It’s Spring! It’s Spring!
The bird is on the wing!
My word! That’s absurd…
The wing is on the bird!
I stole the above quote from the late, great Mort Walker, who produced the Beetle Bailey comic strip. I found that little one-panel poem in a comic book in a beach vacation house when I was a kid. My mother wasn’t permitting the purchase of any comic books because they were “junk” and would “rot your mind.” Those Marvel guys seem to have made out ok with it, though, haven’t they?
Since April is National Poetry Month, I offer another little ditty that I remember submitting to an informal company creative writing newsletter where I worked decades ago.
It is a paraphrase (memory fades after all, and not everything is on the internet) from a column by (I think) Gene Hill in (I believe) Field & Stream magazine.
Look yonder in that stream thar
What swims but an alligator gar?
Such a creature can’t come from heaven,
Quick, Ma, run git the three-fifty-seven.
Hey, I recommend the Utah Shakespearian Festival in Cedar City each summer if you want Shakespeare. I saw Macbeth there in their outdoor theatre (a recreation of the Globe, as I remember). It was a grand nerdy time.
I’ve tried my hand and mind at poetry a few times, and the results were lacking to be generous.
My sense of meter and rhythm are much like Steve Martin’s in The Jerk. I can’t keep time. As a kid, I hated going to those summer camps and youth rallies; there would always be insufferable sing-alongs, and the leader always expected us to clap along. It was simply beyond my skill level, so I’d take a stab or two at it and then just sit on my hands. The leader loved to call out the non-enthusiastic, “C’mon, Lorin, get with the beat!” This is undoubtedly the foundation of the antisocial, grouchy, old crab apple I am today.
And this, I know, dear reader, is where each month you usually ask, “And what on earth does this have to do with investing?” By now, you know something about how my mind works, so perhaps you will understand that I was thinking of the ocean’s rhythms, which led to me thinking of poetry. I was thinking of the rhythms of the seas because I was reflecting on the ups and downs of the stock market, and I believe the oceans’ movements can be a metaphor for that. Don’t bother. It’s a lousy metaphor, beginning with great promise and symbolism before crashing on the beach and falling apart.
If we are going with water as a metaphor for our investing, let’s agree that a river is the best choice.
It is constantly moving. Sometimes the river rises and deposits its riches; other times, we are in a drought and anxious for relief.
Regardless of flush or thin, the river and life along with it keep on moving…even when it seems it’s dried up completely and forever. Life lies waiting in the mud for renewal to come along.
We gave back about a year of stock and bond market growth from late November until about mid-April, so I did the same thing I counsel you to do; I quit looking at my statements. I know my account ebbs and flows with the markets, so why lookup values to feel giddy or blue with the rise and fall of the tide (see? I did get the ocean back in there!)
In March, a client called when the market was in a trough and asked, “Is it bad to take money out when the market is down?” I was momentarily speechless (I know, I can hear you, you’ll believe me speechless when you see it). I told her that all other issues aside, yes, we’d rather buy when the market is down and sell when the market is high, but life needs don’t always cooperate, do they?
If your roof has a hole in it, as this clients’ did, you sell when you need the money and not wait on the market to be more favorable. If you “need” a new motor for your boat, perhaps you can re-evaluate the word “need” before selling to raise funds.
Perhaps, even better still, we plan ahead and create a cash emergency account for holes in roofs, dead a/c compressors (I had one last month), and even boat motors.
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. Investing involves risk including loss of principal.