December was a lot of fun at my house. I wrapped a ton of Christmas gifts for the 3 little grand-urchins of mine. I discovered that at age 62 my giftwrapping and scissor skills are deteriorating along with hip joints and fine motor skills. I also discovered that much of the wrapping paper for sale in the 21st century will tear if you look at it harshly. Note to self for next December: if I misapply tape on a gift next year, either (a) live with it, or (b) return to GO and start over. DO NOT TRY TO REMOVE TAPE (refer to issue about current state of wrapping paper).
This reminds me of a joke. A young apartment dweller had large bandages on his ears and his friends asked him what happened. He replied, “Well, I was ironing my work shirts and the phone rang, so being preoccupied, I picked up the iron and stuck it to the side of my head!”
His friends grimaced, “Ouch. That explains the right ear, but what happened to the left one?” In which he replied, “The phone rang again.”
January is a time for many of us to reevaluate choices and perhaps make a new start on some things, but the truth of it is that most any minute of every day and year there exists a chance for a change in course or habits. Not confusing irons and telephones is a good change to make … if need be.
All I Really Need to Know About Investing
I read a book many years ago by Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. I enjoyed his book enough that I read a couple more of his books too, and I think they are due for a re-read. His warmth of style and humor within his writing is what I enjoyed most, so I think it’s time to re-travel down that road. But I do remember some of the things I learned in kindergarten that he mentioned:
Clean up after yourself.
When you’re through with it, put it back where you found it.
Wash your hands (how many people had to relearn that one in the year of COVID?).
The point of the book was to remind us that if we live our lives by simple guidelines, we can find a peaceful journey. So much of life’s stress is self-induced by adding complexities to our days that we just don’t need, or even want.
I submit to you that investing is like that. I think most of us know the most basic rules of investing:
Live within your means.
Save a portion of every dollar that you earn or is gifted to you.
Invest your savings with the intention of a compounding return over time.
If a person did these simple things, they would almost certainly be on track during their lifetime.
A Little Peace in Our Investing
Like the guy with the iron & telephone, I am trying to learn from 2020. I am newly resolving (as I do every workweek of my professional life) to not worry about all the noise we hear in the financial and world press. 2020 had a COVID pandemic. Did it destroy investing as we have known it? Nope. There was a presidential election with sizable rancor. Did that destroy the markets? Again, negative on that.
Bull and Bear markets come and go, but the fear and greed that drives conversations and emotions never seem to fade. For a long-term investor, our mantra is “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. Once we add in, “It’s mostly small stuff”, perhaps we can find a little peace in our investing. Maybe then we can spend a little more time thinking about our basic plan for success, and less about the “crisis” of the week.
Here is wishing that 2021 will bring you peace, prosperity and a joyful journey.
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.
No strategy assures success or protects against loss. Investing involves risk including loss of principal.