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Pivot into the New Year

By now, you’ve likely already set your goals for 2019 and may be well on your way to keeping your commitments, those that will shape you to be a better person hence forth.  Whatever those goals or resolutions may be, you will have to come face to face with a choice: to either stay on the path to achieving them or go back to your old self. Did you plan for that? I hope we all expect this choice, but that wasn’t really the question… did you PLAN for the choice?

Assume you’ll have to plan for adversity

Mike Tyson famously said that “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth,” which is real world poetry. Having been punched in the mouth (maybe by my sister?) I can confirm that afterwards, whatever plan I might have had was no longer a priority — preservation was. That leads me to Tip #1: We must create a plan for adversity; assume you’ll have to pivot.  I’ve got two fun stories to expand on this further, stay with me here:

  1. I wrestled in high school and whenever moves we tried on an opponent didn’t work, our coach would yell out “chain your moves.” This meant: move on to your second-best move, or perhaps your third. If necessary, then go back to the first move. Tip #2: Keep moving. Plus, you never know what can happen when you keep playing the game. Similarly, you have no chance of making it though if you just bail. Hence, Tip #3: Don’t give up.
  2. The second story comes from a former client of mine, who has since passed. He was an avid golfer and I used to tell him how terrible I was at his beloved game. He said he didn’t care if he was having a bad day on the course; he paid to play the game and he was getting his money’s worth by paying less per shot if he did poorly. On top of that, every shot out of the rough was an opportunity to get better at difficult shots and would benefit his next round. Tip #4: Having a positive mindset makes all the difference. On a side note, this wisdom has, sadly, had no effect on the outcome of my golf games. But it does allow me to enjoy my time while playing instead of leaving frustrated.

What does this have to do with investing in 2019?

Ok, so this is an investing blog and that’s why you come here, right? I ask, then: did your portfolio see some volatility due to the 2018 market you weren’t expecting? Chances are if you’re in the market at all, it’s safe to assume the answer is some form of “yes.”  Some follow up questions:

  1. Did you plan for volatility by properly diversifying your portfolio and shoring up your needs for the upcoming year?
  2. Did you keep moving, exploring different decisions you could make to improve your situation or benefit your future?
  3. Did you feel like you persevered, that you didn’t give up?
  4. Did you have a positive mindset, knowing everyone else in the market was experiencing similar situations?

The reason I pose these questions to you is because the challenges in both life and investing (and yes, your golf game) won’t stop coming, and we all must face them. Sometimes it’s due to our shortcomings, other times to outside circumstances. In any case, they will come.

But we have the choice to keep moving and maintain a positive attitude, eager to learn. If pain produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope: shouldn’t we expect or even welcome difficult times?

Planning to pivot – in other words, expecting that adversity will come – will help lead you to a prosperous New Year.

 

January 2019

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