Back in 2008 when the stock market was crashing, I was terrified. I remember checking my investment accounts multiple times per day. I had trouble sleeping. I was filled with dread. Eventually, I just stopped looking.
For about 4 years, I didn’t log into any of my accounts. I didn’t even think about them. When I logged back in years later, I was pleasantly surprised to see that markets were recovering. The world was returning to normal.
A couple weeks ago, we had a market correction (a drop of 10%). If you read the media, you’d have thought that the end of the world was upon us. It wasn’t. More on that after we get to the answers from last week.
Do You Use Time Wisely?
Lately, I’ve noticed that I spend too much time farting around with random nonsense. Too much social media. Too much email. Too much news. Here is what you had to say about how you use your time wisely (or not):
Mrs. Adventure Rich likes to get outside:
Oof… using my time wisely is something I am constantly struggling with, tweaking, improving, reverting and trying yet again to optimize. I think one of my best hacks is to get outside. If I go for a walk/run or decide to do an activity with our family (sledding or snowshoeing, biking or swimming in the summer, etc), I tend to be good about not checking technology. But overall, I am constantly working through time optimization in a tech-filled world.
Reader Danny the Pizza Guy has a good tip:
I was notoriously bad with social media as it was affecting me at work. To solve this I went a bit extreme and purposely changed my password to something complex that I would not remember. This lasted about a year until, ultimately, I changed the password back. It worked for me as it became habit forming to not sign in all the time. Now I only check it about once every other week.
It helps to make a list of tasks you want to accomplish on a particular day.
Joe from Retire by 40 not only doesn’t use time wisely; he also doesn’t care! Maybe I should be more like Joe?
I don’t use my time that wisely anymore. That’s one benefit of being early retired. I can goof off or read or take a nap if I want to.
Freddy Smidlap doesn’t pay attention to the news:
I stopped on the “news” thing about 6 months ago and have never felt better about not knowing what ariel winter was up to. Oh, and the comment sections! Don’t get me started. We don’t look at hardly any of that on our days off but are guilty of checking the ebay sales as we list and downsize our significant pile o’ crap-ola.
Of Chaos And Corrections
I was running outside a couple weeks ago on a beautiful day. When I got home, Mrs 1500 said:
The markets are down 1400 points!
My first reaction was to smile:
Maybe we’ll have an opportunity to buy the market when it’s on sale! Great!
And then I freaked out:
Wait, what caused it? Did a war break out somewhere? Did someone important get indicted?
Mrs. 1500 assured me that we weren’t at war with North Korea and that nothing else was going on. My smile returned.
It took me a while to get my mind in the right place. What it all comes down to is this:
The long-term trajectory of the market is up. Be optimistic. It doesn’t matter what happens in the short term as long as you can hold on to optimism no matter what’s currently happening.
Of course, this isn’t easy. The time to plan for what you’ll do when markets correct is when all is good. This is the same reason why I believe in prenuptial agreements. The time to plan for the demise of a marriage isn’t when it’s actually happening, but when both parties are happy. Note: My suggestion of a prenuptial agreement many years ago was met with strong resistance:
What we saw a couple weeks ago was just a little market gyration. If (when?) there’s a war or the president is sacked, you’ll see a downturn that will make what happened earlier this month seem like nothing. It’s OK though; stay the course. Know that after the chaos, everything will return to normal. Populations will continue to grow and productivity will continue to increase. These conditions will drive the markets up. Nothing to see here.
And, if you’re worried about having to sell stocks right after a big crash, just keep a little cash around to ride out the rough times.
How About You?
Did you freak out? If so, did you make any irrational moves?
If you didn’t lose your cool, how did you train your brain?
One more thing: I’m on the Choose FI podcast again, this time discussing the upcoming Chautauqua in Greece. Check it out here!
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