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Power thru the volatility & stick to your knitting

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There’s no doubt about it. We’re in a period of volatility in the stock market. For the first time, in a long time, there’s been a run of “down” days. The stock market has been in the red and the market has closed lower than the day before. I do not claim to be any kind of expert on such things, but even I can see that the value of my portfolio is dropping too. This is entirely due to the fact that I’m invested in the stock market.

So what’s my next move? What steps should I take to make my portfolio go up?

Short answer: it’s time for me to stick to my knitting!

I can’t do anything to move the stock market the way I want it to go, which is up. The factors I control are how much I contribute, how often, and into which investment. Everything else is out of my hands. Over the long term, the stock market goes up. This has been proven repeatedly in the past. I have no reason to think it won’t go up again in the future. So I’m going to power thru the volatility.

And you should power thru the volatility too.

I view what we’re experiencing now as a correction. It’s happened before, and it will happen again. Corrections are completely normal! Do the Talking Heads of economic media generate a lot of jibber-jabber about them? Yes, they do…. because that’s their job. The jibber-jabber results in viewers, which translate into ratings, which translate into money.

Pay them no mind. Stick to you knitting.

When the 2009 correction rolled around, I made one of my biggest ever investing mistakes. I stopped making regular contributions into the market. In other words, I halted my dollar-cost averaging system of investing. I froze like a deer in the headlights because I focused on the jibber-jabber. I stopped my contributions for 3 months. Yikes! Huge mistake! Doing so meant that I wasn’t investing at the bottom, when the market was at its cheapest. I waited until the recovery and then I re-started my investment system. This was one of the stupidest moves I have ever made, and I promised myself that I would never make that particular mistake again!

Learn from mistakes wherever you find them.

You need not make this mistake yourself. Don’t stop contributing to your investments just because we’re in a period of volatility. Trust in your plan. You’re investing for the long-term, remember?

There have been subsequent corrections, and I’m happy to say that I’ve kept my promise. No matter what, my automatic transfer funnels money from my chequing account to my investment account and I buy units in my ETFs on the appointed day. My investment strategy has remained consistent ever since 2009.

These past two weeks haven’t been fun. No one likes to see the value of their portfolio decrease, including me. I’ve decided to stop checking the value of my portfolio for a little while. Before this correction started, I would check the value each day and smile to myself. Lately, my smile’s been turned upside-down. I’ve chosen not to torment myself. My transfer will remain in place, and I will continue to invest in my selected ETFs. However, I’ll check my portfolio’s value less frequently.

This is the lesson I learned from the 2009 correction. The stock market will never go to 0. It will go up and down, but it will never go all the way down to 0. I’m investing for the long haul. Even after retirement, there’s a good chance I’ll be around for another 20-30 years. This means I still have decades of investment ahead of me. (Whether I’ll be investing as much during retirement as I do now remains to be determined.) There is no point in worrying about the day-to-day gyrations of the stock market when I’m still invested for the long-term.

Allow me to very clear on this next point – I am not an expert. My wisdom, such as it is, comes from years of personal experience. I cannot predict the future, and I don’t know your particular circumstances. I am not qualified by anyone to give you expert advice. What I say is based on what has worked for me & for those in my circle who discuss such things. I fully admit that my experience is not going to be the same as yours.

That said, I want you improve your odds of ensuring that Future You is financially secure. Continue to invest in the stock market. Take a long-term view. Keep atleast 60% of your portfolios in equities. Invest on a regular basis. Stick to your knitting and ignore the jibber-jabber. Save – invest – learn – repeat. Power thru the volatility and enjoy the rewards on the other side of this correction.

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