Stock Market Wave or Wobble?

These are turbulent times.  The stock market is reflective of that on many levels. The average person is watching the financial returns after the stock market “corrected” itself by over 10% on February 8th. A correction is defined by a 10 to 20 % drop from a peak.  The peak of late January was 26,616.  On February 8th, it had the largest one day point drop, losing 1033 points. 

In October 1987, I was in my mid-twenties and working at a large mutual fund company in Boston.      The market dropped 508 points on Monday October 19th.  That was nearly a 22% drop. In a day! There was a sell off across the globe.  The date is now universally called Black Monday.

After that momentous fall when the Dow Jones declined to 1,738, regulators made some changes.  They developed new rules that allowed exchanges to temporarily halt trading if there are large declines.  The idea is to reduce market volatility and prevent large panic sell-offs.  The market can still go down, but more than 20% it will be halted for the day. 

I mention this to add perspective.  Perhaps thirty years ago, you were not invested in the stock market and were not paying attention.  I was because my job was on the line as well as my investments. Now, each time I hear a significant drop in market value, I look to what the percentage of the decline is.  The percentage tells the story.  This is how you should look at your investments as well.   Look at the overall percentages.

We tend to pay closer attention when the stock market goes down then up.  Leading us to be complacent about our investments until something changes.  Fear and loss are strong motivators.

Save yourself some trouble and stress.  Do not watch the stock market every day. There is so much going on in the world complicated by our government, business climate and even Facebook.  There is so much going on for one person to digest and process every day.  Better to turn off the news and take the time to take care of yourself and money for the long-term rather than be reactive in the short term. 

Let the world be turbulent.  You keep yourself on the steady path by managing your expectations, getting educated and focusing on the important things both in and out of the stock market. 


Post Script:

When I started this blog post on Friday afternoon, the market was down thirty points.  When I finished an hour or so later, the market was up 40 points.  This on a day the tariff legislation was expected to be signed and cause a market decline.  At 3 pm, I left my office for a couple of appointments.  At the last appointment as it neared 5 pm, a person commented on the large decline on Thursday.

“Did the market do the same thing today?” he wanted to know. 

My response? “ No last I looked it was up a bit.”  An hour later I saw the news.  The market had dropped by 424 points.  In the last hour of trading. This is why predicting its behavior from past actions are difficult, even during one day.  I will note that the percentage drop of the day was less than 2%.   

The Stock Market Continues to Roller Coaster, As It Should. You Do Not Need To...

Thinking, Worrying & Stressing about the stock market? This is the time to fall back to your investment strategy. Don’t have one? Remember have a MoneyPeace safety account and a balance of stocks and bonds for your long term retirement monies. Need money for a home, college or car in the next three years? That money needs to be only invested in an insured cash place.

Learn Something New Every Day....Welcome 2018!!!

“Learn something new every day.”  That was heard around our dinner table by anyone who cared to join us for dinner.  Some families talked politics, some sports, or world problems.  My Dad was a big believer in learning something new every day. Over dinner, he was sure to ask us what we learned.  This was not just book learning or school.  He was looking for life learning.   As a graduate of the school of Hard Knocks, he realized life skills for what they were: Invaluable. 

Learning something new often means experimenting, being willing to put yourself out there in a different way.  Trying something new does not come easy to any of us.  Sure, some of us more than others.  But all of us had the knack for trying and failing and trying and succeeding as children.  I heard last week that as children we are more willing to try things until about age five when we attend school and are taught about the right way to draw a tree or the true colors of the tree.  Before we met a rating system, we learned to walk by trying and failing.  And trying and failing.  Receiving encouragement, trying again.  And then, maybe a step or two before we dropped.  Only to get up and try again.  No judgement, no ratings.  We walked eventually.

As I enter the year, I am going back to learning something new everyday but this time not in answer to my Dad’s questions.  He had been gone nine years and I sorely miss his wisdom.  Not because “conventional” spiritual growth says trying the new is good for personal growth.  I am going to learn something new every day because, here it is, It Feels Good!  I want to feel good, even when I fail and need to try again.

What inspired this blog post and new attitude?   Simple.  A freezing cold weekend in Vermont with low motivation for outside activity, I unwrapped an oil paint kit tucked away in the house.  I have never used oil paints before in my life.  I have painted once in my life.  And I could not even tell you how long I have had the kit.  This is not about my memory failing me but as I had to dust it off, I only know it has been years.

I sat on Saturday December 30th and thought about what to paint.  The thing on my mind was 2018.  I sketched lightly as the guidebook accompanying my paints suggested – I did not know that most visual artists sketch first.  Then, I started painting.  Fun colors.  Designs that appealed to me.  I mixed some paints together and made new colors.  “This was fun,’ I thought with a smile on my face.

As I moved on covering more and more of the surface, I wanted to do another layer of paint and merge some colors on the small canvas.  Every time I tried something blurry and unlike I wanted appeared.  So I stopped.  I did not YouTube my question, I did not Google it.  I went back to that guidebook – Yes, someone is still reading books.  The thin paperback book explained I would have to wait to do my next step until the paint was dry to the touch.  I figured an hour or two.  However, further research revealed that I was going to have to wait 16-24 hours for the oil paint to dry.  Hmm! I wanted to be finished. 

Instead, I had to clean up.  I knew how to clean brushes but admit to texting a friend on how to clean the artist’s palette.  My artwork finished for the day.  I had time for reflection. Writing is my typical creative endeavor, breaking out something new felt freeing and fun. What I did not anticipate is that on December 31st, I still would not be finished with my painting project.  After a bit of time with the paints, I realized I needed to add the lightness of yellow to my piece.  But again, I had to let the current piece try.  Perhaps, I am more patient than I thought.  Or I am learning patience in a creative way.

 After the final touches on January 1st, I realized something about myself and my own creative work.  I always want to power through my writing and get to the finished product.  Something worthy of the readers attention.  So I write, I edit, I review and have someone else read a piece through before I commitment to the completed piece.  What if instead, I let the “paint dry” on my writing.  I did not have to commit to hours and hours each day.  Rather, put together something that comes together in my writing and then, let the writing sit for a day or two.  Knowing I will come back to it with fresh eyes and be ready to put the finishing touches on it. 

Yes, I am on to something.  I tried something new.  A real creative reach for me and in the process I learned a new way to approach my first love of writing.  The finished art project?  You be the judge…

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