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